Consolation in times of sorrow
Whatever you may be going through, these books may provide answers to your pain and suffering. When you need some solace, insight, inspiration these books provide just that offering a different perspective on life or even a hidden opportunity, restoring your faith in life once again.
A Tale for the Time Being (Novel) by Ruth Ozeki
The Tale for a Time Being is a novel by Ruth Ozeki that tells the story of two women, separated by time and space, whose lives are interconnected in unexpected ways.
The first protagonist, Nao, is a teenage girl living in Tokyo who is struggling with depression and bullying. In an effort to make sense of her life, she decides to write a diary about her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun. Through her diary, Nao shares her struggles and her hopes, as well as stories about her family and Japanese culture.
The second protagonist is Ruth, a writer who lives on an island in British Columbia. One day, while walking on the beach, she discovers a mysterious package containing Nao's diary, a watch, and some letters. As she reads Nao's diary, she becomes increasingly fascinated with Nao's story and begins to investigate her life and her family's history.
Through the alternating perspectives of Nao and Ruth, the novel explores themes of identity, family, memory, and the nature of time. The story also incorporates elements of Zen Buddhism, quantum physics, and Japanese folklore.
A stunning story about living through difficult times.
When Bad Things Happen To Good People (Non-fiction) by Harold S. Kushner
When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a book by Harold S. Kushner, a rabbi and writer. The book addresses the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people, particularly in the context of religion.
In the book, Kushner draws on his own experiences as a rabbi and a parent who lost his son to a rare disease. He argues that the conventional religious explanations for why bad things happen, such as "God's will" or "divine punishment," are not adequate or comforting in the face of real-life tragedies.
Instead, Kushner offers a new perspective on suffering that emphasizes the importance of compassion and empathy. He suggests that instead of asking why bad things happen to good people, we should focus on how we can support and comfort those who are suffering. He also argues that it is possible to find meaning and purpose in life even in the face of tragedy.
The book has been widely read and praised for its thoughtful and compassionate approach to a difficult and universal question.
A Grace Disguised (Non-fiction) by Jerry Sittser
A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss is a book by Jerry Sittser, a professor of theology and author. The book is a memoir that explores Sittser's experience of grief and loss, as well as his reflections on the nature of suffering and faith.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part tells the story of how Sittser's life was forever changed when a drunk driver struck the car carrying his family, killing his mother, his wife, and his young daughter. Sittser shares his initial shock and grief, as well as his struggles to rebuild his life and find a new sense of purpose.
The second part of the book explores the nature of suffering and loss. Sittser draws on his own experiences, as well as on the insights of theologians, philosophers, and psychologists, to explore the different ways that people respond to suffering. He also reflects on the role of faith in helping people find meaning and hope in the midst of tragedy.
The final part of the book focuses on the process of healing and transformation that can result from suffering. Sittser suggests that through the experience of loss, people can develop greater empathy and compassion for others, a deeper appreciation for life, and a more profound sense of faith and spirituality.
Overall, A Grace Disguised is a deeply personal and reflective book that offers insight and comfort to those who have experienced loss and grief. The book has been widely praised for its honesty, wisdom, and compassionate approach to a difficult subject.
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A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I train mental health professionals, librarians, teachers as well as readers on using bibliotherapy in their own work through our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course. We also curate reading lists/personalised book prescriptions for clients based on their individual needs. This is our signature personalised reading service.
You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation.
In this role, I have had the opportunity to publish a book called The Happiness Mindset, and write various literary essays and pieces for newspapers and magazines. I have undertaken bibliotherapy workshops for The United Nations, various libraries in New York and corporate organisations in the UK and US. My book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice, New York Observer, Sydney Telegraph and various other publications. If you are a parent you might enjoy a podcast I’ve recorded with speech and language therapist Sunita Shah on Raising A Reader & Storyteller. And if you’d like to connect, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.booktherapy.io.
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