The most recommended books about death

Who picked these books? Meet our 434 experts.

434 authors created a book list connected to death, and here are their favorite death books.
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What type of death book?


The Undertaking

By Thomas Lynch,

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

Todd Harra Author Of Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt

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

Who am I?

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

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…

Book cover of The Dream and the Underworld

Jenny Alexander Author Of Writing in the House of Dreams: Unlock The Power of Your Unconscious Mind

From the list on dreams for writers who want to boost creativity.

Who am I?

I came to writing after twenty years of working with dreams, so I already had lots of techniques for coming and going easily between the everyday world and the inner worlds of imagination, and I’m sure that’s why I’ve never suffered from any creative blocks or anxieties. In a career spanning 30 years, I have written about 150 books, both fiction and non-fiction, for children and adults, and scores of articles including a monthly column in Writing Magazine. I have taught creative workshops for major writing organisations such as The Society of Authors, The Arvon Foundation, and The Scattered Authors’ Society, and I offer a varied programme of courses independently throughout the year.

Jenny's book list on dreams for writers who want to boost creativity

Why did Jenny love this book?

James Hillman is the kind of writer you sometimes have to stop, think and re-read, to work your way into what he is trying to say, but it repays the effort because what he says is always interesting. This book, about fantasy and imagination, explores the idea that we are more than our personal story, more than ego and self. For me as a writer, it changed the way I see the creative process, with imagination not being something we need to spark and drive, but a space we already inhabit. Imagination is our essence; we are the dream.

By James Hillman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a deepening of the thinking begun in The Myth of Analysis and Re-Visioning Psychology, James Hillman develops the first new view of dreams since Freud and Jung.

Intimate Death

By Marie De Hennezel, Carol Brown Janeway (translator),

Book cover of Intimate Death: How the Dying Teach Us How to Live

Kirsten DeLeo Author Of Present Through the End: A Caring Companion's Guide for Accompanying the Dying

From the list on how to support a dying person.

Who am I?

I have accompanied dying people for more than twenty-five years—as a counsellor, volunteer chaplain, and companion. I feel passionate about changing the perception of dying and death, the way we care for people during their most vulnerable moments, and how we support families through this painful time. Since my twenties I have been immersed in Buddhist practise which inspires and informs my life and work. Together with other clinicians and mindfulness practitioners, we created one of the first contemplative-based training in end-of-life care for caregivers called “Authentic Presence”. Daring to be present might be the hardest thing you may have done in your life, and, you may come to discover, one of the most intimate, beautiful, and rewarding.

Kirsten's book list on how to support a dying person

Why did Kirsten love this book?

Intimate Death stands out through its spare and poetic language, its astute observation of the experiences of illness and dying, and matters of human dignity. Marie de Hennezel is a French psychologist. With great compassion and sensitivity, she shares her conversations with patients. She tells of life's unfinished business and how she learned to attend to it. Her writing is beautiful and transformative. It will touch your heart and change how you will view death.

Another book I would like to mention is Henri Nouwen’s Our Greatest Gifts: A Meditation on Dying and Caring. Nouwen is a Catholic priest and spiritual writer. Like de Hennezel, he touches the reader through his poetic and direct style.

By Marie De Hennezel, Carol Brown Janeway (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Marie de Hennezel is a psychologist who works as part of a team of doctors and nurses in a hospital for the terminally ill in Paris. The men and women who come there do not always know that they are dying. It is Marie de Hennezel's aim to bring them - and their loved ones - to this knowledge, and then to encourage them to live each day that remains as fully and serenely as possible. This work seeks to show how precious the final days of a person's life can be, and how deeply moving it is to share…

Awakening from Grief

By John E. Welshons,

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 the list on grief and loss.

Who am I?

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

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.


By Koji Suzuki, Glynne Walley (translator),

Book cover of Ring

Andi Brooks Author Of Ghostly Tales of Japan

From the list on Japanese yurei and yokai.

Who am I?

I am an Anglo-Irish writer who has lived in Japan for eighteen years. During that time, my interest in the Japanese supernatural has deepened to the point where it is now the main focus of my writing. In my free time, I enjoy traveling around Japan collecting local ghost stories and folk tales. This, along with my extensive reading of both fiction and non-fiction on the topic, has provided a rich source of inspiration for my writing. I am also a keen observer of people, daily life, and the environment in which I live, which helps me to colour and add realism to my stories. 

