64 books like Leaning Into Love

By Elaine Mansfield,

Here are 64 books that Leaning Into Love fans have personally recommended if you like Leaning Into Love. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Journey's End: Part 1 Heartfelt Stories of Death and Dying

Julie Saeger Nierenberg Author Of Daddy, This Is It: Being-with My Dying Dad

From my list on death and dying, grief, and loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since 2012, when I was fortunate to be a companion to my dying father, I have gained a deep appreciation for the topics of death, dying, grief and bereavement. Being with him during his final moments was a vitally transformative event in my life, and subsequent developments led me to become a writer and curator of content in this field. I am now an end-of-life educator and preparedness facilitator, whose role it is to assist others to prepare for their inevitable, eventual death. Being prepared, by making informed choices and documenting them, can be one of the greatest gifts we give to our loved ones. I coach my End-of-Life Matters clients to do just that.

Julie's book list on death and dying, grief, and loss

Julie Saeger Nierenberg Why did Julie love this book?

This book is an anthology of over 50 perspectives on death and dying, grief, and bereavement shared by professionals who work in supporting the dying and bereaved and by those who have lived their own unique experiences of loss. It is a comprehensive cross-section of this topic and one which can be a valuable resource to anyone going through their own such experience or those who are preparing to support others in grief.

By Victoria Brewster, Julie Saeger Nierenberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Journey's End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Journey's End, many and varied collaborators write about death, dying, and the end of life. We attempt to describe real life issues and circumstances, and we discuss ways to proactively deal with them. Useful training, resource, and reference material is also included.

Death, dying, and end of life are topics many prefer to avoid. This book suggests that we benefit from having frank discussions, living life to the fullest, and planning for our own journey's end, whenever that may be. Everyone who is born eventually will die, whether or not we want to embrace that fact.

****

Though few…


Book cover of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Sam Carr Author Of All the Lonely People: Conversations on Loneliness

From my list on the psychological challenges of being human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I guess we all have a "calling." Mine has always been to explore the deeper, darker, less palatable aspects of being human. I’m a bit like a space explorer of the human psyche. I’m lucky in the sense that my day job permits me to research, teach, and better understand things like love, death, and loneliness. I’ve been researching and writing about them for many years now. I always treasure books that help me to shed light on these themes. They are like shiny pebbles or jewels that I pick up and keep in my pocket. I hope you enjoy and learn from some of the treasures in my personal collection!  

Sam's book list on the psychological challenges of being human

Sam Carr Why did Sam love this book?

This book invited me to think about how we age and meet death in contemporary Western societies.

I have seen people close to me die. I watched as my grandma, then my grandpa, and then my father passed away. They each, in different ways, faced the brutal realities of growing old and they encountered a healthcare system that ultimately medicalized their death and the aging process–striving to ‘eek out’ more time, as though that was the only honorable thing to do.

Atul Gawande’s book really taught me to reflect critically on that.

By Atul Gawande,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Being Mortal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

'GAWANDE'S MOST POWERFUL, AND MOVING, BOOK' MALCOLM GLADWELL

'BEING MORTAL IS NOT ONLY WISE AND DEEPLY MOVING; IT IS AN ESSENTIAL AND INSIGHTFUL BOOK FOR OUR TIMES' OLIVER SACKS

For most of human history, death was a common, ever-present possibility. It didn't matter whether you were five or fifty - every day was a roll of the dice. But now, as medical advances push the boundaries of survival further each year, we have become increasingly detached from the reality of being mortal. So here is a book about the modern experience of mortality - about what it's…


Book cover of With the End in Mind: Dying, Death, and Wisdom in an Age of Denial

Nancy Peach Author Of Love Life

From my list on on death and dying (without being terminally depressing).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a doctor working in the NHS and for a national cancer charity. I’m particularly interested in the care of the terminally ill. I‘ve worked closely with hospice teams, feeling enormously privileged to be with patients considering their options at the end of life. I’ve noticed how often people die without having even mentioned their wishes to loved ones, they are reluctant to speak of their fears, and as a result, these discussions never occur. I believe we need to open up the conversation about dying by bringing it into the public domain, dragging it into popular culture, and making it a feature of our films, television, and books.

