This is pretty random and superficial, but still more interesting than I expected. It gets a bit jokey from time to time, but does introduce a wide range of interesting ideas about how the afterlife is viewed in various religions. Chapters addressed to books, movies, and the like that are concerned with the afterlife feel like padding, but there are some interesting nuggets there too. Worth a view.
Very smart and very, very funny! Mythology, religion, and literature nerds will love this pitch-perfect travel guide to the afterlife. Jennings' has a very quippy and clever writing voice and I enjoyed this exploration of a particular portion of the human imagination throughout history.
This is the perfect book for a very specific audience. Ken Jennings mixes mythology from around the world with historical facts and a touch of humor. Jeopardy fans who enjoy these subjects will love this book. Most fans of the show are familiar with Jennings, and the book comes as no surprise from this author with a razor sharp memory and a dry sense of humor.
Forget about the 1000 places to see before you die, Ken Jennings presents the first (and probably only) guide for where you may want to visit after you die. “100 Places to See After You Die: A Travel Guide to the Afterlife” is exactly what it says: a guidebook that explores how we as humans have viewed where we go after we leave this mortal realm, written in a “travel guidebook” style (complete with travel tips!) and with a good dose of humor.
The book is divided into sections that look at how the afterlife is viewed from different facets, including religions, literature, movies, mythology, and several more. Some are taken a bit more seriously than others (Buddhist Nirvana vs. an episode of The Simpsons, for example), but all of our destination reviews are a bit tongue in cheek. It’s very interesting how different cultures, different times have viewed what happens after we die, many different versions of rewards vs. punishments. As an aside, I was very happy to see “Defending Your Life” included in the movie section, one of the funnier movies that doesn’t get the credit it deserves.
A lighthearted book about a serious subject, you’ll learn a little bit about history along with a chuckle or two along the way. Take it in small doses and enjoy.
I requested and received a free advanced electronic copy from Scribner via NetGalley. Thank you!
I was drawn to this title because it was written by Ken Jennings of Jeopardy fame, but it was the fast chapters and travel guide style that kept me reading. I really enjoyed how the book was set up and as someone who has read many a travel guide, I thought it hugely creative the frame the narrative this way. This book does what it promises: shows you 100 places you could go after you have died based on your culture and belief system. It’s divided into sections: mythology, religion, books, movies, television, music and theatre, and miscellaneous. Within each section there are various destinations and some of them were more interesting than others.
There was a lot of research put into this book (or Ken just already knew it all), but the more you know about the places you visit going in, the more humorous you will think this book is. It was very interesting to see how many different depictions of the afterlife there are, many of which I had no idea about. Although these chapters are short, it isn’t a quick read and really should be enjoyed by someone who either knows a lot about history/English/etc or wants to learn more. The dry humor from Ken was appreciated and I give it credit for being a unique concept. Thank you to Scribner and Netgalley for providing me with this galley.
**Book Review: "100 Places to See After You Die" - A Humorous Journey Through the Afterlife**
*"100 Places to See After You Die"* takes readers on an entertaining and witty exploration of the afterlife, curated by none other than the legendary Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings. This quirky travel guide delves into a diverse array of afterlife destinations, drawing inspiration from mythology, religion, literature, pop culture, and more.
Jennings ingeniously transforms the concept of a travel guide into a tongue-in-cheek tour of the realms beyond. The book’s structure mirrors that of a traditional travel guide, with a twist—it swaps out earthly destinations for celestial and otherworldly ones. From Dante’s Inferno to Hadestown, from ancient Egypt's underworld to NBC's The Good Place, the book takes readers on a unique journey through the imaginative landscapes of human history and creativity.
The book's strength lies in its ability to seamlessly blend humor with education. Jennings’ narrative approach is engaging, presenting readers with glimpses of intriguing places that range from the absurd to the profound. The first sections on mythology and religion provide insightful overviews of various cultural beliefs, from Valhalla to Diyu, offering a fascinating cross-section of human imagination. As the book progresses, it delves into fictional interpretations of the afterlife, referencing literature, movies, television, music, and theater. While the humor might not be for everyone, those who appreciate dry wit will find themselves chuckling.
However, the book does suffer from some drawbacks. The transition from the more comprehensive sections on mythology and religion to the fictional sources can be jarring. For those unfamiliar with certain books, movies, or cultural references, the humor may not land as effectively, causing a lack of engagement in those chapters. Additionally, the sheer number of places discussed—100 in total—sometimes results in shorter, less developed entries that can feel like filler.
"100 Places to See After You Die" invites readers to ponder the mysteries of the unknown, blending laughter with exploration. It's a unique literary journey that offers a refreshing twist on the concept of a travel guide. Whether you're seeking a lighthearted exploration of the afterlife or a witty commentary on the human fascination with what lies beyond, this book presents an intriguing combination of both. While not everyone's cup of tea, if you're open to a playful and educational experience, this book might be the perfect addition to your reading list.
Absolute gem! This was fun to read the many different mythologies that surround death and the afterlife. Practically every culture from around the globe is represented. Many popular and well known around the world. Others I hadn't even realized had a myth system. Jennings also includes myths from ancient eras to those of the past decade that are becoming myths in their own right.
I always love getting to learn about the views from around the world. People have developed varying and vast ways to describe what happens to us when we pass from this experience. Some seem incredibly plausible and attractive to my belief system. Book me a ticket to some of those paradises. Some just seem completely wacky, and you have to really wonder how that seed got planted. I was tickled by the pop culture additions to highlight how mythos change as generations add their imprint on the story.
