Books on Grief

Grief is a range of emotions that we all feel at some point in our lives. Yet, when we are going through grief, it can be one of the most isolating experiences. Luckily, there are many authors out there who have written and continue to write about their personal experiences with grief as well as about the journeys of others.

We selected a few books for you that we can personally recommend. Remember that you are not alone, whether you are grieving or helping someone that is grieving, there are groups and support systems around you to help.

Dipped In It by Bethany Harvey

Bethany Harvey’s book, Dipped In It

Bethany Harvey always saw herself as a person with a sunny disposition. Then her father died in 2017. 2 1/2 months after his death, she tried to write a journal entry about something that she was grateful for, then realized that she wasn’t telling her truth. Instead, she decided to write a book about all the emotions that come when losing a loved one, which turned into Dipped In It. This book offers an incredible insight into one person’s personal journey through grief and the roller coaster of emotions that come in that journey. Harvey is a Rhode Islander and her book can be found at most local bookstores as well as at most major online bookstores. For more information about Harvey, check out her website here.

Hints for Grieflings by Kim Shute

Kim Shute’s debut book.

Kim Shute is a first time author and former employee of Memorial Funeral Home. After losing her husband suddenly, Shute felt overwhelmed by grief. A few incredible friends helped her, but Shute often times felt very much alone in her grief. After working at the funeral home, she felt it was time to write a book that might help others in their journey with grief. Hints for Grieflings is a book that you can carry in your pocket and pull out when you need reassurance that you can get through moments of pain and sadness. To buy Hints for Grieflings and learn more about Shute, go to

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant

Sheryl Sandberg is the author of Lean In and chief operating officer of Meta Platforms. Her husband, Dave Goldberg, CEO of SurveyMonkey at the time, died suddenly while on vacation in Mexico in 2015.

Option B is a book about that sudden loss, how she dealt with raising two children on her own and how she gained resilience through her process of grieving and being supported by others. The book is a collaboration between Sandberg and Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist and professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The book is not just about Sandberg’s personal journey through grieving her dead husband. It touches upon other people’s stories of losing someone, being diagnosed with incurable diseases, and finding meaning and hope when there doesn’t seem to be any.

Go to to buy the book, explore stories about resilience and grief, or find an Option B support group to join to connect with others who are also grieving.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Writer Joan Didion wrote The Year of Magical Thinking in response to the sudden death of her husband and illness of her daughter. In 2003, Didion’s daughter, Quintana became ill with what seemed like the flu at first, and then pneumonia. She was ultimately diagnosed with septic shock and was subsequently put into an induced coma and put on life support. Didion’s husband, John, died of a massive coronary as they were sitting down for dinner just a few days after their daughter was admitted to hospital.

This book is Didion’s attempt to make sense of the sudden events that occurred in her life and the end of a forty year partnership with her husband. The book was published in 2005 and by that point, Quintana had died from the complications of her illness, which she later wrote about in a book called Blue Nights.

For anyone living on Aquidneck Island, this book can be ordered at Island Books.

Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air is a book by Paul Kalanithi, a thirty-seven-year-old neurosurgeon. On the verge of completing his training as a neurosurgeon, Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. The book chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student possessed with the question of “What makes a virtuous and meaningful life?” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the Department of Neurosurgery and a fellow at the Stanford Neurosciences Institute, to ultimately becoming a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book.

This book can also be ordered at Island Books.

The Grief Recovery Handbook by John W. James & Russell Friedman

The Grief Recovery Handbook is an in-depth guide to grief and grieving. Most importantly, it debunks the myth that there are stages to grief. Authors John W. James and Russell Friedman have more than thirty years of experience working with people grieving. The latest edition of the book helps people not only coping with the loss of a loved one. It is also for anyone coping with feelings of loss that occur in divorce, losing a job and losing one’s health. If you aren’t sure you want or need to buy the book, you can download the shorter ebook here. Friedman and James also wrote a book to help children through loss called, When Children Grieve.

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