Advice for Future Corpses
(and Those Who Love Them)

A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying

by Sallie Tisdale

Beautifully written and compulsively readable, Advice for Future Corpses offers the resources and reassurance that we all need for planning the ends of our lives, and is essential reading for future corpses everywhere. Read our Book Review.

Find it at your library or For more information and to order it online.

VSED Handbook, Kate Christie

The VSED Handbook

A Practical Guide to Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking

Author: Kate Christie

A combination instructional manual/personal memoir, The VSED Handbook provides detailed instructions for planning and carrying out VSED while offering glimpses into one family’s experiences with the process. Nancy Simmers, co-founder and current Coordinator of VSED Resources Northwest, wrote the foreword for the book, which she describes as “a worthy guidebook for contemplating your own end-of-life choices.”

To order a copy of The VSED Handbook, visit the VRNW Reading List page or buy directly from Amazon.


ACAMAID Patient-booklet-cover

Medical Aid In Dying
A Guide For Patients and Their Supporters

By: Lonny Shavelson, MD, American Clinicians Academy on Medical Aid in Dying

Medical Aid in Dying: A Guide for Patients and Their Supporters, originated from the questions, interests, and needs of dying patients, their families, their loved ones, and the many others who support them. Its goal is to demystify and facilitate the process of medical aid in dying.

Available through Amazon for Kindle or as a Paperback.

For PDF (not formatted for home printing, but can be read online or downloaded), click here.
(For bulk orders, contact the Academy at


Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking

A Compassionate, Widely Available Option for Hastening Death

Edited by  Timothy E. Quill, Paul T. Menzel, Thaddeus Pope, and Judith K. Schwarz

Presents a detailed and highly accessible discussion of VSED, including eight real cases, that will appeal to the public as well as to medical, legal, and bioethics scholars

Find it at your library or for more information and to order it online.



Live Well, Age Well, Die Well

by The Peaceful Presence Project

This beautiful and helpful booklet was designed by a group out of Oregon that does end-of-life counseling, The Peaceful Presence Project.  It provides a roadmap and a heartfelt keepsake for the survivors left behind by a death.

For more information and to order it online.

Choosing to Die by Phyllis Shacter

Choosing to Die

A Personal Story

by Phyllis Shacter

Phyllis Shacter courageously shares the first personal story ever written about VSED (voluntarily stopping eating and drinking). This memoir and guidebook follows the journey she took with her husband, Alan, once he decided to VSED so he didn’t have to live into the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  Please also visit The VSED Choice for more information about his journey.

Find more information about the book here.

When My Time Comes

Conversations about whether those who are dying should have the right to determine when life should end

by Diane Rehm

From Diane Rehm, renowned radio host–one of the most trusted voices in the nation–and best-selling author: a book of candor and compassion, addressing the urgent, hotly contested cause of the Right-to-Die movement, of which she is one of our most inspiring champions. Read our book review here.

Find it at your library or listen to her interview on WAMU.

Choosing to Live, Choosing to Die

The Complexities of Assisted Dying

by Nikki Tate

With many jurisdictions considering whether or not to implement new assisted-death legislation, Choosing to Live, Choosing to Die is a timely look at the subject for teen readers who may not yet have had much experience with death and dying. 

Find it at your library or order it online.

That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour

by Sunita Puri

That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour describes how we step into this intersection gracefully.  The author, Dr. Sunita Puri, is an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California and the medical director of palliative medicine at Keck Hospital and the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Los Angeles.  This book is the story of Dr. Puri’s journey to palliative medicine; she takes us along.

Find it at your library or for more information and to order it online.

A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death

by BJ Miller, MD and Shoshana Berger

This is a practical, compassionate, and comprehensive guide to dying—and living fully until you do.

“There is nothing wrong with you for dying,” palliative care doctor B.J. Miller and Shoshana Berger write in A Beginner’s Guide to the End. “Our ultimate purpose here isn’t so much to help you die as it is to free up as much life as possible until you do.”

NPR Interview  or for more information and to order online

Dying Unafraid

by Fran Moreland Johns

Dying Unafraid tells inspired stories of individuals who faced death without fear, offering hope and encouragement to those about them. It is written for the lay reader by a veteran storyteller/reporter who herself has long experience working with the terminally ill. Tough questions of the day such as the issues of self-deliverance and physician-hastened death, as well as what rights individuals have in retaining control over their own lives when those lives are ending are addressed through the stories of individuals who have confronted those issues. 

Order it online. Learn more about the author.

The Art of Dying Well – A practical Guide to a Good End of Life

by Katy Butler

From goodreads:  “This down-to-earth manual for living, aging, and dying with meaning and even joy is based on Butler’s own experience caring for aging parents, as well as hundreds of interviews with people who have successfully navigated a fragmented health system and helped their loved ones have good deaths. It also draws on interviews with nationally recognized experts in family medicine, palliative care, geriatrics, oncology, hospice, and other medical specialties. Inspired by the medieval death manual Ars Moriendi, or the Art of DyingThe Art of Dying Well is the definitive update for our modern age, and illuminates the path to a better end of life.”

How to order it online.

The Four Things That Matter Most – A Book About Living

by Ira Byock

Four simple phrases that carry enormous power, especially at the end of life

Find it at your library or order it online.

Can’t We Talk About Something More PLEASANT?

by Roz Chast

New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging 

Find it at your library. To learn more about the author or to order it online.

A Better Way of Dying – How to Make the Best Choices at the End of Life

by Jeanne & Eileen Fitzpatrick

Find it at your library or for more information or to order online.

Being Mortal – Medicine and What Matters in the End

by Atul Gawande, MD, MPH
Addresses the current state of care about age-related frailty, serious illness, and impending death.

Find it at your library or order it online.


Die Wise – A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul

by Stephen Jenkinson

Find it at your library or order it online.

When Breath Becomes Air

by Paul Kalanathi

A memoir of life and illness, battling stage IV metastasized lung cancer.  Published posthumously. Foreword by Abraham Verghese

Find it at your library or For more information and to order online.

Finish Strong – Putting Your Priorities First at Life’s End

by Barbara Coombs Lee

Find it at your library or For more information and to order it online.

Talking About Death Won’t Kill You

by Virginia Morris

Talks about our reluctance to have candid discussions about death and dying while we are young and healthy causes very difficult situations when the end does draw near.

Find it at your library or order it online.

How we Die – Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter

by Sherwin Nuland

Attempts to demythologize the process of dying. The author explores how we shall die, each of us in a way that will be unique.

Find it at your library or For more information and to order it online.

“Thank you for everything these past few weeks. From your wise and informed counsel to your emotional support - I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everything you’ve done for my family.” B.Y.

End of life choices California

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