What We Read When We Grieve


There are plenty of surprises during the grieving process, such as the unexpected emotional meltdowns in the unlikeliest of places. One unanticipated side effect (aftershock?) was my indifference to fiction immediately following Robert’s death. The time I most needed to get lost in a good book, I found myself shunning my favorite genre. My theory? I didn’t have the patience for other people’s stories; having lived with an alcoholic for years, my story seemed more dramatic than anything I would find in the pages of a novel.

Not only that, seemingly overnight I became a slow reader. (I don’t recall reading that in any of the bereavement brochures.) It lasted almost a year. Eventualy I began finding my way back by reading other widows’ tales. Over time, I reverted to my normal reading habits. But that blip on the radar of my reading life intrigued me. Why the change?

What type of books were you drawn to when you became a widow? Did your reading habits change in any way? Were you drawn to widows’ tales? Did you switch from fiction to non-fiction? Bury yourself in a series? Find yourself engrossed in a particular genre? Perhaps you stopped reading for a while.

I’m writing an article about what we read after experiencing a loss, specifically the loss of a spouse and would love to hear from other widows. Please contact me directly at licata@optonline.net or post comments here at Widow 2.0 or on the Widow 2.0 Facebook page.


  • “To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” ~W. Somerset Maugham
  • “We read to know we’re not alone.” ~William Nicholson
  • “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” ~Stephen King
  • “Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” ~Voltaire
  • “Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” ~Anna Quindlen
  • “Reading brings us unknown friends” ~Honore de Balzac

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