Obit is a great book I’ve been meaning to mention here. When I was at the news writer workshop last month, I learned that there’s a great tradition in obituary writing where journalists don’t simply summarize two lines about a death, viewings, and family left behind. Some actually go out and interview people and piece together a story of someone’s life.
Jim Sheeler has an interesting column in the Rocky Mountain News — he picks out regular people that have never appeared in the paper before and does an exhaustive story of their life. The book is simply a colleciton of his best. At times it can get kind of schmaltzy, but overall it’s more uplifting than it is depressing to read about the lives of 50 deceased people. You find out that even the most ordinary people can lead extraordinary lives.
I got to meet Jim at the workshop and I soon realized I’d read his stuff before. He did a highly acclaimed series on the military program that informs families that they lost their children in battle.