100 books like On Death & Dying

By Elisabeth Kübler-Ross,

Here are 100 books that On Death & Dying fans have personally recommended if you like On Death & Dying. 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 Song of Solomon

Hari Ziyad Author Of Black Boy Out of Time

From my list on loss and grief from a certified death doula.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist, author and screenwriter, my work has always pondered loss and grief. I think this has something to do with the fact that of my mother’s religion; she was a convert to Hinduism and started conversations about the inevitability of death and how the soul and the body aren’t the same when us children were at a very young age. It probably also has something to do with the constant presence of death within my family and communities as a Black and queer person in a violently anti-Black and queerantagonistic world. I currently volunteer at a hospice, and provide community-building programming to death workers from diverse communities.

Hari's book list on loss and grief from a certified death doula

Hari Ziyad Why did Hari love this book?

This list could be full of Toni Morrison novels and be no worse for it.

I’d argue that the late writer is the finest we’ve ever had on the topics of grief, loss, and ancestry—especially from the Black American perspective. One of my favorite examples is Song of Solomon, a mesmerizing journey through what it takes to craft an identity in the midst of racism and the ruptures it creates in our lives.

Morrison's singular prose is pure magic as it weaves a tale of the enduring power of love. A literary masterpiece.

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Song of Solomon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Song of Solomon...profoundly changed my life' Marlon James

Macon 'Milkman' Dead was born shortly after a neighbourhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly.

In 1930s America Macon learns about the tyranny of white society from his friend Guitar, though he is more concerned with escaping the familial tyranny of his own father. So while Guitar joins a terrorist group Macon goes home to the South, lured by tales of buried family treasure. But his odyssey back home and a deadly confrontation…


Book cover of The Courage to Grieve: The Classic Guide to Creative Living, Recovery, and Growth Through Grief

Allen Klein Author Of Embracing Life After Loss: A Gentle Guide for Growing Through Grief

From my list on grief and loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

Allen Klein is a former hospice volunteer and the former director of The Life-Death Transitions Institute in San Francisco. He has also spoken at over 100 hospice events around the world. In addition, several of his books have dealt with death, dying, and grief. Among them are, The Healing Power of Humor, The Courage to Laugh, and Embracing Life after Loss. Klein’s interest in the connection between humor and death and dying came out of the death of his wife, who had a wonderful sense of humor. He saw how humor helped her, and those around her, cope with this challenging circumstance.

Allen's book list on grief and loss

Allen Klein Why did Allen love this book?

Experiencing a loss may feel overwhelming. That is why you need to read this comforting book; it can ease that feeling. Written by a Gestalt therapist, this book feels like the author is in the room with you helping you deal with your sorrow, guilt, loneliness, resentment, confusion, and encouraging you to take part in life again after your loss.

By Judy Tatelbaum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Profound loss and disappointment are emotions that each of us will experience at some point in our lives. Loss is one of the most difficult experiences to come to terms with. The Courage to Grieve explores how we can deal with every kind of grief, revealing:

- How grief manifests itself in many ways, ranging from anguish, exhaustion, emptiness, resentment, longing, tension, confusion, sleeplessness and sometimes the temporary loss of the will to live.
- How we can help ourselves and others to cope with the immediate experience of death and the grief and mourning period that follows.
- How…


Book cover of Who Dies? An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying

Ashley Davis Bush Author Of Transcending Loss: Understanding the Lifelong Impact of Grief and How to Make It Meaningful

From my list on a higher, broader perspective on loss and grief.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been working with grieving individuals for over 30 years. Early in my career, I realized that my purpose in life was to help people who were grieving the loss of a loved one. I wrote my first book about grief over 25 years ago. It has been my mission to help people find light in the darkness. One way to do this is to have a broader perspective, to realize that there is more going on than we can see or understand. When you have a higher, broader perspective on your grief, you’re able to make meaning out of loss and find beauty in the brokenness.  

Ashley's book list on a higher, broader perspective on loss and grief

Ashley Davis Bush Why did Ashley love this book?

I read this book again and again when I want to remember that death is not something to be terrified of. In fact, when I read this book, death feels more like a natural process that can be welcomed. I feel a kind of calmness towards the whole human race as we all seek to live, knowing that we will eventually die. To truly understand death, you also have to understand life.

By Stephen Levine, Ondrea Levine,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Who Dies? An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book that explains how to open to the immensity of living with death—and how participating fully in life is the perfect preparation for whatever may come next.

In Who Dies?, the Levines provide calm compassion rather than the frightening melodrama of death.


