The most recommended books about suicide

Who picked these books? Meet our 194 experts.

194 authors created a book list connected to suicide, and here are their favorite suicide books.
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Book cover of Survivor

Guy Portman Author Of Necropolis

From my list on darkly humorous fiction stocking fillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a dark fiction author. As far back as anyone can remember I have been an introverted creature, with a rapacious appetite for knowledge, a dark sense of humour, and an insatiable appetite for books. Having written eight darkly humorous works of fiction and read dozens of titles that fall into this genre, I believe that I am the ideal person to provide you with recommendations for darkly humorous fiction stocking fillers this Christmas. Think of me as the Santa of darkly humorous fiction. My titles include the Necropolis Series. Their protagonist is Dyson Devereux – a cultured council worker and compulsive murderer with sardonic tendencies.

Guy's book list on darkly humorous fiction stocking fillers

Guy Portman Why did Guy love this book?

Tender Branson, the last survivor of the Creedish Church cult, has hijacked an airplane, which is flying on autopilot. His mission now is to dictate his life story onto its black box before the plane crashes.

Survivor is an innovative and erudite social commentary, brimming with satirical observations. Amongst the targets for its irreverent dark humour are death, The Bible, and suicide hotlines. In this reader’s opinion, Survivor is a work of undoubted genius, and one of the author’s best novels.

By Chuck Palahniuk,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tender Branson-last surviving member of the Creedish Death Cult-is dictating his life story into the recorder of Flight 2039, cruising on autopilot at 39,000 feet somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. He is all alone in the airplane, which will crash shortly into the vast Australian outback. But before it does, Branson will unfold the tale of his journey from an obedient Creedish child and humble domestic servant to an ultra-buffed, steroid- and collagen-packed media messiah.


Book cover of The Savage God: A Study of Suicide

Adam Washington Author Of The Misophorism Trilogy

From my list on depressive reads that are free of platitudes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was young, I’ve suffered from Major Depressive Disorder, coupled with chronic pain that surfaced when I was in middle school. Being in constant pain—mental and physical—obviously drains the spirit. I found no hope whatsoever in phrases such as, “It gets better.” When you have chronic pain, that statement means nothing, because you know it won’t. These books, however, offered me something that I hadn’t encountered before: someone acknowledging that, although it may never get better, there is still something for me here, whatever form it takes. These books do not shame depressives, they console (and even commiserate) with them, and I hope you find them as fulfilling as I have.

Adam's book list on depressive reads that are free of platitudes

Adam Washington Why did Adam love this book?

The Savage God destroyed me upon finishing it for the first time.

Alvarez travels through history in this non-fiction study, tracing the perceptions of suicide from ancient societies to the present day, all with an empathetic eye. Alvarez views suicide both as a societal phenomenon and an intimately personal experience.

His own experience with suicide so closely mirrored my own that I still remember the final pages of the book vividly. To be frank, the book’s a bit dated—it was written in the 70s and some of Alvarez’s comments (as well as his reverence of Freud) haven’t aged well. Nevertheless, the worthwhile sections—of which most of the book is composed—are unforgettable.

By A. Alvarez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Suicide," writes the notes English poet and critic A. Alvarez, "has permeated Western culture like a dye that cannot be washed out." Although the aims of this compelling, compassionate work are broadly cultural and literary, the narrative is rooted in personal experience: it begins with a long memoir of Sylvia Plath, and ends with an account of the author's own suicide attempt. Within this dramatic framework, Alvarez launches his enquiry into the final taboo of human behavior, and traces changing attitudes towards suicide from the perspective of literature. He follows the black thread leading from Dante through Donne and the…


Book cover of Sparkling Cyanide

J.J. Cagney Author Of Bayou Venom

From my list on Agatha Christie books you should definitely read.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read my first mystery in second grade, and the genre has captivated me ever since. My mother loves jigsaw puzzles—without the picture, so it’s a challenge—while I prefer to work through clues in books from Agatha Christie to Stephen King, to C. J. Box…no matter the author, my goal is to find the answer before the author reveals it. Seven of my books fall under the mystery, suspense, and thriller categories, and I want to pen many more as I enjoy the thrill of perfectly plotted prose. I hold a bachelor’s degree from TCU, and I’ve spent twenty-plus years immersed in psychology and behavioral science.

J.J.'s book list on Agatha Christie books you should definitely read

J.J. Cagney Why did J.J. love this book?