Andi's book list on Japanese yurei and yokai

Why did Andi love this book?

I first saw the film adaptation of Ring at a film festival in 1998 and was blown away by it. The English translation of the novel wasn’t published in the UK until 2004, but it was worth the wait. It’s difficult now that Sadako has become such a cliched and parodied character to appreciate the impact the character had. The book is much bigger in scope than the film, also providing the inspiration for the film Rasen. I slightly regretted not having read it before seeing the film so that I could have felt the impact Japanese readers must have felt. Ring was the first modern Japanese novel that I read. Reading it coincided with me getting to know Japan for real and was more of a point of reference than any guidebook. Long after I leave Japan, Ringu will remind me of the country I left behind.

By Koji Suzuki, Glynne Walley (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stunning Japanese thriller with a chilling supernatural twist. The novel that inspired the cult Japanese movie and the Hollywood blockbuster of the same name.

Asakawa is a hardworking journalist who has climbed his way up from local-news beat reporter to writer for his newspaper's weekly magazine. A chronic workaholic, he doesn't take much notice when his seventeen-year-old niece dies suddenly - until a chance conversation reveals that another healthy teenager died at exactly the same time, in chillingly similar circumstances.

Sensing a story, Asakawa begins to investigate, and soon discovers that this strange simultaneous sudden-death syndrome also affected another two…

Book cover of These Violent Delights

Lyssa Mia Smith Author Of Revelle

From the list on young adult fantasy with high-stakes romance.

Who am I?

Long before I was an author of romantic fantasies, I was an avid reader of all things romance. Genre romance. Fantasy Romance. Romantic Fantasy. Romantic suspense. An adventure where the characters smile at each other for a heartbeat longer than usual. Give me even a hint of attraction between two characters, and I’m hooked. Give me life-or-death stakes and a first kiss that takes hundreds of pages, and I’m addicted. As a psychologist, helping young adults sort through real-life romance dilemmas is one of my favorite parts of the job. Now that I get to write these stories, I’ve made it my mission to devour all the best high-stakes YA romances I can find—or write.

Lyssa's book list on young adult fantasy with high-stakes romance

Why did Lyssa love this book?

This is one of the most unique Romeo & Juliet retellings I’ve ever read. Set in 1920s Shanghai, the heir and heiress of two rival criminal families were childhood friends, once, before they realized the other’s identity. Now they despise each other—and several times, try to kill each other—while also trying very hard to ignore their growing attraction. Spanning two books and with a found family that tugs at all your heartstrings, the daggers are as shiny as the diamonds in this glittering, high-stakes tale. 

By Chloe Gong,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked These Violent Delights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A deliciously dark twist on Romeo and Juliet' Natasha Ngan, New York Times bestselling author of Girls of Paper and Fire

In glittering Shanghai, a monster awakens . . .

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery. A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city in chaos.

Juliette Cai is the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang - a network of criminals far above the law.

Roma Montagov is the prodigal son of her greatest rivals, the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. He is also Juliette's…

Self-Portrait with Boy

By Rachel Lyon,

Book cover of Self-Portrait with Boy

Phoebe Hoban Author Of Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty

From the list on genre-bending artists: inside and out.

Who am I?

I grew up in a creative family. My father was an illustrator before becoming a children’s book author and novelist. My mother, a trained dancer, became my father’s collaborator, illustrating their internationally-known Frances books. They inspired me and encouraged me to develop my own talent. I started writing at nine, and have never stopped since. I became a journalist, writing about culture and art for The New York times, New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Vogue, among others. I am also the author of three well-received artist biographies: Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art; Lucian Freud: Eyes Wide Open; and Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty.

Phoebe's book list on genre-bending artists: inside and out

Why did Phoebe love this book?

Lyon’s protagonist, Lu Rile, is a struggling, ambitious young photographer, living in a derelict Brooklyn warehouse that might soon be destroyed by real-estate developers. In order to somehow pay the rent while at the same time take care of her ill and aging father, she desperately juggles three jobs. When not at work, Lu is in the midst of creating a series of self-portraits of herself in the window of her loft, when she accidentally captures the image of a young boy, the son of her upstairs neighbors, falling to his death. (Shades of Antonioni’s famous film, Blow Up, which also features a key but inadvertent photograph.)

