Talking about Cemeteries

It’s that time again, when everyone’s fancies turn to cemeteries. I’ve been out there, talking up the joys of visiting graveyards.

Horror Addicts focused the last hour of their October podcast on Death’s Garden Revisited. Horror hostess Emerian Rich (also a contributor to the book) interviewed me, then contributors E.M. Markoff, Francesca Maria, and Brian Thomas read tastes of their essays. If you’re trying to get in the mood for the season, check it out.

The National Funeral Directors Association interviewed me about 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Death’s Garden Revisited for their podcast, Remembering a Life.

The Washington Post asked me for some context for recipes appearing on headstones: They’re To Die For.

199 Cemeteries inspired another Washington Post journalist to begin exploring cemeteries. Along the way, she talked to a lot of taphophiles I’ve met via twitter. You have to love her headline: Why We Love a Good Cemetery.

In and around all of that, I’ve been getting the copies of Death’s Garden Revisited in the mail to the contributors and the Kickstarter backers. If you’d like a copy of your own (and who wouldn’t? It’s gorgeous!), you can click on the book cover above and be taken to Blurb.com. It’s available in hardcover and oversized paperback now. The ebook version should be coming soon.

Death’s Garden Revisited is available now!

I’m so excited to announce that my next cemetery book is available now.

Death’s Garden Revisited collects 40 powerful personal essays that explore 60 cemeteries — accompanied by 80 full-color photographs — to illustrate why people visit cemeteries. Spanning the globe from Iceland to Argentina and from Portland to Prague, Death’s Garden Revisited explores the complex web of relationships between the living and those who have passed before.

Genealogists and geocachers, travelers and tour guides, anthropologists, historians, pagan priestesses, and ghost hunters all venture into cemeteries in these essays. Along the way, they discover that cemeteries don’t only provide a rewarding end to a pilgrimage, they can be the perfect location for a first date or a wedding, the highlight of a family vacation, a cure for depression, and the best possible place to grasp history. Not to mention that cemetery-grown fruit is the sweetest.

You can see a preview below:

You can order your copy of the book in paperback or in hardcover directly from Blurb. The ebook is coming soon.

Contributors and Kickstarter backers: The books arrived earlier than expected. I’m getting those into the mail as soon as I can!

Death’s Garden Revisited

I’ve just now finished the final proofing for my next book, Death’s Garden Revisited: Personal Relationships with Cemeteries. Today we’ll order a paperback proof to check the quality of the photos one last time, then I can order the books and start fulfilling the Kickstarter pledges. The book will be available to everyone else in October.

It’s such an exciting time. The genesis of this book began in 1994, when my friend Blair gave me a box of photos he’d taken in cemeteries. Automatism Press published the first book inspired by them in 1996 and ever since, I have wanted to do a sequel. This book exceeds all my expectations.

I cannot wait for everyone to see how beautiful this new book is. I knew the text was going to be powerful, emotionally affecting, and life-affirming, but Automatism Press had never done a full-color book before. The photos truly are all I had hoped.

If you are interested in preordering a copy, you can drop me a note via my bookshop and I will let you know when the books are available.

In the meantime, enjoy some of the photos from the book! My phone isn’t really doing them justice, but you can get the idea.

Old Stirling Cemetery, photographed by Ann Bollen.

Unnamed graveyard, photographed by Greg Roensch.

St. Stephen’s Cemetery, photographed by Emerian Rich.

Cemetery Travel news

I was completely burnt out by the time the Death’s Garden Revisited Kickstarter ended in April, but I meant to post that not only did the book reach its funding goal, it bypassed it by a factor of five!

The book is in the proofreader’s hands now. Once she finishes with the text, I should be able to finalize the book’s layout and start ordering printer samples. Backers will have their copies on schedule in October.

I’ll post the order link for everyone else once I have the book is ready for preorders.

Other than that, I was a guest on the Curious State podcast, talking about what makes a cemetery a tourist destination. This was a really fun conversation & Doug’s team did a great job putting it together. Here’s the link, if you’ve got 15 minutes to be entertained: https://pod.link/curiousstate/episode/11cc72334c9520361edd8bdb5f6f22ab

I assembled a list of my Top Five favorites for The Best Books about Cemeteries on Shepherd List. Check out my list and let me know if you agree with my choices: https://shepherd.com/best-books/about-cemeteries

Tomorrow I’m giving a talk called “Using Crowdfunding to Support Cemetery Projects” at the virtual portion of the annual Association for Gravestone Studies Conference. I’m excited to share what I learned during my Kickstarter.

I think you can still get tickets for the conference here: https://gravestonestudies.org/conferences/2022-conference

 

The Kickstarter’s Last Day

It’s finally here! Today is the final day of Kickstarter campaign for the cemetery book I’m editing, Death’s Garden Revisited.

At this point, 100 people have backed the project, ensuring that the black & white photos will be upgraded to color, I’ll be able to commission a couple of essays to fill out the book, and there will be more cemetery photos than I originally planned. This book is going to be so beautiful!

Backers are giving me the ability to finish the sequel to my cemetery memoir, Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. Everyone who donated — from the $5 level on up — will receive a copy of the new ebook. I am really excited to find out what they think of it.

The best reward — at least in my mind — is that every backer will be thanked inside Death’s Garden Revisited. I’m thrilled to be able to acknowledge their faith in me.

In case you haven’t seen it, this is the video in which I talk about the book:

Sometimes the video embeds get stripped out of the email versions, so you can watch it at this link: https://youtu.be/gxg-Hjh8-bo

This project has been a dream of mine for 25 years. I’m so excited that it’s going to become a reality this year.