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Death Positive Booklist

Chrysanthemums and lilies under the words
12 July 2022

What is the Death Positive Library?

The aim of the Death Positive Library is to encourage conversations about death, dying and grieving.

All the books in these lists are recommended by the national Death Positive Library project team.

The titles embrace fiction, non-fiction and classics. There is also a list of books for children and young adults, and another consisting of literature, including memoirs. You may find some books therapeutic, some even funny. Take your time, talk it out and if you need more practical advice, go to Essex County Council's page What to do when someone dies.

Death Positive Library favourites

Finding Joy, by Gary Andrews

Mrs Death Misses Death, by Salena Godden

All the Ghosts in the Machine: the Digital Afterlife of Your Personal Data, by Elaine Kasket

We All Know How This Ends: Lessons About Life and Living from Working with Death and Dying, by Anna Lyons and Louise Winter

With the End in Mind, by Kathryn Mannix

The Undertaker's Daughter, by Katherine Mayfield

Outside the Box: Everyday Stories of Death, Bereavement and Life, edited by Liz Rothschild

My Father's Wake: How the Irish Teach Us to Live, Love and Die, by Kevin Toolis

Technologies of the Human Corpse, by John Troyer

Having conversations about death

Dying to Know: Bringing Death to Life, by Andrew Anastasios

The D-Word: Talking About Dying, a Guide for Relatives, Friends and Carers, by Sue Brayne

Talking About Death: a Dialogue Between Parent and Child, by Earl A. Grollman

Let's Talk About Death (Over Dinner): the Essential Guide to Life's Most Important Conversation, by Michael Hebb

Writing wills and getting things in order

Last Orders: The Essential Guide to Your Letter of Wishes, by Patricia C. Byron

The Good Will Guide, by Patricia C. Byron

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, by Margareta Magnusson

Self-help and grief

Coping with Bereavement: a Practical Guide to Getting Through Grief, by

The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom

Finding Joy, by Gary Andrews

Languages of Loss: a Psychotherapist’s Journey Through Grief, by Sasha Bates

The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us about Life After Loss, by George A. Bonanno

Mindfulness and the Journey of Bereavement: Restoring Hope After Death, by Peter Bridgewater

Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Love and Dying, by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush

It’s OK that You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture that Doesn’t Understand, by Megan Devine

Before Forever After: When Conversations About Living Meet Questions About Dying, by Helena Dolny

The AfterGrief: Finding Your Way on the Long Path of Grief, by Hope Edelman

Talking About Dying: Help in Facing Death & Dying, by Philip Giddings and others

Holding Space: On Loving, Dying, and Letting Go, by Amy Wright Glenn

Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death, by Joan Halifax

Waiting for the Last Bus: Reflections on Life and Death, by Richard Holloway

Pulling Through: Help for Families Navigating Life-Changing Illness, by Catherine Jessop

Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief, by David Kessler

Living is Dying: How to Prepare for Death, Dying and Beyond, by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse

Questions and Answers on Death and Dying, by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The Intimacy of Death and Dying: Simple Guidance to Help You Through, by Claire Leimbach and others

Good Grief: Embracing Life at a Time of Death, by Catherine Mayer and Anne Mayer Bird

A Beginner's Guide to the End: How to Live Life to the Full and Die a Good Death, by B. J. Miller and Shoshana Berger

A Good Death, by Margaret Rice

How to Die: A Book About Being Alive, by Ray Robertson

The State of Disbelief: A Story of Death, Love and Forgetting, by Juliet Rosenfeld

Outside the Box: Everyday Stories of Death, Bereavement and Life, edited by Liz Rothschild

Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving, by Julia Samuels

Surviving the Tsunami of Grief: for the Bereaved and Those Wanting to Support Them, by Katrina Taee and Wendelien McNicoll

Advice for the Dying (and Those Who Love Them): a Practical Perspective on Death, by Sallie Tisdale

A Safe Journey Home: a Simple Guide to Achieving a Peaceful Death, by Felicity Warner

The Soul Midwives’ Handbook, by Felicity Warner

Dying Well: Dying Faithfully, by John Wyatt

Staring at the Sun: Being at Peace With Your Own Mortality: Overcoming the Dread of Death, by Irvin Yalom

Funerals and memorialisation

Crafting Meaningful Funeral Rituals: A Practical Guide, by Jeltje Gordon-Lennox

The Natural Death Handbook, by Josefine Speyer and Stephanie Wienrich

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, by Caitlin Doughty

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: And Other Questions About Dead Bodies, by Caitlin Doughty

The Undertaking, by Thomas Lynch

Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt, by Kenneth McKenzie and Todd Harra

Past Mortems: Life and Death Behind Mortuary Doors, by Carla Valentine

Confessions of a Funeral Director: How the Business of Death Saved My Life, by Caleb Wilde

Books for people with learning disabilities

When I Die: The Choices That Tony Has Made for the End of His Life (free downloadable booklet from

Am I Going to Die? by Sheila Hollins and Irene Tuffrey-Wijne

Feelings You Might Have When Someone Dies (free downloadable booklet from