Really good literature, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, works because it’s about something that connects people. The human condition is vastly individual, but there are certain universal experiences we all share. And one of those experiences is learning how to cope when someone you love has died or is dying.
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Some books are written by experts who want to help people deal with death. We’ve already compiled lists of books on grief and children’s books about death. But there are also others written about very specific circumstances that end up resonating with a wider audience, like Tuesdays With Morrie.
Albom has gone on to write several more inspirational books, both fiction and nonfiction. He and many other authors have found success in mining their deeply personal experiences in books. If you were one of the many people who deeply related to Tuesdays With Morrie, you may also connect with these books.
Fiction Books Similar to Tuesdays With Morrie
Good inspirational works of fiction can be tricky to find. When people write inspirational nonfiction, it is grounded in real-life experiences. Fiction, on the other hand, can become trite or cliched. But when inspirational fiction works, it can become transformative to read.
1. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Bachman
The grumpy old man is an archetypal character in film and literature. But the titular character in A Man Called Ove feels very complex and real. Ove is a classic curmudgeon, not a mere trope. He is routine-oriented and short-tempered. He regards everyone with distrust and dislike.
When a messy but exuberant and loving new family moves next door, there are bound to be clashes. But Ove finds, to his own surprise, that he begins to enjoy the chaos they bring to his life. This book is a surprisingly charming read that still deals with a bit of darkness. The Swedish film adaptation was made in 2015, and an American adaptation starring and produced by Tom Hanks is in the works.
2. The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo
The subject matter of this book seems to vary pretty significantly from Tuesdays With Morrie. The Alchemist is a fictional book steeped in magical realism. It follows a young shepherd boy named Santiago who travels to Egypt to find treasure he has dreamed about.
Eventually, he learns the treasure he dreamed about was really located in an old ruined church from the beginning of his journey. It turns out that there is a valuable lesson that is thematically similar to Tuesdays With Morrie. There are things and people in your life that you should value before it’s too late.
3. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Albom’s meetings with Morrie changed him profoundly as a person and shaped his career. Six years after the release of Tuesdays With Morrie, Albom released The Five People You Meet in Heaven.
In it, an elderly man named Eddie is killed while trying to save a young child. When he awakens in the afterlife, he meets five people whose lives he knowingly or unknowingly had a great impact on. Like Tuesdays With Morrie, it’s full of lessons about the surprising ways humans connect with one another.
4. The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt
The Children's Book follows several families whose lives are loosely connected. At the center of the book is the Wellwood family, which is full of creative souls. The family’s children grow up supported by their mother, a noted children’s book author.
But as they come of age, their whimsical lives are uprooted as World War I begins. This book deals with topics like found family versus birth family, and the surprising ways our lives intertwine with others.
5. The Green Mile by Stephen King
King is mostly known for writing books that are filled with horror and steeped in the supernatural. The Green Mile does have supernatural elements to it. One of the main characters, John Coffey, possesses a mysterious ability to heal people.
But that ability is less important to the plot than the interactions of the characters. As the narrator Paul Edgecombe looks back, he reflects on the lessons he learned as a death row supervisor. While he saw a lot of cruelty, he also experienced unparalleled kindness and compassion.
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Nonfiction Books Similar to Tuesdays With Morrie
Part of what made Tuesdays With Morrie such a success was the deep connection between writer and subject. In these other books, the writers mined relatable material from their own lives, too.
6. Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Bird by Bird is part instructional guide on being a writer and part moving memoir. Lamott is without vanity as a writer. She discusses her own personal challenges and flaws. Throughout the book, she doesn’t shy away from her serious struggles with substance abuse, her unexpected journey towards motherhood, and her hard-won faith. She also takes a meditative approach to discussing her father, who was a talented writer in his own right.
Lamott shares his wry wisdom that inspired her as a child. But she also doesn’t shy away from discussing the challenges of the end of his life from terminal cancer. This book deftly handles a wide gamut of emotions.
7. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
At Carnegie Mellon University, there is a tradition where professors are invited to give a lecture and pretend that it will be the last one they’ll ever give. When computer science professor Randy Pausch was invited to participate, he didn’t have to pretend.
He had recently been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, and only had months to live. The resulting lecture he gave was so wise and emotional that a video of it went viral. Pausch fleshed out that speech with some additional stories and it turned into this moving book, appropriately titled The Last Lecture.
8. Dinner With Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent
In Tuesdays With Morrie, a journalist reconnects with an old friend with weekly meetups. In Dinner With Edward, a journalist makes a new friend and begins meeting him for weekly dinners. Vincent began checking in on her friend’s elderly father as a favor. But the pair turned out to have a great deal in common.
Edward was a recent widower while Vincent’s marriage was falling apart. They were both dealing with profound loneliness. Their friendship would end up saving them both.
9. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Dr. Atul Gawande
In Being Mortal, Gawande delves into the history of end-of-life medical care across the United States and Europe in the last century. But he also discusses his own experiences dealing with patients and their families as a surgeon. He is transparent about the way our current healthcare systems fail to take care of patients emotionally and spiritually.
Elderly patients, in particular, are living longer due to medical advances, but their quality of life is not necessarily improved. If you have a loved one who is elderly or very ill, this book can provide a lot of context to their treatment. Be sure to read our Being Mortal review for more information.
10. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
Doughty graduated school with a degree in medieval history, but she still felt directionless. She took a job at a crematory to support herself and ended up finding her calling.
Many people shy away from careers that have to do with death out of fear, but Doughty though had always been fascinated by the end of life and wasn’t scared off by funeral practices.
She became absorbed in learning all she could about death culture and shares it Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. She went on to become a licensed mortician and now advocates for alternative funeral practices. To learn more, read our Smoke Gets in Your Eyes review.
Books Reminiscent of Tuesdays With Morrie
Humans have a complicated relationship with death. As a result, we tend to shield ourselves from dealing with death or interacting with people who are dying. But death is the only constant in life. Eventually, we all die. So do the people we love.
When that time comes, it can feel very isolating. But thanks to books like Tuesdays With Morrie and the other titles on this list, we can feel less alone.
Want more recommendations? Read our guide on the best inspiring fiction books.