8 Books to Get You Through Difficult Times

Covid-19 has had some sort of impact on each and every one of us. With the constant threat of a dangerous virus looming, it can be especially hard to manage unrelated, difficult life situations that still pop up.

We rounded up a list of books, to help you get through whatever difficulty you might be facing right now. Grieving the loss of a loved one and don’t know where to turn? Graduating from school and entering a world filled with uncertainty? Read on for our book recs… 

For grief:

‘When Things Fall Apart’ by Pema Chodron

Pema Chodron is a famous American Tibetan Buddhist, who’s touched millions with her work. It helps that she’s relatable: Her own journey to becoming a Buddhist began when she found out her husband was having an affair, which she touches on in this book. In When Things Fall Apart, Chodron uses traditional Buddhist wisdom to offer advice on how to approach things when our lives seemingly fall apart — and we are left in the dust, filled with pain.

Buy Here – $14

‘It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay’ by Megan Divine

“Grief is simply love in its most wild and painful form…It is a natural and sane response to loss,” Megan Divine once said. As a therapist, and a woman who lost her partner in a drowning incident, Divine contradicts the sterile way we as a society sometimes think of grief. It’s much messier than we put on, she explains, and that’s OK.

Buy Here – $10

For life transitions:

‘What now?’ by Ann Patchett

During the pandemic, as life swiftly changes around us, many of us are asking exactly this, “What now?” Writer Ann Patchett has some answers. After her commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College was well-praised, she decided to turn it into a powerful piece of long-form. In What Now?, she has some words for anyone who’s taking a step that has the potential to change their life forever, whether that’s a career change or graduating from college.

Buy Here – $12

‘Life Is In the Transitions’ by Bruce Feiler

We interviewed Bruce Feiler about his powerful book, Life Is In the Transitions, last year. When he experienced a set of tragic life experiences, he told us, “I got very interested in how, when our lives get upturned, we have to rethink and rewrite the story of our lives.” So he interviewed hundreds of people across the country, to gather insights for this book.

Buy Here – $17

For general wisdom:

‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ by Cheryl Strayed

This is the perfect book to keep on your nightstand to flip through whenever you’re in need of some sage advice from an older sister figure. You might know Cheryl Strayed for her memoir, Wild, which was turned into a movie with Reese Witherspoon. She also happens to write really beautiful essays that will not fail to inspire you. 

Buy Here – $13

‘Maybe You Should Talk to Someone’ by Lori Gottlieb

Like Bruce Fieler, we’ve talked to psychologist and writer Lori Gottlieb many times for some mental health advice. We specifically talked to her about this book, a story about being a therapist that goes to therapy, in 2019, and she told us: “I can see other people’s blind spots clearly because I have the vantage point of being outside their lives. But it’s very hard to see our own, and I wanted to show my humanity in this way, too.” This is a must-read if you’re curious about the therapy process! 

Buy Here – $17

For healing:

‘Blossoms and Bones’ by Kim Krans

Love art, especially when it’s authentically used to express pain, confusion and ultimately, healing? Look no further than Kim Krans’ beautiful graphic novel about overcoming an eating disorder, and infertility. In the book, she draws as a way to overcome feeling like she’s “never enough,” a message constantly echoed in our culture.

Buy Here – $22

‘The Body Keeps the Score’ by Bessel van der Kolk

This book is filled with scientific data and van der Kolk’s own experiences healing trauma in his patients for the past few decades. It’s a must-read for anyone who’s trying to understand the impacts of traumatic stress. You learn that trauma’s effects manifest not only in the mind, but also heavily in the body. Van der Kolk offers some pathways for healing.

Buy Here – $12

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