There were some very thought provoking moments amidst all the entertainment. Jennings takes credible research from oral history, literature, and visual arts then sprinkles it with a healthy dose of satire. In my opinion, a superior mythos travelogue to <i>Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy</i>.
What a tongue in cheek story with some great tips as you visit each of these places once you die. Great coverage on many areas - religion, television, literature, film, etc. Jennings’ has an interesting sense of humor and a lot of research went into this book. Not sure yet which place I’d choose to visit.
I loved the way this book is set up. Most books require commitment to start at the beginning and push through until you reach the end resolution, but this one invites readers to step inside the pages for a while, learn and ponder and ingest, and then step out again.
I've always been impressed by Ken Jennings wealth of knowledge and enjoy him on Jeopardy. In this book, he combines his vast knowledge with his wit and humor to produce a most unusual work. The book is packed with knowledge so that the reader is learning without even realizing it.
A very enjoyable book
Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings uses the book "100 Places to See After You Die" to share must-see destinations in the afterlife. It's a unique travel guide that covers destinations from books, movies, television, and cultures from over 5,000 years of human history.
The writing style is engaging. The author is an academic but doesn't "talk down" to readers. And each chapter is short. I wasn't interested in all the destinations, but there is something for everyone in this book. Some of the content is a bit snarky, but I did find a few laugh-out-loud moments.
A perfectly enjoyable book of history, religion, and pop culture with a fun conceit. Ken Jennings was on his way to a vacation when he spotted a book in one of those kitschy airport bookstores - 100 Places to See Before You Die! But it was upside down, and he mistakenly read it as 100 Places to See AFTER You Die. Of course, he thought that would be a great concept for a book, a sampling of humanity’s collective depictions of what happens in the afterlife, framed as a travel guidebook.
Ken covers mythology, religion, books, movies, TV, and music, with topics such as Valhalla, Gehenna, Aslan’s Country, Dante’s Inferno, Field of Dreams, San Junipero from Black Mirror, My Mother the Car, Coco, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and so many more. Some of the earlier chapters are long, the later pop culture chapters are sometimes just a few pages.
Although Jennings writes these assuming the reader has no familiarity with each topic, I definitely enjoyed the sections that I had already seen/read/had prior familiarity with much more. He covers material that spans ancient mythology to pop culture as recent as Upload, the 2020 Amazon Prime show, so you’ll undoubtedly find something you haven’t seen before. Regardless, Ken is an excellent writer whose words are engaging and funny all the way through, and the “Traveler’s Tips,” “Where to Stay,” and “What to See” sections make the book fun.
This would definitely make a great gift or coffee table book, something to peruse through when you want a laugh or to learn a little. Thank you to the publisher for the ARC via NetGalley.
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!
When Ken Jennings was on his Jeopardy! winning streak in 2004, I saw every show and became a super-fan. I was so delighted when he quit his job as a software engineer to become a writer. His book Maphead is a love letter to the world of weird maps and Brainiac dives deep into the world of trivia competitions. I loved both of them. His writing style is conversational and funny, and it never feels like you’re seeing his research on the page. It’s clear he’s done a lot of research, then lived with the information long enough that he can turn it into a story.
I loved this guidebook to the afterlife that explores destinations from literature, mythology, and pop culture. It’s written in the style of a travel guide, with tips for getting the most out of your time in places like Valhalla and Hades. It has suggestions for what you might wear in the palace of the Hindu Lord Vishnu and tells you how to avoid the flesh-eating serpents in the afterlife of the Star Trek Klingons. Jennings also visit the Hieronymus Bosch painting The Garden of Earthly Delights, Disneyland rides, and the TV shows Twin Peaks and its spiritual opposite The Good Place.
I featured this book in the 30 June episode of my podcast 'The Library of Lost Time.'
Thank you to Net Galley and the Publisher for this Advanced Readers Copy of 100 Places to See After You Die by Ken Jennings!
Ken Jennings, the unfortunate replacement host of Jeopardy!, pens this surprising little listicle book about all of your favourite POST-DEATH homesteads. He really wowed me on this one and I delighted in every single chapter. From Mythology to Literature and Film to Religion every version of your own personal Great Beyond™️ is all here to welcome you fondly (and not-so-fondly).
I learned so much from this book and did not get too annoyed by the smarmy game show host’s everyday personality.
I received an advance copy via NetGalley.
Jennings’s new release is an inventive, diverse tour guide to the afterlife, ranging from world religions to The Good Place to the Marvel Universe. Each chapter is a quick, snappy read, many only three or so pages in length, with a few more prolonged and detailed. To use an irresistible pun, the book is enlightening. There were several faiths and media-based afterlives I knew nothing about, and I appreciated Jennings’s tone. His humor can be dry, but there is never a sense that he is picking on someone.
This was a lightheaded and tongue in cheek satire style book depicting the afterlife as seen in mythology, religion, books, movie, television, and music. I liked how it was set up and appreciated the author’s detail as each view was represented. They were all treated with sarcasm and some were downright ridiculous. I found that unless I was familiar with it, they were all kind of hard to picture. Nevertheless, worth the read. 3.5 stars
An informative and entertaining travel book of the afterlife. As someone who adores both Dante's Inferno and The Good Place, it honestly felt like this book was written for me. I loved it!
Jennings' writing is engaging and informative, and he does a great job of capturing the beauty and wonder of the places he visits. He also provides helpful tips for travelers, such as how to get there, where to stay, and what to see and do.
100 Places to See Before You Die is a fascinating and inspiring book that will appeal to anyone who loves to travel or who is interested in learning more about the world. It is a must-read for anyone who dreams of visiting the world's most amazing places.