She recognizes at once that it is the best picture she has ever taken, but instantly understands that it poses a major moral dilemma. Should she pull every string she can to get it shown, in an effort to initiate and stamp…

By Rachel Lyon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Self-Portrait with Boy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

“Fabulously written, this spellbinding debut novel is a real page-turner. A powerful, brilliantly imagined story” (Library Journal, starred review) about an ambitious young artist whose accidental photograph of a boy falling to his death could jumpstart her career, but devastate her most intimate friendship.

Lu Rile is a relentlessly focused young photographer struggling to make ends meet. Working three jobs, responsible for her aging father, and worrying that her crumbling loft apartment is being sold to developers, she is at a point of desperation. One day, in the background of a…

Book cover of Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Erica Sage Author Of Jacked Up

From the list on devastatingly sad but make you laugh out loud.

Who am I?

I have been teaching English for 25 years, both at the high school and middle school levels. And one thing I have seen in the lives of thousands of teenagers is that our days are filled with the most beautiful, amazing things, as well as the most devastating, tragic things. My own childhood was equal parts unconditional love and chaotic dysfunction. In fact, if life were a book, it would be on this list!

Erica's book list on devastatingly sad but make you laugh out loud

Why did Erica love this book?

I love everything A.S. King. She is my absolute favorite YA author. Her books are weird and thoughtful, and they stick in my head forever. Her award-winning Please Ignore Very Dietz is no different. Vera’s (former!) best friend Charlie has died. While she’s struggling with family stuff, and drinking stuff, and working at pizza place stuff, she’s being haunted by Charlie’s ghost who insists she tells the police what she knows. The story itself is quirky, and Vera’s narration is clever. And, then, of course, there’s a twist at the end! 

By A.S. King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Please Ignore Vera Dietz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.
So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?
Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.

Something Very Sad Happened

By Bonnie Zucker, Kim Fleming (illustrator),

Book cover of Something Very Sad Happened: A Toddler's Guide to Understanding Death

Amanda Rawson Hill Author Of You'll Find Me

From the list on for guiding your child through grief.

Who am I?

In the past ten years, I have had to guide my young children through two unexpected and tragic deaths of loved ones. Both times, I was struggling with my own grief and wasn’t sure what my kids understood or didn’t. I made a lot of mistakes (as my son’s therapist can attest) but through it all, I learned a great deal about how much children notice, how deeply they feel a loss, and how to tend to our own grief and our children’s. From that pain, I wrote You’ll Find Me, and since then, have been able to use that book as a jumping-off point to discuss grief with others.

Amanda's book list on for guiding your child through grief

Why did Amanda love this book?

About 9 months after my 3-year-old son sat in the room with us as his uncle quietly passed away, he began having panic attacks about dying. When I took him to a therapist, I realized that I’d done just about everything wrong in how I handled this loss with him. The therapist gave me this book.

The text is simple and focuses on what is important to the child, including what they are seeing in the people around them. Grief is scary to experience, and when you don’t quite understand what’s happening, it’s terrifying to watch your caretakers experience it. This book helps process all of that. I recommend inserting the name of the relative that died into all the places where the text mentions “grandma.”

By Bonnie Zucker, Kim Fleming (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Something Very Sad Happened as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When a loved one dies, it can be hard to know how to explain it to a young child, particularly if you are grieving the loss yourself.

Sensitively written and gently illustrated, Something Very Sad Happened explains death in developmentally appropriate terms for two-and three-year-old childern. It reassures the child that it is okay to feel sad, and that love never dies.

Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers with more information about how to talk about death, answer your child's questions, and maintain your connection throughout the grieving process.

Ages 2-3

Preludes & Nocturnes

By Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth (illustrator), Mike Dringenberg (illustrator), Malcolm Jones, III (illustrator)

Book cover of Preludes & Nocturnes

Mark William Hammond Author Of M in the Demon Realm

From the list on heroic journies.

Who am I?

My true passion is ultimately the supernatural version of The Hero’s Journey so well described by Joseph P. Campbell in his book of the same name. I’m inspired by the world’s legends about men and women who are forced by fate and destiny to a greater purpose against powerful demons and gods. The price is their normal life. Their first enemies are their own fears. The first sacrifice is the death of the old self, as they discover who they truly are meant to be. I feel this is ultimately the challenge we all face. The world is waiting. Live your dream… just without the 20ft. demon-forged ribbon sword and rescue hellhound.

