10 books like Finding Meaning

By David Kessler,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Finding Meaning. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

By Max Porter,

Book cover of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

Difficult to categorize into a specific genre, Max Porter’s novel uses a tragi-comic approach to deal with how the grief of a husband and father of two sons is experienced using the metaphor of a crow. “Crow” is an anthropomorphic figure who represents grief in this short book. He talks to the husband, telling him that he will take him through the vestiges of grief until, as Crow finally states, “You don’t need me anymore.” The book ends with Crow bidding the bereaved husband/father goodbye. This book helped my understanding—along with several essays on the sad, dark, and comical aspects of grief.

Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

By Max Porter,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Grief Is the Thing with Feathers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 NOVEL OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

Winner of the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize and the Sunday Times/Peter, Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year award and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Goldsmiths Prize.

In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother's sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.

In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family…


The Madness of Grief

By Richard Coles,

Book cover of The Madness of Grief: A Memoir of Love and Loss

He describes the death of his partner from alcoholism and the events leading up to it in an unflinchingly honest and moving way. It's raw and personal but that's what grief is. It's beautiful and respectful and shows how grief is both a shared experience and so completely individual at the same time. 

The Madness of Grief

By Richard Coles,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Madness of Grief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'Immensely moving and disarmingly witty' Nigella Lawson
'Such a moving, tough, funny, raw, honest read' Matt Haig
'Beautifully written, moving and gut-wrenching, but also at times very funny' Ian Rankin
'Captures brilliantly, beautifully, bravely the comedy as well as the tragedy of bereavement' The Times
'Will strike a chord with anyone who has grieved' Independent

Whether it is pastoral care for the bereaved, discussions about the afterlife, or being called out to perform the last rites, death is part of the Reverend Richard Coles's life and work. But when his partner the Reverend David Coles died,…


Grief Works

By Julia Samuel,

Book cover of Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death, and Surviving

The useful thing about this book is that it breaks down the different types of losses we can experience and examines those. Sibling loss, parental loss, loss of a child, etc. You can connect to your type of grief and learn specifics about how to manage it. It is also filled with compassion and wisdom from one of the grief experts in the world. 

Grief Works

By Julia Samuel,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Grief Works as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*** Sunday Times Bestseller ***

'Fascinating. A wise and compassionate book full of insight and understanding that would help anyone experiencing grief, or those surrounding them' Cathy Rentzenbrink

'A wonderfully important and transforming book - lucid, consoling and wise' William Boyd

____________________________________________________________________

Grief Works is a compassionate guide that will inform and engage anyone who is grieving, from the 'expected' death of a parent to the sudden unexpected death of a small child, and provide clear advice for those seeking to comfort the bereaved.

Julia Samuel guides you gently through her eight practical pillars of strength - that include the…


No Time to Say Goodbye

By Carla Fine,

Book cover of No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One

This book although released back in 1999 it is still relevant today. The author speaks openly and honestly about the different emotions including guilt and loneliness which really resonated with me. The book is full of stories of pain and heartache that I could relate to as well as courage and inspiration. This book is honest and felt like a group therapy session that I didn’t want to leave at times. This book doesn’t hide the brutality of suicide, the stigma, the tragedy, and most of all the suffering and pain of those left behind. 

No Time to Say Goodbye

By Carla Fine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Time to Say Goodbye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Suicide would appear to be the last taboo. Even incest is now discussed freely in popular media, but the suicide of a loved one is still an act most people are unable to talk about--or even admit to their closest family or friends. This is just one of the many painful and paralyzing truths author Carla Fine discovered when her husband, a successful young physician, took his own life in December 1989. And being unable to speak openly and honestly about the cause of her pain made it all the more difficult for her to survive.

With No Time to…


About Looking

By John Berger,

Book cover of About Looking

This is a book of essays about the act of looking, especially looking at photographs and paintings and animals and other people. Thus these are essays about history, memory, suffering, beauty, and the self. Berger had a generous spirit; he wrote often about the lives of peasants and spent the last forty years of his life in rural France. Berger gazed upon the world in all its forms with composure and curiosity. 

About Looking

By John Berger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked About Looking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As a novelist, essayist, and cultural historian, John Berger is a writer of dazzling eloquence and arresting insight whose work amounts to a subtle, powerful critique of the canons of our civilization. In About Looking he explores our role as observers to reveal new layers of meaning in what we see. How do the animals we look at in zoos remind us of a relationship between man and beast all but lost in the twentieth century? What is it about looking at war photographs that doubles their already potent violence? How do the nudes of Rodin betray the threats to…


On Death & Dying

By Elisabeth Kübler-Ross,

Book cover of On Death & Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy & Their Own Families

This was published many years ago and profoundly affected how we understand the dying and introduced the five emotional stages of grief. This book helped me understand and support my patients. The five emotional stages occur in other losses in life, not just death. When my life suddenly changed, I mourned the loss of my old life and went through the five stages of grief. Recognizing didn’t prevent the pain, but Kubler-Ross helped me humbly accept my turmoil.