Nancy's book list on on death and dying (without being terminally depressing)

Nancy Peach Why did Nancy love this book?

Mannix is a retired Palliative Care Consultant, and this wonderful book takes case studies from her long career and presents them as vignettes designed to reassure a readership who may be anxious about the process of dying. She relates each story with candour and humility, acknowledging how much she has learnt from her patients and their families whilst glossing over the enormous impact that she has evidently had on their care.

This is an incredibly useful book for those working with people at the end of life, but it is also a really lovely read for anyone fearful of death, anyone who has felt the impact of a family bereavement, and anyone who will one day face death themselves, i.e., every single one of us. 

By Kathryn Mannix,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked With the End in Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'Impossible to read with dry eyes or an unaltered mindset' Sunday Times

'Illuminating and beautiful' Cathy Rentzenbrink

What if everything you thought you knew about death was wrong?

How should we prepare for the facts of dying and saying our goodbyes?

And what if understanding death improved your life?

By turns touching and tragic, funny and wise, With the End in Mind brings together Kathryn Mannix ' s lifetime of medical experience to tell powerful stories of life and death.


Book cover of Gifted By Grief: A True Story of Cancer, Loss and Rebirth

Julie Saeger Nierenberg Author Of Daddy, This Is It: Being-with My Dying Dad

From my list on death and dying, grief, and loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since 2012, when I was fortunate to be a companion to my dying father, I have gained a deep appreciation for the topics of death, dying, grief and bereavement. Being with him during his final moments was a vitally transformative event in my life, and subsequent developments led me to become a writer and curator of content in this field. I am now an end-of-life educator and preparedness facilitator, whose role it is to assist others to prepare for their inevitable, eventual death. Being prepared, by making informed choices and documenting them, can be one of the greatest gifts we give to our loved ones. I coach my End-of-Life Matters clients to do just that.

Julie's book list on death and dying, grief, and loss

Julie Saeger Nierenberg Why did Julie love this book?

Rogers has an unexpected message to share. It’s possible to be grateful amidst a loved one’s death. In her case, it was the loss of her husband, and the story is told through blog posts he composed during his final year of life along with her own journal entries. By seeing her way through her own depths of grief, Rogers points the way for readers to seek and find their own gifts embedded in the grief of loss.

By Jane Duncan Rogers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Is it really possible to be grateful for your husband’s death? This is the message that ultimately comes over in Jane Duncan Rogers’ book Gifted By Grief: A True Story of Cancer, Loss and Rebirth. Told through the medium of blog posts by her husband in his last year, her own journal entries, and a heartfelt, poignant and riveting narrative, Jane invites the reader into her grief-stricken world. Where this might be harrowing, it is found to be ironic; where there might be pointlessness and despair, gifts are found, inspiring the reader find the gifts in their own life situation.


Book cover of The Last List of Mabel Beaumont

Julia Jarman Author Of The Widows' Wine Club

From my list on improbable friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like the widows in The Widows’ Wine Club, I’m getting on. Unlike them, I’ve been a writer for forty years, often hunched over a keyboard, ignoring people. Amazingly, though, I managed to have a happy marriage and make some great friends. Phew! Because I’ve needed friends, especially since my husband died. Looking back, I’m interested to see that I didn’t instantly take to some of my closest buddies. Circumstances threw us together, and we got to know and like and love each other. I explore this in my book. 

Julia's book list on improbable friendships

Julia Jarman Why did Julia love this book?

I took a while to warm to Mabel Beaumont. She’s grumpy and wasn’t a loving partner to her late husband, Arthur, a caring attentive man.

When he dies, she’s bereft and feels bound to carry out his last wish, written cryptically in his last list, "Find D." Mabel thinks she knows what it means. She must track down her former best friend Dot, who she hasn’t seen since she suddenly left more than sixty years ago. But how?

Fortunately, savvy helpers turn up, thoughtfully arranged by Arthur before he died, and they all become unlikely friends. Did Arthur know her better than she knew herself? Did he love her more than she loved herself or him? Well-drawn characters make this an intriguing, uplifting story. It’s never too late!   

By Laura Pearson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLERThe list he left had just one item on it. Or, at least, it did at first...

