The best books about suicide 📚

Browse the best books on sucide as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism

Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism

By Anne Case, Angus Deaton

Why this book?

Case and Deaton, Princeton economists (married to each other), explain how economic developments in recent decades, such as the rise of trade and the weakening of unions, have eroded the fabric of our society. Case and Deaton document the devasting impact on people and communities left behind by looking at deaths of despair—those from suicide, overdoses, and alcoholism. If you have the feeling that something is not right with capitalism—or even if you don’t—this is a book that will offer you a detailed look at America’s economic underbelly.

From the list:

The best books on economics and public policy

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Book cover of The Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order

The Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order

By Joan Wickersham

Why this book?

This striking, intense, and beautifully meditative book offers a daughter struggling to understand her father in the wake of his suicide. It’s structured, yes, like an index, which does nothing to dilute its immense emotional power. There’s a lot of love and anger in this book, yet it’s told with extraordinary calm and exemplary clarity. Simply put, The Suicide Index is one of the most inventive, affecting memoirs I’ve ever read—a drop-everything-and-read-this-now book if there ever was one.

From the list:

The best books about trying to understand your parents

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Book cover of The Uncertain Hour: A Novel

The Uncertain Hour: A Novel

By Jesse Browner

Why this book?

In A.D. 66, Petronius, the author of the food-filled first novel, The Satyricon, has been implicated in an assassination plot to rid the world of Emperor Nero. He now faces a terrible choice: to end his life with honor, or to face an executioner at dawn. The Uncertain Hour is the sumptuous, beautiful tale of Petronius’s last, marvelous feast before he takes his place among the stars in the heavens.

From the list:

The best novels about food

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Book cover of DBT Skills Training Manual

DBT Skills Training Manual

By Marsha M. Linehan

Why this book?

After years of being misdiagnosed and wrongly medicated, and after years of living in denial about my bipolar disorder, I began Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT) in 2017. And it saved my life. Linehan has created an evidence-based treatment program that has taught me mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation, and distress tolerance. Frankly speaking, I think DBT should be taught in elementary and high schools.

From the list:

The best books to understand bipolar disorder

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Book cover of Seppuku: A History of Samurai Suicide

Seppuku: A History of Samurai Suicide

By Andrew Rankin

Why this book?

Who does not know about Seppuku, or Hara-kiri (also incorrectly said as Hari-Kari)? Andrew in his book gives a great in-depth discussion about its history, its customs, and its position in Japanese society. I have no idea why this book is not a best seller. I know I have used it in my own books more than once. People think they know about ritual suicide in Japanese culture, but more often than not it is “movie knowledge” and Andrew’s book is a solid piece of research on the subject, it should be in every samurai fan’s book collection. 

From the list:

The best books on a hidden Japan and the real samurai

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Book cover of Night Film

Night Film

By Marisha Pessl

Why this book?

Night Film is a great example of impactful mixed media storytelling. It is a cult horror novel about a journalist’s obsession with a cult horror director. By combining mixed media ‘found objects’ like film posters, interviews, and newspaper articles with the main character’s narration, the novel achieves a high level of suspense as the reader is fully immersed into this dark ghostly world. I admire this book because it speaks to my own love for dark, cult movies; and I believe it is also a great learning text for all writers who want to develop their own mixed media storytelling…
From the list:

The best horror books with mixed media format

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