Book cover of Living When a Loved One Has Died

Allen Klein Author Of Embracing Life After Loss: A Gentle Guide for Growing Through Grief

From my list on grief and loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

Allen Klein is a former hospice volunteer and the former director of The Life-Death Transitions Institute in San Francisco. He has also spoken at over 100 hospice events around the world. In addition, several of his books have dealt with death, dying, and grief. Among them are, The Healing Power of Humor, The Courage to Laugh, and Embracing Life after Loss. Klein’s interest in the connection between humor and death and dying came out of the death of his wife, who had a wonderful sense of humor. He saw how humor helped her, and those around her, cope with this challenging circumstance.

Allen's book list on grief and loss

Allen Klein Why did Allen love this book?

This book explores what to expect during your mourning, what pitfalls to avoid, and how to work through feelings of loss. A well-written guide to ease suffering while moving through the many facets of grief.

By Earl A. Grollman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living When a Loved One Has Died as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Grief is a universal emotion, the pain of loss will affect all of us at some stage of our lives, but grief is also the most personal of emotions, you feel as though the pain will last forever and has never been felt by anyone else in this way.

This is a book that will support you, allow you to grieve in your own time and your own way while reassuring you of the normality of the process. Grief is something that people do not get over but are changed by for the rest of their lives.

Death only ends…


Book cover of Awakening from Grief: Finding the Way Back to Joy

Allen Klein Author Of Embracing Life After Loss: A Gentle Guide for Growing Through Grief

From my list on grief and loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

Allen Klein is a former hospice volunteer and the former director of The Life-Death Transitions Institute in San Francisco. He has also spoken at over 100 hospice events around the world. In addition, several of his books have dealt with death, dying, and grief. Among them are, The Healing Power of Humor, The Courage to Laugh, and Embracing Life after Loss. Klein’s interest in the connection between humor and death and dying came out of the death of his wife, who had a wonderful sense of humor. He saw how humor helped her, and those around her, cope with this challenging circumstance.

Allen's book list on grief and loss

Allen Klein Why did Allen love this book?

This meditation teacher shows those who have experienced a loss new ways to embrace the pain so that they can feel joy again. Written for all types of loss, Welshons shows readers how grief can provide a unique opportunity to live a fuller and richer life in spite of our losses.

By John E. Welshons,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this remarkable book, Welshons weaves together his own personal awakening with those of others he's counseled to bestow a deeply felt and exquisitely expressed primer on dealing with grief. We learn new ways to embrace our pain so that our hearts can open to feel joy. We discover how grieving gives us the unique opportunity to develop deeper and fuller life experiences. Written for people who have experienced any type of loss—whether through death, divorce, or disappointment—this compelling and memorable guide will take its place among the insightful works of grief management.


Book cover of The Color Purple

Hari Ziyad Author Of Black Boy Out of Time

From my list on loss and grief from a certified death doula.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist, author and screenwriter, my work has always pondered loss and grief. I think this has something to do with the fact that of my mother’s religion; she was a convert to Hinduism and started conversations about the inevitability of death and how the soul and the body aren’t the same when us children were at a very young age. It probably also has something to do with the constant presence of death within my family and communities as a Black and queer person in a violently anti-Black and queerantagonistic world. I currently volunteer at a hospice, and provide community-building programming to death workers from diverse communities.

Hari's book list on loss and grief from a certified death doula

Hari Ziyad Why did Hari love this book?

This novel is a soul-stirring journey of resilience and self-discovery.

Reminding us that loss of connection to a loved one shares many of the same aspects as death, The Color Purple is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, particularly in the face of adversity. Along the way, you’ll come to a deeper understanding of gendered violence, the healing power of sisterhood and the enduring nature of love.

By Alice Walker,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Color Purple as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Alice Walker's iconic modern classic is now a Penguin Book.

A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug…


Book cover of My Government Means to Kill Me

Hari Ziyad Author Of Black Boy Out of Time

From my list on loss and grief from a certified death doula.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist, author and screenwriter, my work has always pondered loss and grief. I think this has something to do with the fact that of my mother’s religion; she was a convert to Hinduism and started conversations about the inevitability of death and how the soul and the body aren’t the same when us children were at a very young age. It probably also has something to do with the constant presence of death within my family and communities as a Black and queer person in a violently anti-Black and queerantagonistic world. I currently volunteer at a hospice, and provide community-building programming to death workers from diverse communities.

Hari's book list on loss and grief from a certified death doula

Hari Ziyad Why did Hari love this book?

Rasheed Newson's powerful debut is an eye-opening exploration of historical injustice and the resilience Black and queer people in particular have cultivated to overcome it.