Mabel Beaumont's husband Arthur loved lists. He'd leave them for her everywhere. 'Remember: eggs, butter, sugar'. 'I love you: today, tomorrow, always'.

But now Arthur is gone. He died: softly, gently, not making a fuss. But he's still left her a list. This one has just one item on it though: 'Find D'.

Mabel feels sure she knows what it means. She must track down her best friend Dot, who she hasn't seen since the fateful day she left more…


Book cover of Afterword

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?

While the “manifestation of grief” may be less literal in Afterword, I would argue that the manifestation is no less profound.

Afterword tells the story of a woman who channels her grief by recreating her dead lover as an AI program. Schuyler’s gorgeous writing provides deep insights into love and loss and regret while touching on important contemporary ideas of online privacy and the gray morality of AI technology.   

By Nina Schuyler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A pioneer of artificial intelligence rebuilds the love of her life, but when she discovers he's been feeding incriminating civilian information to the Chinese government, she'll have to decide whether to keep or kill him.

When approached by a Chinese tech company, Virginia Samson is moved to give them her beloved's algorithm so they can create an AI companion for the aging population. Soon her digital lost love starts spying on Chinese citizens, funneling the information to the Chinese government. When Virginia frantically tries to rebuild him, she uncovers his terrible secret, forcing her to relive their beautiful and tragic…


Book cover of Widowed. Rants, Raves and Randoms

Rachel Blythe Kodanaz Author Of Finding Peace, One Piece at a Time: What to Do with Your and a Loved One's Personal Possessions

From my list on embracing life’s challenges.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rachel is a heart-minded professional specializing in current and relevant approaches in support of individuals and workplaces following a loss or trauma. She is a best-selling author, seasoned keynote speaker, and business consultant. She began her career serving in management of Fortune 500 companies, overcoming her own adversity following the sudden death of her husband while raising a 2-year-old. She was immediately confronted with the see-saw created when personal and professional trajectories collide, giving her the opportunity to provide invaluable insights about loss. Her books include best-selling Living with Loss One Day at a Time, Finding Peace, and Grief in the Workplace: A Comprehensive Guide for Being Prepared.

Rachel's book list on embracing life’s challenges

Rachel Blythe Kodanaz Why did Rachel love this book?

Widowed. Rants, Raves and Randoms is a great read for widows and widowers, but really anyone that had a loss or knows of someone that has. It's excellently written, easy to read, and thoroughly engaging but mostly will make your heart smile. A beautifully told, heartbreaking love story, but mostly it will leave you with optimism and lingering warmth. It gives one hope that brighter days are ahead and love survives, even in death.

By John Polo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Widowed. Rants, Raves and Randoms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Join Hope & Empowerment Coach, author and speaker, John Polo, as he takes you on a journey into the mind of a young widower in this unique and eclectic book. You will laugh. You will cry. You will question why. “This is the best grief book I have read. Ever.” – Phyllis “You sir have found your calling. OMG! You have no idea what your book has just done for me.” – Jennifer “This book made me cry so hard, and then laugh even harder. Have Kleenex ready and go pee before you start. Because you won’t want to put…


Book cover of The Blind Assassin

Jen Fawkes Author Of Daughters of Chaos

From my list on speculative novels that fictionalize history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I will die on this hill: a knowledge of human history is essential. If we refuse to examine our past, we are truly doomed to repeat it. What we call “history,” however, is told from only one viewpoint: that of the victor, or whatever party lived to record the tale. Since childhood, I’ve been intrigued by the lives of our forebears even as I longed for proof of the uncanny in the waking world. But I’ve only ever encountered the fantastical—not to mention the historical—in texts like those on this list, where the two can commingle, enriching and refining one another for the enlightenment, and the pleasure, of their readers.

Jen's book list on speculative novels that fictionalize history

Jen Fawkes Why did Jen love this book?

The frame-tale—also known as a “story within a story”—is one of my favorite fictional devices, and Margaret Atwood’s deft handling of three separate storylines makes this book a truly astonishing read.

Though her characters are fictional, their story is set against a backdrop of major Canadian historical events of the 1930s and 1940s. The exterior tale carries Iris Chase, an unhappily married upper-class woman, from childhood to death, while the real author of the interior story—a novel about a pair of illicit lovers that contains an embedded science fiction tale (the eponymous Blind Assassin)—is one of the story’s biggest mysteries.

