University Book Wishlist

You remember how I quit work with plans to study for a masters? I only went and got offered a place on the course! As of September, I will be studying for a masters degree in Death, Religion and Culture at the University of Winchester. The whole application process was so stressful so I am over the moon that it's all paid off and I am on track to becoming Becky Bedbug BA (Hons) MA (and, eventually, PhD but let's not get ahead of ourselves!) During my last day at work, my colleagues very kindly presented me with an Amazon gift card so I could buy books for my course and, although I haven't received a reading list yet, I'm starting to think of the kind of texts that will be useful to me over the next academic year.
University death religion books

In February, I attended the university open evening and spoke to the lecturer about my concerns for the course since I don't have a religious academic background. She recommended I read Religions in the Modern World over the summer so I can start the course with a solid foundation of the major world religions. This is one of three books that I have already ordered and it looks like it's going to be really useful as it's designed as an academic text for newcomer to religious study.

Buy Religions in the Modern World here


This was the other book that was recommended to me by the lecturer. Funnily enough, when it arrived, I shared a photo on Twitter and Imii excitedly told me that it's written by her lecturer so I'm pretty certain it's going to be good! Whereas Religions in the Modern World is an overview of religious beliefs, this book is more specific to funerary rites across the world and throughout history. It sounds absolutely fascinating so I can't wait to get stuck in!

Buy Death, Ritual and Belief here


When I told my colleagues I was leaving to study death, most of them thought it was a bit strange... except for one, who asked me if I'd ever read The American Way of Death. I'd actually never even heard of it but she explained that it was a hugely successful book in the 60s which investigated the American funeral industry. It has fantastic reviews and is apparently a very funny text, given the subject matter, so I'm looking forward to trying it for myself.

Buy The American Way of Death here


Another book about the funeral profession, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is written by a mortician about her time working in a crematorium and looks at the modern attitudes towards death and funerary rituals. It will be interesting to read this after The American Way of Death and see how the two texts, written 50 years apart, compare.

Buy Smoke Gets in Your Eyes here


This book is currently in all of the bestselling lists so I really need to pick up a copy soon. Written by Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon who died of lung cancer while working on the book. When Breath Becomes Air is a memoir that discusses facing our mortality and how we prepare for the end life. I'm sure it's going to be a very moving and poignant book.

Buy When Breath Becomes Air here


To be honest, this book may not come in particularly handy unless I have a very specific module, but I've wanted it for a long time so I'm going to use my course as an excuse. Beyond the Dark Veil is a compilation of almost 200 postmortem photographs- something that has fascinated me ever since I saw The Hours! I think it's going to be a fascinating look at a tradition that has long since disappeared.

Buy Beyond the Dark Veil here

As you can imagine, I'm really excited about starting and plan on soaking up as much information as possible before September. I know lots of people are really curious about the course too, and I'll be writing a post soon all about it, so if you have any questions regarding why I chose the course, how I applied etc, let me know in the comments and I'll answer them shortly. 

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  1. Interesting choice of degree. What does it entail? And why did you choose it? Love to hear your thoughts..
    I hope to be going to uni next year (fingers crossed) but studying midwifery. I have a open day at uni next week which I'm looking forward to x

    1. Thank you for the questions! I'm going to answer them in a post all about my course :)

      Best of luck with your application!

  2. Congratulations! Sounds like a very intriguing major!

  3. That sounds like such an interesting course! And the books sound so good too. Congrats for getting a place! :)

  4. Woo woo! I'm so happy for you :) Won't be long til Bedbug PhD at all ;)


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