On Death & Dying

By Elisabeth Kübler-Ross,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked On Death & Dying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The five stages of grief, first formulated in this hugely influential work forty years ago, are now part of our common understanding of bereavement. The five stages were first identified by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her work with dying patients at the University of Chicago and were considered phases that all or most people went through, when faced with the prospect of their own death. They are now often accepted as a response to any major life change.

However, in spite of these terms being in general use, the subject of death is still surrounded…


Man’s Search for Meaning

By Viktor Frankl,

Book cover of Man’s Search for Meaning

In apposition to the Levi book I listed first, Frankl becomes more of what he already is, which is a transformation of a completely different sort. The author’s professional life becomes magnified, his thought processes on suffering become exponential. The Holocaust experience affects him so much, so deeply, that he emerges with a new field of thought that shakes up the foundational thought on mental health that Freud had well established. One is not a slave to his own mind; one can attain mastery under any circumstances with certain shifts of reason. Resonant for all time, and certainly for our time.

Man’s Search for Meaning

By Viktor Frankl,

Why should I read it?

26 authors picked Man’s Search for Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the outstanding classics to emerge from the Holocaust, Man's Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl's story of his struggle for survival in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Today, this remarkable tribute to hope offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.


The Undertaking

By Thomas Lynch,

Book cover of The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade

Thomas Lynch does a masterful job in The Undertaking offering a behind-the-scenes look at the funeral profession. Using beautiful, lyrical prose to present a topic (i.e., death) that is often ugly and hard to stomach, and rears its head at the most inopportune times, Lynch offers an unflinching look at what he calls the dismal trade. His deep connection with death and dying translates to the reader not only feeling connected with the subject matter, but empowering the reader to connect with the next death event in their life. Take it from me, someone in the profession, this book is as authentic as they come. A must-read. 

The Undertaking

By Thomas Lynch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Undertaking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Every year I bury a couple hundred of my townspeople." So opens this singular and wise testimony. Like all poets, inspired by death, Thomas Lynch is, unlike others, also hired to bury the dead or to cremate them and to tend to their families in a small Michigan town where he serves as the funeral director.

In the conduct of these duties he has kept his eyes open, his ear tuned to the indispensable vernaculars of love and grief. In these twelve pieces his is the voice of both witness and functionary. Here, Lynch, poet to the dying, names the…


Getting Near to Baby

By Audrey Couloumbis,

Book cover of Getting Near to Baby

This award-winning, middle grade novel begins with Willa Jo and her little sister refusing to come down off their Aunt Patty’s roof. Drawn to get as close to the sky as possible, they stay up, wrestling with the recent death of their sibling. I read this book shortly after my baby died, and it gets everything right about the confusion, the magical thinking, the incomprehensible behavior of those who don’t know grief, and especially, the inability to understand a world that has, in an instant, been so dramatically altered. 

Getting Near to Baby

By Audrey Couloumbis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Getting Near to Baby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Southern charmer for fans of Newbery Honor book Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage


Audrey Couloumbis's masterful debut novel brings to mind Karen Hesse, Katherine Paterson, and Betsy Byars's The Summer of the Swans—it is a story you will never forget. 


Willa Jo and Little Sister are up on the roof at Aunt Patty’s house. Willa Jo went up to watch the sunrise, and Little Sister followed, like she always does. But by mid-morning, they are still up on that roof, and soon it’s clear it wasn’t just the sunrise that brought them there. 


The trouble is, coming down…


Everything I Never Told You

By Celeste Ng,

Book cover of Everything I Never Told You

This edgy saga centers on secrets and emotional undercurrents in families. When Lydia, the family’s pride and joy, is found dead in a lake, the family unravels. While the mother sets out to solve the crime, it’s Hannah, the youngest child, who holds the secret to what really happened. A great story wrapped around the intricacies of family ties, which is what inspires my own writing

Everything I Never Told You

By Celeste Ng,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Everything I Never Told You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The acclaimed debut novel by the author of Little Fires Everywhere and Our Missing Hearts

"A taut tale of ever deepening and quickening suspense." -O, the Oprah Magazine

"Explosive . . . Both a propulsive mystery and a profound examination of a mixed-race family." -Entertainment Weekly

"Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet." So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia's body…


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