This novel is ambitious, engaging, and wholly surprising. 

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Blind Assassin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Man Booker Prize

By the author of The Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace

Laura Chase's older sister Iris, married at eighteen to a politically prominent industrialist but now poor and eighty-two, is living in Port Ticonderoga, a town dominated by their once-prosperous family before the First War. While coping with her unreliable body, Iris reflects on her far from exemplary life, in particular the events surrounding her sister's tragic death. Chief among these was the publication of The Blind Assassin, a novel which earned the dead Laura Chase not only notoriety but also a devoted cult following.…


Book cover of Lisey's Story

Susannah Marren Author Of Maribelle's Shadow

From my list on sisters, devout or detached.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an author of fiction and nonfiction books, focusing on how women are positioned in society. Under my real name, Susan Shapiro Barash, I have written thirteen nonfiction titles. As a fiction writer, I've published four novels, written under my pen name, Susannah Marren. For more than twenty years I taught in the Writing Department at Marymount Manhattan College and have guest taught creative nonfiction at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. I served as a literary panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts, as a judge for the International Emmys, and as Vice Chair of the Mentoring Committee of the Women’s Leadership Board at the JFK School of Government, Harvard.

Susan's book list on sisters, devout or detached

Susannah Marren Why did Susan love this book?

Lisey Landon, the widow of a well-known author, struggles to know who her husband really was.

In real time, which is one of two storylines, Lisey’s sister, Amanda comes to visit and they search magazines and books to find where Lisey is written up. Amanda is troubled, becomes catatonic and Lisey has to care for her. The other storyline is about Scott Landon, his rough past and how he hovers over Lisey’s life, although he is deceased.

What is striking about this novel is the writing and Lisey’s journey. The reader is drawn in at once. When Lisey is able to enter another world called Boo’ya, as her husband did, she is able to save her sister. And by the end of the novel, Lisey herself is set free of her demons. This novel has stayed with me for years.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lisey's Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Soon to be an Apple TV+ limited series starring Julianne Moore and Clive Owen*

Every marriage has two hearts, one light and one dark.

Lisey knew it when she first fell for Scott. And now he's dead, she knows it for sure.

Lisey was the light to Scott Landon's dark for twenty-five years. As his wife, only she saw the truth behind the public face of the famous author - that he was a haunted man whose bestselling novels were based on a terrifying reality.

Now Scott has gone, Lisey wants to lock herself away with her memories. But the…


Book cover of The Smallest Lights in the Universe: A Memoir

Bonnie J. Buratti Author Of Worlds Fantastic, Worlds Familiar: A Guided Tour of the Solar System

From my list on the planets and life outside the Earth.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child I was fascinated by space, planets, and the stars. Now I am a planetary scientist who has been involved with NASA’s interplanetary missions for four decades. I am curious, passionate about space exploration and discovery, and have been in leadership roles on some of these missions. I am also passionate about communicating these discoveries to the public. Learn about the planets from an expert, an insider who was there in the thick of the action during key times and who wants to communicate this excitement to you.

Bonnie's book list on the planets and life outside the Earth

Bonnie J. Buratti Why did Bonnie love this book?

There can be no question greater than “Is there life outside the Earth?”. Sara Seager places her own search for planets outside the Earth - almost 5000 planets in other solar systems have been discovered in the past three decades, including Earth-like bodies - against her own life story and struggles as a scientist weathering the unexpected loss of a spouse and the raising of her two young sons. Astronomers estimate there are billions of undiscovered planets just in our Galaxy. Seager paints our very own Earth as a bright point of community and connection in the vastness of space as she gives a first-person account of the technical challenges of seeking other planets and life elsewhere.

By Sara Seager,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Smallest Lights in the Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology in 2020

'A stunningly original memoir ... her most human tale of love, loss and redemption is illuminated and given meaning by this backdrop. A beautiful and compelling read' Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

In The Smallest Lights in the Universe, MIT astrophysicist Sara Seager interweaves the story of her search for meaning and solace after losing her first husband to cancer, her unflagging search for an Earth-like exoplanet and her unexpected discovery of new love.

Sara Seager has made it her life's work to peer…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in widows, death, and mourning?

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