- Series: Messages from the Dead
- Paperback: 250 pages
- Publisher: Castle Azle Press; 1 edition (August 19, 2017)
Graveyards don’t exist merely to shelter the dead. They also nurture the living. In fact, America’s garden cemeteries were our nation’s first public parks. People used to visit cemeteries not only to mourn the dead, but to have a pleasant day in nature with their family. “Understanding Cemetery Symbols” by Tui Snider helps history buffs, genealogists, ghost hunters and other curiosity seekers decode the forgotten meanings of the symbols our ancestors placed on their headstones. By understanding the meaning behind the architecture, acronyms, & symbols found in America’s burial grounds, readers will gain a deeper appreciation for these “messages from the dead.”
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Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in quirky travel, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!”
Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences and bookstores. Her best-selling books include Paranormal Texas, The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber, Unexpected Texas, and Understanding Cemetery Symbols. She recently taught classes based on her books at Texas Christian University.
When not writing books, you can find Tui exploring the historic graveyards and backroads of Texas with her husband, Larry.
Connect with Tui:
When I was given the opportunity to review this book, I didn’t merely sign up for it, I begged for the chance. Partly, of course, it’s because a lot of my writing lately is focusing on ghosts, but also it’s because the subject fascinates me. Maybe it’s because we don’t bury our dead in my family – we have them cremated and scatter the ashes somewhere meaningful – or maybe I’ve just read too many gothic novels with confrontations in family crypts, but graveyards have always intrigued me. In fact, one of the only things I remember from a clever gardening book I read several years ago, is that graveyard roses are the hardiest plants if you want to grow roses from a cutting.
Tui Snider’s book does not cover the best ways to filch roses from the dead, but it is a lot more than just a glossary of symbols commonly found on headstones.
In fact, Understanding Cemetery Symbols has several chapters explaining the history and trends of burial in America, including a rundown of different types of cemeteries and descriptions of the different words – such as burial ground, churchyard, graveyard, etc. – that were used in different eras and are still used in different parts of the country. (Confession: like the author, I agree that ‘graveyard’ is creepier than ‘cemetery.’)
Of course, it also explains the symbols the title references, but it does so in a way that is never dry or dull. Author Snider’s warm, witty style of writing feels more like a conversation with a friend than any kind of book, and I found myself both impressed with her research and eager to field-test her data.
Speaking of field-testing, my review copy also came with copies of Ms. Snider’s Graveyard Journal, for tracking the different graves you visit and what symbols are present, and her Ghost Hunter’s Journal, for those of us who have more than a passing fancy for the supernatural. Both of these supplementary books are well-designed, and now that the weather in Texas is cooling off I’m excited about doing some judicious exploration.
Understanding Cemetery Symbols is an interesting read even if you never plan to go tromping around old churchyards, but it’s indispensable if you do feel the urge to explore, and the two journals will only enhance your experience.
Goes well with tuna sandwiches and sweet tea, enjoyed on a picnic blanket in the middle of a cemetery.
Giveaway (US Only)
Grand Prize: Signed Copies of Understanding Cemetery Symbols + wGraveyard Journal Workbook + Ghost Hunters Journal
2nd & 3rd Prizes: Signed Copies of Understanding Cemetery Symbols
October 18-October 27, 2017
Tour Stops for Understanding Cemetery Symbols
|18-Oct||Excerpt 1||Texan Girl Reads|
|19-Oct||Review||Chapter Break Book Blog|
|20-Oct||Guest Post 1||Books in the Garden|
|21-Oct||Review||The Librarian Talks|
|22-Oct||Author Interview||Books and Broomsticks|
|23-Oct||Excerpt 2||The Page Unbound|
|25-Oct||Top 5 List||Syd Savvy|
|26-Oct||Guest Post 2||A Novel Reality|