Mark's book list on heroic journies

Why did Mark love this book?

I love this graphic novel about Morpheus the God of Dreams and the other gods that inhabit humanity’s unconscious aka the Endless. He escapes from imprisonment and struggles to rebuild our dreamworld called The Dreaming. I love that Morpheus’ problems are basically the same as ours. He’s trying to find his place in a world with surprising traps and a constantly evolving understanding of what it means.

By Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth (illustrator), Mike Dringenberg (illustrator), Malcolm Jones, III (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman's transcendent series THE SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision. In PRELUDES and NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power.…


By Andrew Holleran,

Book cover of Grief

C.D. Loza Author Of Life, Everlasting

From the list on life after the sudden death of a loved one.

Who am I?

I wanted to make sense of death when my brother suddenly died. I wanted an outlet for my grief and I wanted my brother to live on in my story when he couldn’t in reality. I also want to think that there’s life beyond death. I want to believe in it so much because it’s hard to fathom someone being ripped out of your life all of a sudden. I know death. I know grief. I have faced them. I don’t understand why it had to happen, but I could imagine that there’s an extension of life beyond this realm. If I couldn’t find closure in real life, I may as well find closure in my imagination. This story is my imagination writing its own happy ending.

C.D.'s book list on life after the sudden death of a loved one

Why did C.D. love this book?

This is a short novel, a slim book that packs a lot in its pages. A fictional work about the loss of a loved one and the emptiness of one’s life. How do you fill your days? How do you go on with your life when every street, every building holds a memory of the one you lost?

This was a deeply emotional work of fiction that speaks to my own empty days after the loss. It felt as if I was walking with the main character as he went through his days trying to find purpose and meaning. It speaks to my own guilt, my own survivor’s guilt. Why am I alive when someone isn’t? How do I rediscover the colors of the world when all I see is black? What does my life, my future hold when every waking day feels like a struggle to get out of…

By Andrew Holleran,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Michael Cunningham's The Hours, a beautiful novel destined to become a classic

Reeling from the recent death of his invalid mother, a worn, jaded professor comes to our nation's capital to recuperate from his loss. What he finds there--in his repressed, lonely landlord, in the city's mood and architecture, and in the letters and journals of Mary Todd Lincoln--shows him new, poignant truths about America, yearning, loneliness, and mourning itself.

Since Andrew Holleran first burst onto the scene with 1978's groundbreaking Dancer from the Dance, which has been continuously in print, he has been dazzling readers…

Grave Mercy

By Robin LaFevers,

Book cover of Grave Mercy

Liza Street Author Of Blood Bounty

From the list on historical fantasy with a touch of romance.

Who am I?

As an author and a lifelong lover of books, I read all genres. My favorites are set in fantastical worlds with unique settings. The mash-up of history and fantasy is endlessly compelling to me, and I always want to see a romantic subplot (or main plot!) in the books I read. I want a happily-ever-after even when the strange world and its villains are conspiring against the main characters. 

Liza's book list on historical fantasy with a touch of romance

Why did Liza love this book?

Set in the mid-1400s in France, this series starter contains action, court intrigue, romance, and assassin nuns! I read it years ago and it remains a favorite, not only for the beautiful language, but for the strong heroine, Ismae, and her journey from following the rules and doing as she’s been told, to learning how to discern right from wrong and follow the guidance of her own moral compass. This is a book I would love to watch as a movie, not only for the action, but the costumes.

By Robin LaFevers,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Grave Mercy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
     Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high…

The Blue Whale

By Jenni Desmond,

Book cover of The Blue Whale

Lisa Kahn Schnell Author Of High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs

From the list on water and the amazing creatures that live there.

Who am I?

I spent long days at the beach as a kid, and sharp bits of horseshoe crab shells in my sandcastles were a frequent annoyance. As an adult, I discovered a horseshoe crab lurching its way back to the water and wondered: What's the deal with this weird animal? To find out, I read books, talked with scientists, and assisted with horseshoe crab and shorebird research. What I discovered—about horseshoe crabs, other animals, and the water they live in—was too amazing to keep to myself. I hope my book encourages kids to go out and explore wild places, too!

