27 Best Books About Death Update 05/2022

Books About Death

It’s understandable to be morbidly concerned about death. Also, it’s extremely real.

These books are for people who want to read their way through this anxiety rather than ignore it (and I believe both tactics are equally legitimate). Jaime Herndon, Heather Bottoms, Dana Staves, and Liberty Hardy helped develop this list. Goodreads is used to create the blurbs for the books on this site.

Novels About Death

Memento Mori by Muriel Spark

Memento Mori by Muriel Spark

‘Remember you must die,’ says an insinuating voice over the phone to a gathering of old pals in late 1950s London. Many ancient truths are unearthed when their elderly feathers are ruffled by these allegedly otherworldly phone calls.”

White Noise by Don DeLillo

If you’re looking for a narrative of a family dealing with the ups and downs of family life while listening to the clamor of name-brand consumer culture, then go no farther than White Noise, which won the 1985 National Book Award.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Wilde’s narrative of a young man who trades his soul for perpetual youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work.

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

“In four different and captivating first-person perspectives, Nick Hornby recounts a narrative of four characters facing the boundaries of choice, circumstance, and their own death,” he writes. In this story, you’ll learn about the joy of second chances, and the pain of squandered opportunities.

The Cure for Grief by Nellie Hermann

Disarmingly personal and transparent, Ruby’s coming of age is defined by terrible loss, one in which the pleasures, bewilderment, and desire of youth are magnified by the catastrophic events that precede it. “

The Caregiver by Samuel Park

The Caregiver by Samuel Park

“A compelling and meaningful narrative that encourages us to question who we are—as children and parents, immigrants and citizens, and ultimately, human beings yearning for fundamental connectedness,” says the author..

If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura

In the end, our narrator’s time is up.” He was caught off guard when the doctor told him he only had months to live despite the fact that he was estranged from his family and just had his cat Cabbage to keep him company. To get him started on his bucket list, the Devil offers him a deal: for every object in the universe that disappears, he gets one additional day of life. “And so starts a week that promises to be very weird…”

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

As the tale of the Buendia family reveals, “the brilliant, best-selling, landmark book” also explores the seemingly insurmountable struggle between the longing for seclusion and the need for affection.

The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal

“The Heart” is set during the twenty-four-hour period after a heart transplant in which a young man’s life is given to that of a dying lady. It addresses the innermost thoughts of everyone involved as they negotiate choices about life and death in beautiful, ruminative writing.”

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

“My Sister’s Keeper is a thought-provoking work about a family’s fight for survival at any cost, and a striking parable for all time.

Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival by Velma Wallis

Two Old Women An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival by Velma Wallis

Velma Wallis presents a landscape and manner of life that are at once ruthless and strikingly beautiful in her modest but vivid detail,” she writes. She has developed two strong heroines in the form of her elderly subjects.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

In the beginning of “The Buried Giant,” a couple sets out to find a kid they haven’t seen in a long time in a region of mist and rain.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

“This expansive and sometimes cruel book chronicles the connected destiny of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations hopelessly repeat the fall of Adam and Eve and the deadly rivalry of Cain and Abel amid the fertile farmland of California’s Salinas Valley.”

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Exodus and lullabies are both strong and personal, and this enthralling work turns history into an epic tale as powerful as slavery itself.”

After Many a Summer Dies the Swan by Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley’s scathing and hilarious parody on man’s ambition to live endlessly has a Hollywood billionaire with a fear of death and a personal physician working on a longevity hypothesis.

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut’s epic story of world annihilation preys on our innermost anxieties of seeing Armageddon and worse, surviving it with its deadpan humour and biting irony.”

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

It is a tremendously compelling account of a trip that is told in The Road.” There is no hope in the future, but the father and son are maintained by love, “each the other’s universe whole.”

Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry

“At the age of 79, Nariman Vakeel, already afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, fractures his ankle and becomes completely reliant on his family for his care. Stepchildren Coomy and Jal, who live at the Chateau Felicity, are too scared and spiteful to take care of him physically. It’s time for Nariman to turn to Roxana and Yezad and their two young boys who live in a tiny, congested house. Their choice will put to the test not just their financial means, but also their tolerance, compassion, honesty, and faith in unanticipated ways. “””

Plays About Death

Three Tall Women by Edward Albee

She is being cared after by two other ladies and a young guy while an abrasive, bossy elderly lady lays dying.” Aging without sentimentality is shown in Albee’s candid conversation about anything from incontinence to adultery.”

No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre

No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre

For all time, three people who have died are confined to a single chamber in the play’s representation of the afterlife.

The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O’Neill

They are alcoholics who talk about but never act on their aspirations, and Hickey, the traveling salesman who is determined to remove them from their pipe dreams. “The Iceman Cometh” follows them.

The Ferryman by Jez Butterwoth

A time capsule from a different era: 1981 in Armagh, Northern Ireland. Preparations for the yearly harvest are underway at the Carney farmhouse. Day of hard labor on the farm and a night of customary festivities await. A guest will disturb them this year, though.”

Science and Medicine

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Author Atul Gawande confronts the most difficult task of his profession in Being Mortal: how medicine may not only enhance life, but also the process of its end.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Emperor of All Maladies A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

From its earliest known appearances thousands of years ago to the epic efforts in the twentieth century to treat, control, and vanquish it, this book offers a radical new understanding of cancer’s core in a spectacular and wonderfully humanistic “biography.”

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan

Is it possible that psychedelic substances might alter our perception of the world??” An acclaimed American author takes us on a mind-altering voyage to the boundaries of human awareness.”

How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter by Sherwin B. Nuland

What is possibly the one most universal human worry is death? Sherwin Nuland’s “How We Die” has been a runaway success and National Book Award winner.

Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality by Pauline W. Chen

Transplant surgery and the human condition are brought to life via the moral intensity and narrative drama provided by a bright young surgeon.

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