The best books for when life throws you a curveball

The Books I Picked & Why

It's Ok That You're Not Ok: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand

By Megan Devine

It's Ok That You're Not Ok: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand

Why this book?

I am like the Johnny Appleseed of this book; I’ve given it to the closest friends and the most casual acquaintances from very different walks of life, whether they are the person suffering a loss or a person supporting someone suffering one because guess what? We’ll all be both at different points in our lives. We can also define loss and its accompanying grief broadly; this book helped me show up for a friend during her divorce, for instance. If I could mandate a national book club that compelled us all to read one book, I’d pick this one.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy

By Angela Garbes

Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy

Why this book?

I wish I’d read this book before I had my child because it centered me through the upheaval of early parenthood better than other more didactic books. Garbes looks at pregnancy unflinchingly but also with curiosity and empathy. She’s the smart, candid mom friend you wish you had.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

By Adrienne Maree Brown

Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

Why this book?

Change on the personal and societal level is hard, relentless, and can feel demoralizing. Brown’s work is grounded outside of the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and prioritizes self-care, community, joy, and curiosity while taking inspiration from the natural world and its rhythms and long arcs toward revolution. You may not have thought you needed a strategy book rooted in the science fiction writing of Octavia Butler, but fortunately, life can provide positive surprises, not just negative ones. I expect I’ll return to portions of this book again and again when I need to fill my cup.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Year of Zines: In Which Sarah Mirk (That’s Me) Somewhat Obsessively Tries to Make a Zine Every Day for a Year

By Sarah Mirk

Year of Zines: In Which Sarah Mirk (That’s Me) Somewhat Obsessively Tries to Make a Zine Every Day for a Year

Why this book?

What I love about Mirk’s book is the physically productive response to anxiety, the unselfconscious approach to creating physical art and words, and how the physical creation is so personal yet so universal. The dedication of creating a zine a day is monkish in its attention and yet also achievable in a way that is inspiring. Make art for your own sake, because it’s good for you even if it’s not “good”. Use it to get to know and love yourself better.

This book is only available from the author here


Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

By Rebecca Solnit

Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

Why this book?

The world is hell, so now what? By now we all know how easy it is to fall into despair. “Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting.” Solnit’s arguments and examples of a galvanizing hope are not naïve. They are nuanced, realistic, and give us something to cling to like a life raft as we scan for dry land.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Distantly Related Book Lists

Random Book Lists