Lisa's book list on water and the amazing creatures that live there

Why did Lisa love this book?

Awe, beauty, and a satisfying amount of information—The Blue Whale has it all. I love the curious child we follow through the book, as well as the visual comparisons that turn astonishing facts about the world’s largest living creature into subtly humorous images that I can relate to on a more personal level. In the final pages of the book, the child—our surrogate adventurer—falls asleep and dreams, amazed by a world that contains such tremendous creatures. 

By Jenni Desmond,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A nonfiction picture book, The Blue Whale draws children into the life and world of this enormous whale by situating facts within a familiar context that is fun and engaging. Here, readers are given the actual size of an eye right on the page, and we are informed how understand this whale's body size in relation to trucks, cars, milk bottles, and hippos! With an accurate and engaging text, fully vetted by a blue whale expert, and lyrically lovely illustrations, The Blue Whale is a book that invites children in and holds their attention. Its tempo is like a pleasing…

The Body

By Stephen King,

Book cover of The Body

Robert Pettus Author Of Abry.

From the list on cultivating meaning in the face of societal absurdity.

Who am I?

Growing up in a rural area influenced by both Protestantism and Catholicism, I found that the daily habits of devoutly religious people were often contradictory to the basic practices of their religion. I also discovered that people were every day forced to adjust their beliefs and behaviors depending on which microcosm within the culture they were in at a given moment participating. People unable to play by these ever-shifting cultural rules would quickly lose respect. This scared the hell out of me, as I was never good at adjusting to different social situations on the fly, but I also found it interesting, and it therefore became the primary theme of my book. 

Robert's book list on cultivating meaning in the face of societal absurdity

Why did Robert love this book?

In my opinion, Stephen King is even better at crafting coming-of-age tales than he is at horror, and The Body might be his best.

I love how this book portrays the adventures of childhood—being chased by dogs, walking the train tracks, puffing cigarettes around a fire as the night sets in—as being totally unique and new, exciting experiences. This story, in my view, is the perfect template for any good childhood adventure story. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King’s timeless novella “The Body”—originally published in his 1982 short story collection Different Seasons, and adapted into the 1986 film classic Stand by Me—is now available as a stand-alone publication.

It’s 1960 in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. Ray Brower, a boy from a nearby town, has disappeared, and twelve-year-old Gordie Lachance and his three friends set out on a quest to find his body along the railroad tracks. During the course of their journey, Gordie, Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp, and Vern…

Suffer the Children

By John Saul,

Book cover of Suffer the Children

Jeremy Bates Author Of The Sleep Experiment

From the list on coming-of-age horror.

Who am I?

I think all horror authors have at least one coming-of-age novel inside them. I suppose I have some expertise on the topic because I recently finished my first coming-of-age novel, The Dancing Plague. I’ve written stories from the perspectives of children before. One of the challenges I found is getting the voice right. Kids think and talk differently than adults, so it can be a bit tricky finding the right balance between credibility and readability. Nobody wants to read an adult novel that sounds as though it was written by a kid. Conversely, nobody wants to read a novel that’s narrated by a twelve-year-old that sounds as though it was written by an adult.

Jeremy's book list on coming-of-age horror

Why did Jeremy love this book?

Unlike the other authors on this list who mostly write about adult characters, John Saul writes almost exclusively about children (at least he has in all the books I’ve read by him). I chose Suffer The Children for this list because it was the first book he wrote back in 1977, I believe. There are some disturbing moments in it, as there are in most horror novels, so be aware of that. However, Saul is a talented author who can effortlessly get into the heads of the kids he writes about. He’s also a master of the slow-burn, building suspense page by page until the big pay-off, so if you don’t need action every other sentence, he might be right up your alley.

By John Saul,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Innocence dies so easily. Evil lives again . . . and again . . . and again.

One hundred years ago in Port Arbello a pretty little girl began to scream. And struggle. And die. No one heard. No one saw. Just one man whose guilty heart burst in pain as he dashed himself to death in the sea.

Now something peculiar is happening in Port Arbello. The children are disappearing, one by one. An evil history is repeating itself. And one strange, terrified child has ended her silence with a scream that began a hundred years ago.

