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Books that might help when someone dies

When a friend or family member dies, you might not want to talk to anyone about what you're feeling at first. Reading about death and grief, whether real or fictional, can help. The following books have helped people make better sense of bereavement and grief.

If you're looking for grief and grieving books for a younger audience, visit our recommended books for teenagers and children pages.

The grief book (2012) by Debbie Moore and Caroline Cowperthwaite (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, £4.99)

A workbook aimed at helping you work through your own grief process. Written by a nurse with over 20 years' experience in helping bereaved families and friends, it's full of exercises to help you understand and come to terms with your grief.

A grief observed (2013) by C.S.Lewis (Faber & Faber, £7.99)

This is a very personal and simply written account of the author's loss following the death of his wife. You may find this book particularly helpful if you have spiritual beliefs.

Dying to know (2010) by Andrew Anastasios (Hardie Grant Books, £9.99)

Dying to know was written after many conversations with doctors, people with terminal illness, the funeral industry, religious leaders, and those who'd lost a friend or family member. It gives illustrated ideas and advice.

Bereavement: studies of grief in adult life (2010, 4th edition) by Collin Murray Parkes (Penguin, £10.99)

This book was written for professionals as well as people who've recently lost a friend or family member. It recognises that there is no single way to grieve and includes lots of first-hand accounts of bereaved people's experiences of grief.

'You'll get over it': the rage of bereavement (2010) by Virginia Ironside (Penguin, £10.99)

A direct account of grief and the many difficult emotions it brings. The author also gets angry about awkward and unhelpful attempts to deal with grief by family and friends – hence the title.

A grief workbook for skeptics: surviving loss without religion (2014) by Carol Fiore (Flying Kea press, £5.50)

If you aren't religious it can be difficult to cope with grief when so much existing literature contains religious references. This book finds a way through grief without religion, including celebrating the importance of pets, volunteering, and the power of nature.

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