Books for a Grieving Friend

By Katie Hawkins-Gaar

By Katie Hawkins-Gaar

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Pema Chodron

$16.95 $15.59

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

$16.98 $15.62

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

Jayson Greene

$16.00 $14.72

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

$16.00 $14.72

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 $15.64

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 $25.76

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 $13.80

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

$16.00 $14.72

A classic. All hail Joan Didion.

A Grief Observed

C. S. Lewis

$15.99 $14.71

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 $14.71

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 $16.55

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


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 $15.63

I'd recommend this book to anyone whose faith has been shaken.

Levels of Life

Julian Barnes

$15.95 $14.67

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

Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

$25.95 $23.87

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 $14.72

There aren't a ton of grief memoirs out there written by men. This book, by Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield, is a gem.

Black Widow: A Sad-Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books with Words Like "journey" in the Title

Leslie Gray Streeter

$27.00 $24.84

It can also be hard to find grief books by non-white authors. This book is funny and relatable.

The Dead Moms Club: A Memoir about Death, Grief, and Surviving the Mother of All Losses

Kate Spencer

$17.99 $16.55

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.

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Cheryl Strayed

$16.95 $15.59

I've lost track of how many times I've bought this book as a gift for people I love. It's perfect in pretty much any situation.