The Child

By Fiona Barton,

Book cover of The Child

Judy Penz Sheluk Author Of Skeletons in the Attic

From the list on cold case mysteries with a twist…or three.

Who am I?

In addition to being an author, I’m an avid reader, averaging about a book a week. While I enjoy a good historical fiction or NYT bestseller, my go-to is mystery and suspense, and has been since the day my mother first introduced me to Nancy Drew. I’m especially drawn to cold case mysteries, multiple POVs, and complex plots and characters, but I can dive headfirst into a fast-paced beach read with equal pleasure. As a writer by profession, I truly believe reading is the best teacher and I have learned from, and enjoyed, every one of these recommendations immensely. It’s my hope that you'll discover a new-to-you author and love the book you choose.

Judy's book list on cold case mysteries with a twist…or three

Why did Judy love this book?

As a former journalist and magazine editor, I’m all too familiar with the ongoing demise of print media, and so I found myself identifying with protagonist Kate Waters, a journalist fighting to keep her newspaper job by looking for the next big story. Kate thinks she may have found it after reading a short article in her evening newspaper: the discovery of the skeletal remains of a baby at a construction site. 

Skillfully told from multiple POVs, this is as much a book about what could have been as what may—or may not—have happened, and Barton is undeniably equal to the task.

By Fiona Barton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Widow comes a twisting novel of psychological suspense—as seen in People, Entertainment Weekly, Time, USA Today, Bustle, Good, HelloGiggles, The Boston Globe, PureWow, The Dallas Morning News, and more!  
“The Child is a perfect blend of beach read and book club selection....[A] page-turning whodunit….A novel that is both fast-paced and thought-provoking.”—USA Today
As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers human remains, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper,…

Book cover of Transcendent Kingdom

Susan H. McFadden Author Of Dementia-Friendly Communities: Why We Need Them and How We Can Create Them

From Susan's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Retired Psychology professor Dementia advocate Reader Friend

Susan's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Susan love this book?

This is a marvelous story by a young Ghanaian-American author about a family coping with living between several competing cultures: Life in Ghana, in the American South, and in the high-pressure world of academia and neuroscientific research conducted at Stanford.

I loved the way she wove religious themes through the book, as well as her loving portrayal of the tragic outcomes of family members dealing with untreated mental illness and drug abuse.

I was very impressed with the accuracy of her descriptions of the neuroscientific research conducted by Gifty and her colleagues at Stanford.

By Yaa Gyasi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


**From the bestselling author of Homegoing**


As a child Gifty would ask her parents to tell the story of their journey from Ghana to Alabama, seeking escape in myths of heroism and romance. When her father and brother succumb to the hard reality of immigrant life in the American South, their family of four becomes two - and the life Gifty dreamed of slips away.

Years later, desperate to understand the opioid addiction that destroyed her brother's life, she turns to science for answers.…

Going Home

By Jon Katz,

Book cover of Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die

Wendy Wahman Author Of Don't Lick the Dog: Making Friends with Dogs

From the list on dog books to tug on your heartstrings.

Who am I?

I’m passionate about animals. When I was starting out in my 20s, I worked as a vet tech and a dog trainer and fully intended to make a career in animals. But along the way my other love, art, joined the dance. It’s only natural I’ve found ways to combine my two loves, like, illustrating a veterinarian's advice column for Family Dog magazine, and writing, Don’t Lick the Dog, and Nanny Paws, both inspired by my own beloved dogs.

Wendy's book list on dog books to tug on your heartstrings

Why did Wendy love this book?

I love and grieve hard. Sometimes debilitatingly so. When I lost my first cat, Olif, I couldn’t go in my studio for a year. Without my best boy in there with me, just crossing the threshold triggered a kind of PTSD, and I’d buckle under the grief. I finally saw a therapist and got the help I needed to move forward.

Books can help us with our grief too, and Going Home is one that’s helped me. Glancing through it now, I see I’ve opened straight to the chapter, “Guilt.” Yea, that one’s insidious, isn’t it. Katz covers them all: All the thoughts that needle and jab, all the emotions that drown, then drain us. Maybe, Going Home will help you too. Hold it on your lap where your beloved once was. And I will too.

