You never forget the first corpse you shave — at least author Caitlin Doughty hasn’t. In her early twenties, Doughty took her first job at a mortuary in Oakland, turning her lifelong fascination with death into a career. On October 1, the Los Angeles-based mortician and death theorist is returning to the Bay Area to discuss her New York Times best-selling book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
at the Berkeley Public Library, North Branch (1170 The Alameda, Berkeley). In the same tone that one might use to recall a first kiss or first time having sex, Doughty walks her readers through all those awkward post-mortem moments. Delving into the often uncomfortable topic of mortality, she recounts the strange history of cremation and undertaking with an explorer’s eye for bizarre and fascinating funeral practices from across the globe and throughout history. Those especially fascinated with death may be excited to hear that folks from Berkeley’s the Bone Room (the best place to find real skulls, fossils, mounted insects, etc.) will also be there co-presenting the event. Doughty’s appearances are often over-crowded, so organizers ask that everyone RSVP in advance.