100 books like Finding Meaning

By David Kessler,

Here are 100 books that Finding Meaning fans have personally recommended if you like Finding Meaning. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

Amber A. Logan Author Of The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn

From my list on unusual manifestations of grief.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been fascinated by how personal and singular the experience of grief is. There is something soothing and relatable about reading others’ experiences—the more strange, nonsensical, or even supernatural the better. My own novel, The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn, is a retelling of The Secret Garden, but with an adult protagonist moving through grief over the death of her complicated mother, striving to see a bright ray of hope on the other side. Each of the books on my list about unusual manifestations of grief tackles this same concept in new and surprising ways, and I hope they touch you as they have touched me.  

Amber's book list on unusual manifestations of grief

Amber A. Logan Why did Amber love this book?

Of all the book recommendations on my list, this book fits the theme the best.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers is a novella about grief and loss, and tells the story of a father and his two sons who unexpectedly lose their wife/mother and are visited by a crow who is the literal manifestation of their grief.

Gorgeous and strange (part of the book is seen through the crow’s eyes!), this was the book that made me realize how blurred the line between prose and poetry can be, and why I love books that are surreal and challenging. It is also a book I will likely revisit when I am experiencing my own grief again someday.

By Max Porter,

Why should I read it?

6 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…


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

James Withey Author Of How to Get to Grips with Grief: 40 Ways to Manage the Unmanageable

From my list on to get to grips with grief.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the author of the best-selling books How to Tell Depression to Piss Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life BackHow to Tell Anxiety to Sod Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life Back, The Recovery Letters, and What I Do to Get Through. My sixth book will be, How to Smash Stress: 40 Ways to Manage the Unmanageable.

James' book list on to get to grips with grief

James Withey Why did James love this book?

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. 

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,…


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

James Withey Author Of How to Get to Grips with Grief: 40 Ways to Manage the Unmanageable

From my list on to get to grips with grief.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the author of the best-selling books How to Tell Depression to Piss Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life BackHow to Tell Anxiety to Sod Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life Back, The Recovery Letters, and What I Do to Get Through. My sixth book will be, How to Smash Stress: 40 Ways to Manage the Unmanageable.

James' book list on to get to grips with grief

James Withey Why did James love this book?

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. 

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…


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

Amanda J. Evans Author Of Surviving Suicide: A Memoir From Those Death Left Behind

From my list on coping with grief and loss through suicide.

Why am I passionate about this?

At age 13, the unthinkable happened and my father took his own life. Barely into adolescence, this trauma shaped the rest of my life. It created a deep compassion within me for the suffering of others and an understanding of the impact death can have. It ended everything and in learning to live, learning to laugh and smile, and dare to be happy again, I found my passion to help others rise to the surface in adult years. For anyone having to face the trauma of suicide, I am deeply sorry, and I know that there are no words that will alleviate the pain, but if you are looking for some comfort (when you are ready for it) I hope these books will help. 

Amanda's book list on coping with grief and loss through suicide

Amanda J. Evans Why did Amanda love this book?

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. 

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…


Book cover of The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction

Arash Azizi Author Of What Iranians Want: Women, Life, Freedom

From my list on changing the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having grown up under a repressive dictatorship in Iran, I always wondered about how humans could come together to bring about change. Years of living in different countries have only prolonged that quest. I had identified as a socialist since my teen years in the 2000s (when this political identity wasn’t so popular) and have continuously studied the history of the Left and the pathways it offers to make a better world. I don’t believe in exhaustive favorite lists, so these are just five books that, I think, will help us better appreciate this long history of a quest for progress. 

Arash's book list on changing the world

Arash Azizi Why did Arash love this book?

If we want to change the world, we have to first understand what life is all about. It might be silly to think you can get an answer to such a fundamental question by reading a short book. But Marxist philosopher Terry Eagleton doesn’t disappoint, and his pristine prose lets you both understand life and maybe even come to appreciate it more. 

I personally feel a bit more hopeful about life anytime I pick up a book by Eagleton, and what topic better than this?

By Terry Eagleton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Philosophers have an infuriating habit of analysing questions rather than answering them', writes Terry Eagleton, who, in these pages, asks the most important question any of us ever ask, and attempts to answer it.

So what is the meaning of life? In this witty, spirited, and stimulating inquiry, Eagleton shows how centuries of thinkers - from Shakespeare and Schopenhauer to Marx, Sartre and Beckett - have tackled the question. Refusing to settle for the bland and boring, Eagleton reveals with a mixture of humour and intellectual rigour how the question has become particularly problematic in modern times. Instead of addressing…


Book cover of The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self

Keisha Blair Author Of Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity, and Happiness

From my list on resilience and overcoming setbacks.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a trained Economist and Harvard Trained Policy Expert. I was part of the Prime Minister's supporting delegation to the World Economic Forum, ASEAN, and APEC Summits in Singapore. I'm the Founder of the Institute on Holistic Wealth and host of the Holistic Wealth podcast. I wrote a viral article entitled "My Husband Died At Age 34. Here Are 40 Life Lessons I Learned From It". I coined the term Holistic Wealth with the publication of the first book on Holistic Wealth. I am the founder of the Holistic Wealth movement and known as the Mother of Holistic Wealth. I've written three books on Holistic Wealth (series). 

Keisha's book list on resilience and overcoming setbacks

Keisha Blair Why did Keisha love this book?

As Martha Beck says in her book, “Integrity is the cure for psychological suffering. Period.”