By Jon Katz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this invaluable guide and touchstone, New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz addresses the difficult but necessary topic of saying goodbye to a beloved pet. Drawing on personal experiences, stories from fellow pet owners, and philosophical reflections, Katz provides support for those in mourning. By allowing ourselves to grieve honestly and openly, he posits, we can in time celebrate the dogs, cats, and other creatures that have so enriched us. Katz compels us to consider if we gave our pets good lives, if we were their advocates in times of need, and if we used our best judgments in…

The Drifter

By Nick Petrie,

Book cover of The Drifter

Cam Torrens Author Of Stable: Someone is Taking Them...

From the list on suspense about veterans solving problems as civilians.

Who am I?

When I retired from the service, I wanted to be done with big decisions and just focus on family. I’d had enough war-zone drama. I’m drawn to stories where the veteran finds he/she just can’t do that. My protagonist in my debut, Stable deals with this. He’s overcome so much…the loss of his son, the loss of an aircrew, and years of depression. Now that he’s “back,” he just wants to lead a normal life. I wanted to show you can pull the veteran from the battlefield, but it’s hard to quell his or her desire to continue to serve—and the inherent conflict of service before self or family remains.

Cam's book list on suspense about veterans solving problems as civilians

Why did Cam love this book?

I highly recommend Nick Petrie's The Drifter and his follow-on books in the series.

The protagonist, Peter Ash, struggles with the debilitating effects of PTSD. Despite his desire to escape from society, he finds himself drawn back into it after the suicide of a fellow Marine. As he helps the man's widow with home repairs, Ash stumbles upon a shocking discovery that thrusts him back into a society filled with deceit and intrigue.

What makes this novel stand out is Petrie's sensitive and deep portrayal of Ash's struggle with PTSD. Ash's experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have left him haunted by memories and struggling to adjust to civilian life. His white static, which he describes as a buzzing claustrophobia, is a constant reminder of the trauma he's endured.

But, as the reader will discover, Ash is a remarkably resilient character who is determined to do what's right—regardless of his personal…

By Nick Petrie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first explosive thriller featuring Peter Ash, a veteran who finds that the demons of war aren’t easily left behind...

“Lots of characters get compared to my own Jack Reacher, but Petrie’s Peter Ash is the real deal.”—Lee Child

Peter Ash came home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with only one souvenir: what he calls his “white static,” the buzzing claustrophobia due to post-traumatic stress that has driven him to spend a year roaming in nature, sleeping under the stars.

But when a friend from the Marines commits suicide, Ash returns to civilization to help the man’s widow…

Reimagining Death

By Lucinda Herring,

Book cover of Reimagining Death: Stories and Practical Wisdom for Home Funerals and Green Burials

Mallory McDuff Author Of Our Last Best Act: Planning for the End of Our Lives to Protect the People and Places We Love

From the list on change your relationship with death and heal Earth.

Who am I?

I teach environmental education at Warren Wilson College outside Asheville, North Carolina, where I’ve raised my two daughters in a 900-square-foot campus rental with an expansive view of the Appalachian mountains. My students work in jobs ranging from managing the herd of cattle to growing vegetables for the cafeteria. After the sudden deaths of my parents, I decided to take this one-year journey to revise my final wishes with climate change and community in mind as a legacy to my children and my students. I’ve written five books, including the forthcoming Love Your Mother: 50 states, 50 stories, & 50 women united for climate justice (April 2023). 

Mallory's book list on change your relationship with death and heal Earth

Why did Mallory love this book?

I was drawn to this book for its focus on stories about death care practices that empower family and friends to connect with the land and each other while honoring the dead. The author is a licensed funeral director who helped me understand what to do when someone dies and you want to care for the body at home, rather than at a funeral home. At first, my teenager wasn’t thrilled about the idea of a home funeral (“I’ll pay for a Motel Six!” she said), but these stories helped me reassure her that I could provide support to people to handle logistics and prepare a plan in advance. 

By Lucinda Herring,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Honor your loved ones and the earth by choosing practical, spiritual, and eco-friendly after-death care

Natural, legal, and innovative after-death care options are transforming the paradigm of the existing funeral industry, helping families and communities recover their instinctive capacity to care for a loved one after death and do so in creative and healing ways. Reimagining Death offers stories and guidance for home funeral vigils, advance after-death care directives, green burials, and conscious dying. When we bring art and beauty, meaningful ritual, and joy to ease our loss and sorrow, we are greening the gateway of death and returning home…