The Baltimore Book of the Dead by Marion Winik

The Baltimore Book of the Dead

Approaching mourning and memory with intimacy, humor, and an eye for the idiosyncratic, the story starts in the 1960s in Marion Winik's native New Jersey, winds through Austin, Texas, and rural Pennsylvania, and finally settles in her current home of Baltimore. Winik begins with a portrait of her mother, the Alpha, introducing locales and language around which other stories will orbit: the power of family, home, and love; the pain of loss and the...

Details The Baltimore Book of the Dead

TitleThe Baltimore Book of the Dead
Release DateOct 9th, 2018
GenreWriting, Essays, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Short Stories, Biography

Reviews The Baltimore Book of the Dead

  • JanB
    At 130 pages, this slim volume could be read in a couple of hours, but it deserves to be read slowly. I savored each essay and gave myself time to reflect on what I had read before moving on to the next.Each 2 page essay is a eulogy of sorts for people the author has either known personally or the lives of those who have had an impact on her life. None are named, but instead are given a title and the year of their death: The Alpha, died 2008, The...
  • Victoria
    Death is the subtext of life, there is no way around it. It is the foundation of life’s meaning and value. From the author’s introductionWhile the title sounds macabre, this is anything but, instead offering thoughtful remembrances in a series of short essays. Every essay is a mini eulogy of a life lived, sometimes well, sometimes painfully, but each brings forth a picture of its subject in a beautifully constructed, almost poetic way. There...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    5 stars! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ This stunning little book could almost fit in your pocket. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around all that is contained within the pages and deep within Winik’s words. I challenged myself to make this review bite-sized, too, and to hit at the heart of what this book is.Beginning with the story of her mother, Winik pens the memories of those who have passed away in brief essays. The writing is straightforward but ...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    This is an interesting concept of relating her life through short descriptions of people in her life who have died. The author is a poet and there are some great, quotable phrases throughout. It’s impressive how she is able to create a vivid portrait of a person in just a few paragraphs. 3.5⭐ This is an interesting concept of relating her life through short descriptions of people in her life who have died. The author is a poet and there are...
  • Kusaimamekirai
    "Our lives are so full of dead people that any sane way of living involves constant remembrance. My days and my thoughts are shaped almost as much by people who are no longer here as those who are. That to cast this remembrance as depressing is to deprive ourselves of our history, our context, and even one of our pleasures, if a bittersweet one…Death is the subtext of life, there is no way around it.” Marion Winik’s “The Baltimore Book of...
  • Liz Gray
    This jewel of a book, a companion volume to “The Glen Rock Book of the Dead,” contains 60+ short portraits of people who Winik has known, or known of, who have died in the decade that she has lived in Baltimore. It sounds like a strange premise, but it works beautifully to not only memorialize these people but also remind of us of the fleeting and precious moments of living. Winik has a colloquial and humorous style, and some of her sentences...
  • Lauren Davis
    The book is charming, sincere. It almost reminds me of Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, with each chapter devoted to a different person.The most poignant parts for me were the brief descriptions of people with Alzheimer's Disease. Just little snippets that sum up the cruel world of dementia.
  • Sherri
    It's hard to classify this collection of short essays. They are obituaries and character sketches, only a few paragraphs long. Although these were all real people the stories make it feel like fiction. Despite the title it isn't morbid, but a little melancholy. It isn't a complete downer, there are luminous moments, humor and hope. The entries have intriguing titles, most are profiles of relatives and other people Winik knew though. She includes ...
  • Karen
    This is a heartbreaking collection of micro-essays of the lives and deaths of people that Marion Winik has known. Marion's ability to capture the heart and soul of a person in two pages or less is quite impressive and often very moving. I felt equal amounts of loss and sadness from reading Marion's essays on the death of total strangers to me (one of her classmates in high school, the grandmother of one of her daughter's friends, and her neighbor...
  • Jaime
    Really a 3.5 - loved the writing style!
  • Kathy Cowie
    This is a terrific book, especially if you are like me and love to read the NY Times obituaries. I used to feel weird admitting that, but two things made me change my mind. 1. The NY Times still prints them, and that can't possibly be just for the friends and family. and 2. They made a documentary about the NY Times writers of those obituaries, appropriately called, Obit. But I digress, sorry. This beautifully-designed, pocket-sized edition (I kn...
  • Douglas Preston
    This book about dead people has more life than any other 10 books. By turns funny, poignant and ironic, this touching memoir is told though those who have left this mortal coil although the author, nor you, will forget them. Highest rating!
  • Allison Anderson
    Anyone who knows me, knows how much I dislike short stories. But these - these are no ordinary stories. Miniature worlds that pack a punch.
  • Erin Tuzuner
    Brevity is the soul of wit, and all the departed souls are residing in this slim paperback.
  • shirley
    Read the ebook, borrowed from the library.I really liked the format and idea of this book. And I enjoyed reading it and found it generally successful and sometimes specifically transcendent.
  • Featherbooks
