You know what? This is my first reading guide of the year! I usually do some sort of round-up to kick the year off, but I skipped it, and a few weeks ago I realized that I’ve never put together a list of books on grief.
So, here it is! Some of these books I’ve already read, while others are recommendations I’ve received from others. I know it’s never an exciting thing, to look for books on grief, but it is often necessary and the right one can be difficult to find. I hope this list helps.
‘Live Your Life’ by Amanda Kloots
“Live Your Life” is Amanda’s story of how she met and fell in love with Nick Cordero, and ultimately, her experience dealing with him being sick and his death during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I actually listened to the audio of this and would recommend it. It’s read by Amanda, and sometimes she did cry, but I didn’t feel like it was too much. She also sang, and there was a clip of Nick’s song, “Live Your Life.” You can read my full review of it here.
‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ by Joan Didion
This is one I’ve heard about from many people, but haven’t read yet. The writer shares her experience with grief after losing her husband followed by dealing with a sick daughter in a very short period. At first glance, it seems like a lot, but I’m sure she has a lot of good insight to share.
‘Crying in H Mart’ by Michelle Zauner
The bulk of the book is about Zauner’s mom being diagnosed, being sick, and passing away, and there’s a bit about grief, of course.
But so much of this book is about food — Korean food — and that is what hooked me. Zauner wrote about the food so beautifully. I enjoy books that aren’t prescriptive about grief since it’s such a personal thing.
I should also note that I listened to the audiobook of this and it’s actually read by the author, which makes such a difference. She has a beautiful voice and it helped me hear some of her native language properly. Here is my full review of the book.
‘A Grief Observed’ by C.S. Lewis
This is another one that comes heavily recommended, and honestly, I feel a bit out of the loop for not having read it yet! It was initially published in 1961 and Lewis shares his journey with grief after losing his wife.
‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed
I read this book not knowing it would cover so much about grief, but it is SUCH a good one. After losing her mom, Cheryl ventures on a solo adventure: hiking 1,100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert to northernmost Oregon.
I don’t want to give anything away, but I sobbed reading this one — I related to it so much. My full review is here.
Anything by Theresa Caputo
I have always been a fan of the Long Island Medium Theresa Caputo, but last year, I finally got the opportunity to see her in person. You can read all of the details about the live event here, but I was so inspired afterward that I bought three of her books! Here’s what she’s published so far:
- “There’s More to Life Than This: Healing Messages, Remarkable Stories, and Insight About the Other Side”
- “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Life-Changing Lessons From Heaven”
- “Good Grief: Heal Your Soul, Honor Your Loved Ones, and Learn to Live Again”
- “Good Mourning: Moving Through Everyday Losses With Wisdom From the Other Side”
‘Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune’ by Roselle Lim
This book follows Natalie, who is coming back to San Francisco after her mother dies. She originally left the city after her and her mother got in a fight over Natalie’s dream: to own a small restaurant in Chinatown.
While mourning the loss of her mother, Natalie discovers that her grandmother actually had a restaurant in Chinatown that really brought people together with her classic Asian recipes. Should Natalie try and reopen the restaurant in attempts to live her dreams and save the neighborhood?
I loved this book so much. It covers grief, and dealing with loss when the relationship you’re grieving was already broken. I loved all of the food descriptions in the book, too, and since I’ve ventured to San Frna’s Chinatown, it was so easy to imagine. You can read my full review here.
‘Nobody Will Tell You This But Me’ by Bess Kalb
This is another recommended book, and at the surface, it doesn’t seem like a book on grief. But, many of the books I’ve included here don’t! This is a book about Bess Kalb’s family over four generations. Kalb saved every voicemail her grandmother ever left her, and when her grandmother died, Kalb wrote this book.
‘What Remains’ by Carole Radziwill
This book cover the plane crash that killed JFK Jr., who was Carole Radziwill’s husband’s cousin. It also killed JFK Jr’s wife (Carole’s best friend), and her sister. Less than a month later, Carole’s husband died from cancer.
This book was tragic — I sobbed. Most of the book happens in the mid-to-late 90’s, a time when cancer hadn’t yet forced itself into movies and YA novels. The rawness in which Carole shares her experience is moving. You can read my full review here.
‘Competitive Grieving’ by Nora Zelevansky
This is another recommendation, and by the looks of Goodreads, it has mixed reviews. But, it’s a novel that has the main character losing her best friend from childhood. Although, when it comes time to plan the funeral, she realizes she doesn’t know her friend as well as she thought.
‘No Time Like the Future’ by Michael J. Fox
I read this book last year, and it was one of the best books I’ve read. I didn’t know much about Michael J. Fox before reading it, and I also learned a lot about Parkinson’s, too. This book made me think a lot about my dad, who struggled with a lifetime of health problems. It made me think about the general population that has to deal with regular health setbacks and must face their inevitable future. You can read my full review here.
‘Running Home’ by Katie Arnold
One thing I’ll say about this book is that, while I did not find it as beautifully written as I did “What Remains” and “Wild”, but it’s probably the first time while reading any of these types of books that I felt like someone took the words out of my brain.
Her feelings and thoughts on death and grief were incredibly relatable. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone coping with grief or loss, especially that of a parent or a close friend or family member. You can read my full review of it here.
‘Under the Whispering Door’ by T.J. Klune
This book was a recommendation, but it’s not something I would read. However, I wanted to include it here, because maybe it’s for you. It’s in the fantasy genre, and follows Wallace Price as the reeper takes him. During his journey, he is able to take a closer look at his life. It has fantastic reviews on GoodReads!
‘Love, Loss, and What We Ate’ by Padma Lakshmi
Before reading this book, I only knew Padma Lakshmi by what I saw of her on “Top Chef.” But, she has a rich past that, of course, includes food, but so much more. Aside from being a successful model, she suffered great loss, and I enjoyed learning about how she coped. You can read my full review here.
‘The Rainbow Comes & Goes’ by Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper
I have always loved Anderson Cooper, and this book made me feel no differently. He shares the close relationship he has with his mother, and in the book, they discuss her life, and her family — and the memories they share. It’s really a sweet look at the end of life, before someone goes. You can read my full review here.
Anything by Tyler Henry
I am very loyal to Theresa Caputo, but I like Tyler Henry, too. He’s a medium to the stars and his gift can help so many people dealing with loss and grief. He’s written two books: “Between Two Worlds” and “Here and Hereafter.”
‘The Storyteller’ by Dave Grohl
I did not expect this book to be about grief, but Dave Grohl has suffered great loss. I found comfort in his stories, and the way grief was sort of… woven into his life. I also laughed a lot reading this book — you can read my full review here.
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