This book is not a typical sleuth novel. The story is from each suspect’s point of view, all unreliable.

I loved that my perspective of Rosemary Barton shifted with each retelling of the night that she supposedly committed suicide by drinking a glass full of cyanide-laced champagne. Was Rosemary actually a doting sister? Perhaps she was a happy, lovely younger wife. Maybe she was a rival or a schemer.

I read the novel because of its irresistible title and intriguing questions. Although I’m familiar with most Poirot and Marple books, I wasn’t as familiar with the Colonel Race mysteries. By this, Ms. Christie’s thirty-sixth book, she’d honed her craft to such a degree that I still think about it often. 

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A beautiful heiress is fatally poisoned in a West End restaurant...

Six people sit down to dinner at a table laid for seven. In front of the empty place is a sprig of rosemary - in solemn memory of Rosemary Barton who died at the same table exactly one year previously.

No one present on that fateful night would ever forget the woman's face, contorted beyond recognition - or what they remembered about her astonishing life.


Feral Maril & Her Little Brother Carol

By Leslie Tall Manning,

Book cover of Feral Maril & Her Little Brother Carol

Leslie Tall Manning Author Of Maggie's Dream

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Mentor Laugher Research nut Avid reader

Leslie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Winner of the Literary Titan Book Award

Bright but unassuming Marilyn Jones has some grown-up decisions to make, especially after Mama goes to prison for drugs and larceny. With no one to take care of them, Marilyn and her younger, mentally challenged brother, Carol, get tossed into the foster care system. While shuffling from one home to another, Marilyn makes it her mission to find the Tan Man, a mysterious man from her babyhood she believes holds the key to her family’s happiness.

But Marilyn’s quest is halted when her daddy, an ex-con she has never met, is chosen by…

Feral Maril & Her Little Brother Carol

By Leslie Tall Manning,

What is this book about?

Bright but unassuming Marilyn Jones has some grown-up decisions to make, especially after Mama goes to prison for drugs and larceny. With no one to take care of them, Marilyn and her younger, mentally challenged brother, Carol, get tossed into the foster care system. While shuffling from one home to another, Marilyn makes it her mission to find the Tan Man, a mysterious man from her babyhood she believes holds the key to her family's happiness.

But Marilyn's quest is halted when her daddy, an ex-con she has never met, is chosen by the courts as the new guardian. Caleb…


Book cover of Contacts

Nicola Moriarty Author Of You Need To Know

From my list on strong leads with mental illness or neurodiversity.

Why am I passionate about this?

Mental illness has been such a huge part of my life for so long now that it has become second nature for me to incorporate it into my work. After suffering postnatal depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, I’ve been on anti-depressants for 11 years and regularly see a wonderful psychologist. Recently, I added a psychiatrist into the mix who diagnosed me with ADHD, so now I’m learning to juggle ADHD meds alongside the antidepressants. I’ve always been passionate about talking and writing openly and honestly about my own personal experiences because if there is any chance that I can help someone else with my words, then I’m going to take it.

Nicola's book list on strong leads with mental illness or neurodiversity

Nicola Moriarty Why did Nicola love this book?

The concept for this book had me intrigued from the moment I saw the front cover. James Chiltern sends a message to all 158 contacts on his phone, telling them he plans to end his life in the morning. Then he switches his phone to flight mode and sets off on an overnight train journey. While I have had dark times and moments where I was close to the edge throughout my life, I’ve never reached the point where I had actually made a plan to end things. So to read a story where the main character has made that heart-wrenching decision and to see the differing perspectives of all the people in his life waking up to that message was both heart-breaking and riveting.

By Mark Watson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One man's last journey. One hundred and fifty-eight chances to save his life.

The unforgettable new book from award-winning writer and comedian Mark Watson!

'Mark Watson is one of my favourite writers and Contacts is by far his best book yet' Adam Kay
'Witty, emotional and beautifully written' Jill Mansell
'It made me laugh, cry, reflect and want to check in on all my friends' Emma Gannon
'This is such a great book, funny and serious and daring and humane' Richard Curtis
'Funny, heartwrenching, beautifully written'
Jane Fallon

At five to midnight in Euston station, James Chiltern sends one text…


Book cover of A Barrel of Laughs, a Vale of Tears

Evelyn Benvie Author Of I Am Not Your Chosen One

From my list on trope-twisting fantasy to make you laugh.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been an avid ready of fantasy for over twenty years, and I’ve spent nearly as long at least thinking about writing. In that time, I have definitely found some fantasy that wasn’t for me and some that really, really was. I like my fantasy fun and relatively light—I own nearly every Discworld book but could never get into George R. R. Martin. And my writing has naturally evolved around the same lines. I love a good joke or a well-timed pun almost as much as I love unexpected takes on fantasy tropes. 