    The Baltimore Book of the Dead is a compassionate, funny tribute to dead friends, acquaintances and people the author would have enjoyed knowing. I couldn't put it down even though one needs to take a breath after each two-page vignette to savor the beautiful writing, the pinpoint characterization. An unexpected treasure which I started again as soon as I'd finished.This is from her forward:"As far as death at the dinner table goes, some respectf...
  • Hannah Fenster
    Winik populates THE BALTIMORE BOOK OF THE DEAD with enough people from her life to fill a small neighborhood, exposing the way a community weaves itself around a person in the course of a lifetime. She doesn't exactly bring the dead to life- that would be too easy- rather, Winik's poetic prose transforms these dear ones and acquaintances into new characters, shape-shifters, works of memory. Each vignette reinvigorates not only the remembered, but...
  • Sarah
    Read this on Anne Patchett's recommendation. If it had been longer, I"d probably not have finished it. It is a series of essays (2-3 pages each) which are in essence a obituary for someone the author knew wished to memorialize. That's a lot of death. I didn't find much of it memorable. In fact, hard pressed to remember any specifics. She memorializes a couple celebrities, but honestly, I saw better writing about Bowie and Prince on facebook. If y...
  • Leslie Lindsay
    "Death is the subtext of life," writes the author in her introduction of THE BALTIMORE BOOK OF THE DEAD, and she would be right. Poetic vignettes of 60+ individuals (including one dog and one goldfish), Winik captures the beauty of living in this slim book. Longtime commentator of NPR's "All Things Considered" (1991-2006), Marion Winik is a new-to-me author. I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to relish in her poetic, yet sparse writing. And re...
  • Christine
    This little book is an accompaniment to Marion Winik's book titled The Glen Rock Book of the Dead. This second book is comprised of people the author knew who died between 2008 and 2017. I was having a bad day when I first picked this up and I didn't immediately connect to it. Who wants to read about a bunch of dead people that someone else knew?, I thought. However, the next day I picked it up again (it's tiny after all, and that cover is so cut...
  • Jason
    1) Clever writing2) Quirky3) Sublime stuff!Enjoyment: 5How do we remember others?What do we choose to remember?What do our memories mean to our own lives?"Being his friend was like some kind of painless cosmetic surgery, leaving you just a little prettier and more interesting than you were before." -"The Southern Gentleman," p.93This is the perfect bait and switch...But one that you'll want to be tricked. What a paradox! What appe 1) Clever wri...
  • Teresa
    Non-fiction, slim volume of two-three page essays about people that the author has known in her life that have died. The essays are nameless and often the Chapter is titled with a nickname or one word descriptor of the deceased. And, somehow the book is not maudlin. It made me think of what I want to be most remembered for, what differences I would like to make in my own little tiny corner of the world, and who I might have made an impression on ...
  • Caroline Bock
    This little book of bighearted essays, The Baltimore Book of the Dead, by Marion Winik is truly about life, how we live our lives, how we should be grateful for having had certain people in our lives. Each essay is only a couple of hundred words and fall under generic titles, including my favorites: "The Mensch," "The Camp Director," "The Brother-in-Law," "The Father of the Bride," "El Suegro." The titles aren't my favorites, but the stories behi...
  • Marie
    Death is the subtext of life, there’s no way around it.My days and my thoughts are shaped almost as much by people who are no longer here as those who are.When Mr. Lung Cancer knocked on the door, she was ready. Give me just a minute dear. I’ll be right down.He would have hated being such a burden, but of course he barely knew about it. The only consolations of Alzheimer's, and they are indeed small is that it doesn't hurt much, and that once...
  • Elise
    In the introduction the author states "Death is the subtext of life, there is no way around it. It is the foundation of life's meaning and value." However, in today's society we maintain a polite fiction that we live forever and rarely acknowledge death.Ms Winik celebrates the lives of people (and a few things) who are no longer alive in a book of short vignettes, each 2 or 3 pages. A memory or meditation on others lives and how they impacted her...
  • Julie
    We had a delightful book group with author Marion Winik, which was a great excuse to read this lovely book. Each story is 400 words or less—two small pages, which would have been easy to binge in one sitting. I found myself savoring one or two at a time, though. And to marvel at her exquisite writing, her ability to characterize both the marvelous person and her own unique connection with them. I laughed, I cried, I felt vividly her love and re...
  • Alan Hines
    When anyone asked for suggestions about what to buy someone for Christmas this year, I suggested Marion Winik's book, The Baltimore Book of the Dead. I found it very moving. Each piece is a simply told acknowledgement of some unnamed person who is no longer living, and who made an impact on Marion's life - The Social Worker, The Neatnik, The Grandmother-General, The Statistic, The Babydaddy. The relationship might have been intimate or just in pa...
  • Tracy
    I took a few weeks to read the slim collection. Each vignette has the power of a poem--something that you must sit with in order to let the full weight was over you. Whether joy or pain, you will feel while reading each portrait. "The sun, that oldest patron of the arts, came out from behind the clouds to hear." (107) The Baltimore Book of the Dead is a reminder of all the ways people coming in and out of our lives touch us. With death as the cor...
  • Laurie
    I am stunned by the depth of life portrayed in these ~two page stories about unnamed individuals. I wept openly (I know, not necessarily saying a lot for me) at many of the tableaus laid out before us. But mostly what I felt was envy at not having known these people and experienced them. A few of the tales left me thinking "me too, I knew someone just like that", but as I said, most left rethinking I wish I had known people like that.This is a sm...