Thursday, June 29, 2023

100 Places To Visit After You Die by Ken Jennings

100 Places To Visit After You Die
by Ken Jennings
Published June 2023 by Scribner
320 Pages
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher, through Netgalley

Publisher's Summary: 
Ever wonder which circles of Dante’s Inferno have the nicest accommodations? Where’s the best place to grab a bite to eat in the ancient Egyptian underworld? How does one dress like a local in the heavenly palace of Hinduism’s Lord Vishnu, or avoid the flesh-eating river serpents in the Klingon afterlife? What hidden treasures can be found off the beaten path in Hades, Valhalla, or NBC’s The Good Place? Find answers to all those questions and more about the world(s) to come in this eternally entertaining book from Ken Jennings. 

100 Places to See After You Die is written in the style of iconic bestselling travel guides—but instead of recommending must-see destinations in Mexico, Thailand, or Rome, Jennings outlines journeys through the afterlife, as dreamed up over 5,000 years of human history by our greatest prophets, poets, mystics, artists, and TV showrunners. This comprehensive index of 100 different afterlife destinations was meticulously researched from sources ranging from the Epic of Gilgamesh to modern-day pop songs, video games, and Simpsons episodes. Get ready for whatever post-mortal destiny awaits you, whether it’s an astral plane, a Hieronymus Bosch hellscape, or the baseball diamond from Field of Dreams. 

Fascinating, funny, and irreverent, this light-hearted memento mori will help you create your very own bucket list—for after you’ve kicked the bucket.

My Thoughts: 
Yes. THAT Ken Jennings. Which made this one interesting to me even if the title and description hadn't intrigued me, which they did. 

Yes, this book is funny and irreverent and light-hearted. Which made me so happy - I was so hoping that Jennings would be just as humorous in writing as he seems to be on t.v. And, no surprise, just as smart. There are, actually, one hundred entries in this book, in seven different categories. He includes references to the afterlife in mythology, religion, books, movies, television, music and theater, and a miscellaneous group. Yes, I know it says 100 in the title, but I didn't seriously believe that there would be 100 different ways that Jennings could refer to the afterlife. I don't for a minute believe that Jennings pulled these 100 references off the top of his head, but he had to have had a pretty good number to start with or he wouldn't have even considered the idea for a book, right? 

This is not a book to be read straight through; it's a book to read a couple of chapters at a time, especially in the mythology and religion sections. There's a lot to be said about all of those references and if you read too many at once, it's for it to begin to feel a little repetitive and (for me) a little boring. But read a bit at a time, the humor holds up much better. As does your ability to refresh your memory in one of those areas; or, as I did, learn new things. 

Of course, when we got to television, movies, and books, I was more in my element...and the chapters were shorter and more diverse so it became easier to read a few more chapters at a time. Also, those chapters were a lot less gruesome. Those mythology and religious afterlives can be crazy gruesome! Not that Dante wasn't every bit their equal. 

Where can you choose to travel to in the afterlife? Hades and Valhalla (of course), the Bardo, Limbo, Nirvana, Johanna and Jannah, the Three Kingdoms of Glory, Aslan's Country, King's Cross, Pandemonium, the Bogus Journey, Hotel Hades, Iowa, the Bad Place, Robot Hell, Hadestown, Rock and Roll Heaven, and the Outer Planes. 

It's great fun and it's definitely one I'd recommend. Just put it on your coffee table or nightstand, and read a chapter or two every night for maximum enjoyment!