Evelyn's book list on trope-twisting fantasy to make you laugh

Evelyn Benvie Why did Evelyn love this book?

An absolutely favorite read, A Barrel of Laughs, a Vale of Tears is a perfect blend of humor and fantasy—exactly the sort of thing I strive for with my own writing. With characters that actively defy the author and the constricts of the plot, this book was meta before meta was cool. A classic tale of love told in a very not-classic way, this is the first book I can vividly remember making me laugh the whole time I read it. It’s a distinct feeling, and one I have been chasing ever since.

By Jules Feiffer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Barrel of Laughs, a Vale of Tears as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

‘Prince Roger sets out eagerly on a quest and finds a few adventures, a lot of friends, a damsel or two in distress (not!) and himself, in the end. A ‘carrier of joy’ whose mere presence causes everyone to laugh uncontrollably, Roger finds cruelty and kindness equally amusing, and expects his quest to be a lark. It’s anything but: As Roger passes through the Forever Forest, nearly starves at the Dastardly Divide, sees people at their worst in the Valley of Vengeance, and temporarily despairs in the Mountains of Malice, he sobers up, learns to care for others, becomes an…


Book cover of The Ninth Hour

Marian O'Shea Wernicke Author Of Out of Ireland

From my list on Ireland and the Irish.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a lover of all things Irish because of my heritage, with my maiden name O’Shea. Both of my parents’ grandparents came from Ireland to the United States: the O’Sheas from County Kerry and the Ward and Sullivans from Galway and Bantry. As an English major, I have loved the works of Yeats, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and I wrote my Master’s thesis on Ulysses by Joyce. Both of my own novels center around the Irish. I understand their love/hate relationship with the Catholic Church, and I love the stinging wit and lively humor of the people. The Irish are great storytellers!

Marian's book list on Ireland and the Irish

Marian O'Shea Wernicke Why did Marian love this book?

McDermott writes about Irish-American people, and this novel is about nuns in Brooklyn who help out a young widow and her little daughter after the suicide of her husband.

I was a nun for eleven years, so loved the realistic portrayal of the nuns with all their human foibles and virtues! 

The young girl becomes the central character as she grows up helping the sisters in their work with the poor, even deciding she might like to be a nun herself until she has a disastrous encounter on a train. Beautifully written with humor and compassion. 

By Alice McDermott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PRIX FEMINA ETRANGER 2018 SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 KIRKUS PRIZE ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE'S TOP TEN BOOKS OF 2017 ____________________ From the National Book Award-winning author comes a luminous, deeply humane novel about three generations of an Irish immigrant family in 1940s and 1950s Brooklyn - for those who love Colm Toibin, Anne Enright and Anne Tyler On a dim winter afternoon in a Brooklyn tenement, a young Irish immigrant unhooks the oven gas, and inhales. In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an ageing nun appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward…


Book cover of The Cheerleaders

David A. Poulsen Author Of Numbers

From my list on YA mysteries that inspire writers to get to work.

Why am I passionate about this?

And Then the Sky Exploded came about after I traveled to Japan when my novel, Numbers, was awarded the Sakura Medal, a readers’ choice award voted on by the students in English speaking high school students in Japan. During my time touring and giving author presentations to schools in that wonderful country, I became interested in Japanese culture and history and eventually decided to write a novel exploring one of the most devastating moments of the 20th century—the exploding of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima during World War ll.

David's book list on YA mysteries that inspire writers to get to work

David A. Poulsen Why did David love this book?

You might get the idea that I lean to books with unexplained disappearances and/or deaths at the heart of the mystery. If you’re thinking that, you’re right. Except this time, instead of kindergarten kids, it’s five cheerleaders and they don’t all disappear at the same time or for the same reason. In fact, these victims don’t really disappear at all. But they are all gone—two killed in a car wreck, two murdered by the man next door (who is subsequently shot by police so no clues there) and the last girl dies by suicide. Five years later, as Monica, sister of the suicide victim, suddenly finds herself at the centre of a series of weird and scary circumstances, the reader soon realizes that Monica herself is in dire danger. What a terrific read.

