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Recommended Reading

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*Please be in touch with us if your favorite book on this topic is missing!

**JMRL Library has created a list on the topic of Death and Dying for check-out from our library system. Please visit this link to find many of these books at your local library!


Death & Dying

  • When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi

  • Being Mortal - Atul Gawande

  • The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death and Everything That Comes After - Julie Yip-Williams

  • Men We Reaped - Jesmyn Ward

  • Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs and Communication of the Dying - Maggie Callanan

  • Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved - Kate Bowler

  • A Lesson Before Dying - Ernest Gaines

  • The Cancer Journals - Audre Lorde

  • The Bright Hour - Nina Riggs

  • Dying Well - Ira Byock

  • The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion

  • Death in the Family - James Agee

  • A Pity Party is Still a Party: A Feed Good Guide to Feeling Bad - Chelsea Garner

  • Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir - Tyler Feder

  • The End of Your Life Book Club - Will Schwalbe

  • On Death and Dying - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross 

  • The Art of Dying Well - Katy Butler

  • A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death - BJ Miller, MD and Shoshana Berger

  • Western Attitudes Towards Death - Phillip Aries

  • The Four Things that Matter Most: A Book About Living - Ira Byock

  • Reimagining Death: Stories and Practical Wisdom for Home Funerals and Green Burials - Lucinda Herring

  • Death Is but a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life’s End - Christopher Kerr

  • A Year to Live: How to Live this Year as if it Were Your Last - Stephen Levine

  • Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness - Lynn

  • That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh - Sunita Puri

  • A Memoir of Loss and Love - Amy Bloom

  • Advice for Future Corpses - Sally Tisdale

  • Knocking on Heaven’s Door - Katy Butler

  • When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Calanithi

  • Little Matches: A Memoir of Finding Light in Dark - Maryanne O’Hara

  • The Long Goodbye - Megan O’Rourke

  • Crying in H Mart: A Memoir - Michelle Zauner

  • The Collected Regrets of Clover - Mikki Brammer

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Death & Spirituality

  • The Five Invitations - Frank Ostaseski

  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying - Sogyal Rinpoche

  • Walking Each Other Home - Ram Dass

  • Being with Dying - Roshi Joan Halifax

  • How We Live is How We Die - Pema Chodron

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After Death Care

  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory - Caitlin Doughty

  • From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death - Caitlin Doughty

  • Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? - Caitlin Doughty

  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - Mary Roach

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

  • Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death - Josh Slocum & Lisa Carlson

  • American afterlife : encounters in the customs of mourning - Sweeney

  • Rest in peace : a cultural history of death and the funeral home in twentieth-century America - Gary Laderman

  • The American Way of Death - Jessica Mitford

  • Reimagining Death: Stories and Practical Wisdom for Home Funerals and Green Burials - Lucinda Herring


Grief & Grieving

  • A Grief Observed -  C.S. Lewis

  • The Wild Edge of Sorrow - Francis Weller

  • Notes on Grief - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times - Katherine May

  • It’s OK to Laugh - Nora McInerny Purmort

  • The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic and Change - Pauline Boss

  • The Grieving Brain - Mary-Frances O’Connor

  • Dream New Dreams - Reimagining Life After Loss - Jai Pausch

  • On Grief and Grieving - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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