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Books on bereavement and loss for National Book Lovers Day

09 Aug 2023 | 2 min read time

National Book Lovers Day is marked on 9 August every year. It reminds us to put away our phones, and pick up a book. This year, we’re highlighting six inspiring books on bereavement and loss to help support people in their grief journey.

A Grief Observed – C.S. Lewis

Long deemed a classic, A Grief Observed was written by The Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis, following the death of his wife. It was released in 1961, under the pseudonym N.W. Clerk. The book details the author’s ‘anger and bewilderment’ in the wake of his wife’s death, and his thoughts on life without her.

A Grief Observed was one of the first books on bereavement of its kind to be published in the UK. At the time, literature surrounding grief was far less prevalent than it is today.

The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion

The Year of Magical Thinking is Joan Didion’s ‘attempt to make sense’ of the 12 months following the sudden death of her husband. The renowned journalist weaved ideas from psychological research on grief, as well as medical research, into the book. The book was completed a year and a day after her husband died.

Grief Journey - Dr. Bill Webster

Dr. Bill Webster is a grief counsellor and author, offering a range of books on bereavement through his Grief Journey website. Since the loss of his wife and later his son, Dr. Webster has drawn on both his personal experience, and academic research, to support individuals at all stages of their grief journey. Webster describes the book as a ‘road map through the grieving process’.

It’s Ok That You’re Not OK - Megan Devine

Subtitled Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand, Devine’s book challenges the idea that grief is something to be cured. She argues that we instead must learn how to create a life alongside grief. The author is a trained therapist, but she also draws from the personal experience of tragically losing her partner.

Good Mourning: Honest conversations about grief and loss - Imogen Carn & Sally Douglas

This book has been called ‘a comforting support group in book form’. Written by the co-hosts of the Good Mourning podcast, the book offers advice on coping with the isolation and loneliness of bereavement. It contains insights from others who have experienced grief, as well as from experts. Wherever you are in your grieving journey, this book aims to help make sense of it.

Complete Book of Funeral Planning, Readings and Music - Rachel Johnstone-Burt, Alison Gibbs, and Rev. John Wynburne

Covering a wide variety of funeral styles, this book offers advice on funeral planning, whether for yourself or for a loved one. It covers both the practical and the emotional issues involved in making funeral arrangements. Included are tips on music choices, readings, locations, and more. The book also considers the wider grieving process.

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