My beloved 32-year-old husband died in 2017. Since then, I've read a lot of books about grief—many of which were gifts from thoughtful friends. These are some of my favorites.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
Pema Chodron$16.95 $15.76
This book applies to all sorts of hard life experiences. It's one I've returned to time and again, and I get something new from it every time I read it.
It's Okay to Laugh: (Crying Is Cool Too)
Nora McInerny Purmort$17.99 $16.73
This was the first book I read after my husband died. It gave me hope and, yes, made me laugh. What a godsend.
Once More We Saw Stars: A Memoir of Life and Love After Unimaginable Loss
I read this book before I became a parent. I couldn't put it down. What a tragic loss; what gorgeous writing.
What We Lose
Zinzi Clemmons$17.00 $15.81
Anger is a necessary stage of grief, but it was a tough one for me to access. This book helped. (Also, bonus points for a truly gorgeous cover!)
Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved
Kate Bowler$17.00 $15.81
I adore Kate Bowler. This book is great for any grieving person, but is especially valuable for someone facing a dire diagnosis.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed
Lori Gottlieb$28.00 $26.04
I LOVED this book. It's great for pretty much anyone who has a reason to go to therapy. (Isn't that all of us lately?)
Grief Is the Thing with Feathers
Max Porter$15.00 $13.95
It can be hard to focus on fiction when you're grieving. This book is an exception. Porter's writing style is a true delight, and he captures grief in such a wonderfully imaginative way.
The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion$17.00 $15.81
A classic. All hail Joan Didion.
A Grief Observed
C. S. Lewis$15.99 $14.87
Another classic. This book brought me a surprising amount of comfort in my earliest days as a widow. It's a short read, and—wow—C.S. Lewis gets it.
Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities (Updated)
Rebecca Solnit$15.99 $14.87
Feeling hopeless about the state of the world? The essays in this book will make you feel a lot better—and a lot more empowered to make positive change.
The Light of the World: A Memoir
Elizabeth Alexander$17.99 $16.73
This is one of the most beautiful grief memoirs I've read. As a new widow, it brought a lot of comfort to me.
This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart
Susannah Conway has such a gentle soul and approach. Flipping through this beautiful book feels like a cozy hug.
Learning to Walk in the Dark: Because Sometimes God Shows Up at Night
Barbara Brown Taylor$16.99 $15.80
I'd recommend this book to anyone whose faith has been shaken.
Levels of Life
A stunning novel. A friend bought this book for me and I still, years later, think about what a thoughtful gift it was.
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy
Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg$28.00 $26.04
This book brought me a lot of hope and helped me understand resilience so much better.
Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time
Rob Sheffield$16.00 $14.88
There aren't a ton of grief memoirs out there written by men. This book, by Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield, is a gem.
The Dead Moms Club: A Memoir about Death, Grief, and Surviving the Mother of All Losses
Kate Spencer$18.99 $17.66
This is the only book on this list that I haven't read yet. But I know someday I will need it, and for that I am grateful that it exists.