By Kara Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cheerleaders 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?

The Cheerleaders is Kara Thomas' edge-of-your-seat thriller about an eerie sequence of seemingly unrelated events that leaves five cheerleaders dead.

'Sharp, brilliantly plotted, and totally engrossing' - Karen McManus, author of One of Us Is Lying

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident - two girls dead after hitting a tree on a rainy night.

Then the murders happened - two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it.

Monica's sister was the last cheerleader to die.…


Book cover of Coming Home

Sydney Scrogham Author Of Chase

From my list on for horse crazy kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a horse-crazy girl (going on nearly 20 years now)! Horses are excellent teachers and even better friends. They never lie, and they always treat you fairly. I’ve been teaching lessons for the past five years as a PATH Intl. certified instructor, and it’s been such a joy to share my love of horses with others. Here’s to all the great real-life horses in the world that inspire such great books.

Sydney's book list on for horse crazy kids

Sydney Scrogham Why did Sydney love this book?

This book (and series) was amazing before it was a TV show. Do yourself a favor and read. The. Books! Heartland is a powerful story of how horses can help us make sense of loss; additionally, it highlights how horses can help us connect to a deeper part of ourselves. Plus, the herbal knowledge in the books is way better than the TV show, and you might actually learn something your four-legged friends might like rubbed on their noses.

By Lauren Brooke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Coming Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Amy's mother founded Heartland, a place for healing traumatized horses, but Amy, who inherited her mother's skills with horses, must continue her work after an accident on a stormy night kills her mother.


Book cover of The Just and the Unjust

Garrett Epps Author Of Democracy Reborn: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Equal Rights in Post-Civil War America

From my list on legal novels that you can't put down.

Why am I passionate about this?

Garrett Epps is the author of two published novels and five works of non-fiction about the U.S. Constitution. He graduated from Duke Law School in 1991; since then he has taught Constitutional Law at the American University, the University of Baltimore, Boston College, Duke University, and the University of Oregon. For ten years he was Supreme Court Correspondent for The Atlantic, and covered from close up cases involving the Affordable Care Act, same-sex marriage, and the Trump Administration’s immigration policies. He is now Legal Affairs Editor of The Washington Monthly, and at work on a novel about crime and justice during the years of Southern segregation. 

Garrett's book list on legal novels that you can't put down

Garrett Epps Why did Garrett love this book?

This novel is in many ways the precise opposite of a “courtroom thriller.” The murder trial depicted is not upended by surprise evidence, witnesses do not blurt out confessions, and the outside world takes little notice of what is transpiring in the courtroom. But prosecutor Abner Coates is a memorable portrait of a man for whom the law has become an entire world. A powerful courtroom moment punctures Abner’s professional irony, when he imagines looking at himself through the eyes of the defendants, and he realizes that despite his good nature and intentions, to them he is a savage enemy trying to kill them.

By James Gould Cozzens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Just and the Unjust, Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Gould Cozzens examines the ways in which freedom under the law operates in a democracy when a murder trial dominates the life of a small town.


Book cover of The Suicide Shop

Lucie Britsch Author Of Sad Janet

From my list on when having an existential crisis to feel better.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hi there, I’m Lucie and I’m a writer (allegedly) but before that I’m a human and I know how hard it is to be a human. It’s a constant battle with yourself, the people around you, the world, and it’s exhausting and sometimes it can be too much but we find ways to keep going and books help me do that (as well as crying, screaming, potatoes). I find life absurd most of the time so I have to laugh about it or I’d go insane. And I’m still alive, despite constantly being in a fight with my brain, so I think I’ve got this.

Lucie's book list on when having an existential crisis to feel better

Lucie Britsch Why did Lucie love this book?

A funny book about suicide, what more do you want? If like me you’re prone to those dark thoughts, you really do have to laugh about it. This book is absurd yes but also has so much to say about human nature and spirit. It’s a cult classic that’s about life, not death, that will make you feel hopeful, the same way I hope my book does.

By Jean Teulé, Sue Dyson (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With the twenty-first century just a distant memory and the world in environmental chaos, many people have lost the will to live. And business is brisk at The Suicide Shop. Run by the Tuvache family for generations, the shop offers an amazing variety of ways to end it all, with something to fit every budget. The Tuvaches go mournfully about their business, taking pride in the morbid service they provide. Until the youngest member of the family threatens to destroy their contented misery by confronting them with something they've never encountered before: a love of life.