The protagonist, Trey, comes into his political awakening through his work volunteering at an AIDS hospice, with many parallels to my own journey. Though this book is set in the past, it offers profound insights into the systemic issues that persist today.

By Rasheed Newson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked My Government Means to Kill Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK · A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITOR'S CHOICE

The debut novel from television WRITER/PRODUCER OF THE CHI, NARCOS, and BEL-AIR tells a fierce and riveting queer coming-of-age story following the personal and political awakening of a young, gay, Black man in 1980s New York City.

"Consistently engrossing." —New York Times Book Review

“Full of joy and righteous anger, sex and straight talk, brilliant storytelling and humor... A spectacularly researched Dickensian tale with vibrant characters and dozens of famous cameos, it is precisely the book we’ve needed for a long time.” —Andrew Sean Greer,…


Book cover of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death

Lisa Currie Author Of Guidebook to the Unknown: A Journal for Anxious Minds

From my list on journeying into the unknown.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Australian author and artist who is quite cautious and introverted by nature, but very curious and playful at heart. I make books that help people untangle what’s on their mind today and shift their thinking in creative ways, often using visual metaphors. My latest book, Guidebook to the Unknown, was created during the long lockdowns we had in Melbourne (and all over the world of course) during the pandemic. It was my way of exploring how to calm an anxious mind and find meaning in my daily life, right here and now, without knowing what tomorrow will bring.

Lisa's book list on journeying into the unknown

Lisa Currie Why did Lisa love this book?

This fascinating and charming book was written by a French magazine editor after he suffered a massive stroke and was locked inside his own body, unable to speak or move. Incredibly, he wrote this book in his mind throughout the day and then each letter was slowly transcribed by blinking his eyes. I kept thinking about this book long after I read it. It’s a nightmare scenario, but he leads us all the way through it. We’re with him as he survives and even finds meaning when almost everything else is lost.

By Jean-Dominique Bauby, Jeremy Leggatt (translator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Diving Bell and the Butterfly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whilst suffering from a condition whereby he was unable to speak and his only movement was the blinking of an eyelid, Jean-Dominique Bauby devised a code for each letter of the alphabet and dictated this book about his experiences and feelings. He died just after it was published.


Book cover of Slow Dance: A Story of Stroke, Love and Disability

Shawn Jennings Author Of Locked In Locked Out: Surviving a Brainstem Stroke

From my list on accepting and moving on from a tragedy.

Why am I passionate about this?

The five recommended nonfiction books on my list profoundly affected my life in my time of need. I struggled when a minor accident led to a brainstem stroke and being locked in at 45. How would I find happiness now? How can I go on? These five books gave me the strength to work hard, accept what couldn’t be improved, and be grateful for each day of good health. I hope the recommended books will help you prepare for the day your life will change...and it will.

Shawn's book list on accepting and moving on from a tragedy

Shawn Jennings Why did Shawn love this book?

This memoir touched on all the feelings and struggles young stroke survivors experience and how love made the journey endurable. I related to much of her story, but I was more thankful than her. She writes about the inaccessibility of structures, and the ignorance society has about the disabled. All of this is true, but I was so grateful to be alive and free from being locked in; inaccessibility issues had no place in my memoir.

By Bonnie S. Klein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A story of stroke, love and disability.

From the Hardcover edition.


Book cover of Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell

Shawn Jennings Author Of Locked In Locked Out: Surviving a Brainstem Stroke

From my list on accepting and moving on from a tragedy.

Why am I passionate about this?

The five recommended nonfiction books on my list profoundly affected my life in my time of need. I struggled when a minor accident led to a brainstem stroke and being locked in at 45. How would I find happiness now? How can I go on? These five books gave me the strength to work hard, accept what couldn’t be improved, and be grateful for each day of good health. I hope the recommended books will help you prepare for the day your life will change...and it will.

Shawn's book list on accepting and moving on from a tragedy

Shawn Jennings Why did Shawn love this book?

Spong is an Episcopalian bishop who has no qualms questioning the fundamental aspects of religion. He uses familiar, non-scholarly language anyone can understand. I had spiritual experiences in my journey from being a healthy 45-year-old to a locked-in to a finally quadriplegic person. I couldn’t embrace all the tenets of religion, yet how could I explain what I experienced? Spong helped me be comfortable with my spirituality.

By John Shelby Spong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Drawing on a lifetime of wisdom, New York Times bestselling author and controversial religious leader John Shelby Spong continues to challenge traditional Christian theology in Eternal Life: A New Vision. In this remarkable spiritual autobiography about his lifelong struggle with the questions of God and death, he reveals how he ultimately came to believe in eternal life.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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