I honestly believe that living in integrity is the first truth about being resilient. It’s so much harder to be resilient when we are living out of sync with our values and our most authentic selves. Living a lie causes stress and anxiety and leads to chronic illnesses.

I like how Martha spells out living purposefully and intentionally. I started reading The Way of Integrity to prepare for an interview with Martha on the Holistic Wealth podcast. In The Way of Integrity, Martha outlines a four-stage process that anyone can use to find integrity, and with it, a sense of purpose, emotional healing, and a life free of mental suffering.

Much of what plagues us—people pleasing, worry and anxiety, negative habits—all point to what happens when we are out of touch with what truly…

By Martha Beck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'A roadmap on the journey to truth and authenticity... [The Way of Integrity] is filled with aha moments and practical exercises that can guide us as we seek enlightenment' Oprah Winfrey

'This radiant book will not only change your life, but perhaps even save it' Elizabeth Gilbert

'Martha Beck's genius is that her writing is equal parts comforting and challenging. A teacher, a mother, a sage, she holds our hand as she leads us back home to ourselves' Glennon Doyle

_____________________

Bestselling author, life coach and sociologist Martha Beck explains why…


Book cover of About Looking

Sallie Tisdale Author Of The Lie about the Truck: Survivor, Reality TV, and the Endless Gaze

From my list on the existential crisis of looking in a mirror.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer, I’ve always been interested in ambiguity and ambivalence. How does that apply to the self? What does it mean to present myself to others? How do I appear to the world and how close is that to what I see myself to be? Are we ever truly seen—or willing to be seen? In a world where cameras exist everywhere and we are encouraged to record rather than simply be, how do we look in a mirror? Hannah Arendt said that we could tell reality from falsehood because reality endures. But I feel that nothing I experience endures; nothing remains the same, including the reflection. If anything lasts, it may be my own make-believe. Everything I write is, in some way, this question. Who is that?

Sallie's book list on the existential crisis of looking in a mirror

Sallie Tisdale Why did Sallie love this book?

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. 

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…


Book cover of Man’s Search for Meaning

Michael Gervais Author Of The First Rule of Mastery: Stop Worrying about What People Think of You

From my list on illuminating the path towards mastery.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a performance psychologist, I’ve spent my career supporting high-performers on their path toward mastery. I founded Finding Mastery, a high-performance psychology consulting agency. Our primary focus is helping leaders, teams, and organizations solve the most dynamic and complex human performance challenges.

Michael's book list on illuminating the path towards mastery

Michael Gervais Why did Michael love this book?

Frankl’s concept of finding meaning in suffering and the idea that our primary drive in life is not pleasure but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful deeply resonates with me.

The book underscores the belief that even in the most difficult of circumstances, we have the freedom to choose our attitudes and responses, a concept that is central to high-performance psychology.

By Viktor Frankl,

Why should I read it?

41 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.


Book cover of Rouge

Amber A. Logan Author Of The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn

From my list on unusual manifestations of grief.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been fascinated by how personal and singular the experience of grief is. There is something soothing and relatable about reading others’ experiences—the more strange, nonsensical, or even supernatural the better. My own novel, The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn, is a retelling of The Secret Garden, but with an adult protagonist moving through grief over the death of her complicated mother, striving to see a bright ray of hope on the other side. Each of the books on my list about unusual manifestations of grief tackles this same concept in new and surprising ways, and I hope they touch you as they have touched me.  

Amber's book list on unusual manifestations of grief

Amber A. Logan Why did Amber love this book?

Rouge is at its heart an exploration of a daughter’s grief for her troubled mother and the bizarre turns that grief can take.

Rouge tells the story of a young woman obsessed with cult-like beauty culture. When her mother mysteriously dies, she is forced to return home and confront the complicated relationship she had with her also beauty-obsessed mother. Fairy tale surreal and viscerally disturbing, Rouge delves into obsession, grief, and the dangers of beauty culture taken to the extreme.

Like all of Awad’s books, this is a story that will stick with me a very long time.

By Mona Awad,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the critically acclaimed author of Bunny comes a horror-tinted, gothic fairy tale about a lonely dress shop clerk whose mother's unexpected death sends her down a treacherous path in pursuit of youth and beauty.

Can she escape her mother's fate and find a connection that is more than skin deep?

A Most Anticipated Book of 2023 in The Guardian, i newspaper, The New York Times, Time, Globe and Mail, Bustle, The Millions, LitHub, TOR, Good Housekeeping, Our Culture Mag, and more!

'You think, "She's not going to go there...yes, she is.' Margaret Atwood

'The trancelike, rhapsodic language and deepening…


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

Todd Harra Author Of Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt

From my list on aspiring funeral directors or with a morbid streak.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been in the funeral profession my entire professional career, and my family has deep roots in the profession too. My great-great-great grandfather was a cabinet maker, or “tradesman undertaker” in rural Milford, Delaware prior to the Civil War. In addition to being a funeral director and embalmer, I’m a certified post-mortem reconstructionist and cremationist, and the president of the Delaware State Funeral Directors Association. I’ve written five books on the subject of the funeral profession and am an associate editor for Southern Calls, “The Journal of the Funeral Profession.”

Todd's book list on aspiring funeral directors or with a morbid streak

Todd Harra Why did Todd love this book?

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. 

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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in death, mourning, and grief?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about death, mourning, and grief.

Death Explore 341 books about death
Mourning Explore 133 books about mourning
Grief Explore 77 books about grief