2 Good Grief Books for Gifting a Friend

Second only to flowers, grief books can be a go-to gift for someone you’re supporting through loss.

Following my mom’s death, all I REALLY wanted to do was watch tv and sleep, but eventually I got to a point where reading felt good. It was time away from a screen. It felt like I could also accomplish ONE thing every day (which often feels impossible when we’re grieving) by just reading a few pages.

Luckily, there are some incredible people (and especially women) out there writing about grief. They’ve got fresh perspectives, great ideas for taking care of yourself, and in many cases a sense of humour about stuff no one else will laugh at with you (guarantee me… I’ve tried ALL the dead mom jokes).

Exploring grief through a book can provide a lot of incredible things:

  • Stories of others who have experienced what you’re going through

  • Practical advice for how to tell people to f’ off when they’re pressuring you to get “better”

  • New perspective on the confusing, frustrating parts of your grief experience

  • Something to do when you want nothing to do with the outside world but still want to heal

But! Before you gift someone a grief book, think about a few things that could make the offer more thoughtful and potentially less stressful for your grieving bud.

1. But like do they even like to read?

This is a fair question, because if they hate reading or never read, this might not be the most helpful way you can support them. And on that note, if you know they enjoy reading but want something to pick up and put down, there are lots of books that are written that way.

2. Is the book written in a voice that’ll be appealing to them?

In short, do your research! Do they like to laugh at morbid shit? There’s books for that. Do they need the voice of a man over the voice of a woman? There’s books for that.

Consider ALSO reading the book before you give it to them. We could all use these kinds of resources and it could mean the world if you not only give them the book, but also are able to talk to them about it while they’re reading or after.

3. Have they asked for resources?

If they haven’t, maybe a book shouldn’t be your go-to offer. Not everyone wants to cry their way through a book, so don’t assume that it’ll be the best gift. And also, if it’s just not the time, save the book for later and assess when might be the right time in the future, and you can even let them know you have it if they ever feel ready to check it out.

At the end of the day, you know your person and whether or not a book is the right move. If you’ve decided that it is, below are a few options that have made my grief less isolating, less stressful, and no joke - way more funny.

A few books that have helped me in ALL kinds of ways

Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief, Beginners Welcome

What I loved about this book is that it’s a good read to pick up and put down after one or a few stories. Your friend might not be ready to read a book in one sitting, so this book lends itself to being enjoyed for any amount of time they’ll have to read. The writing is spectacular (of course, because these two are BANGIN’ editors), the stories are varied, and the voices are inviting. There is a lot of humour, wisdom, and experience for your friend to enjoy while they figure out wtf is going on in their own heads.


It’s OK That You’re Not OK

This is a book that I could pick up on a daily basis, as it has powerful wisdom about so many different “experiences” we have while grieving, but broken up in a way that allows you to jump around quite easily. It’s been a great resource for me when I need practical advice and a little support telling people that it’s freakin’ ok that I don’t feel “better” or “ok” or "moving on”.