6. 'The Year Of Magical Thinking' By Joan Didion
True Didion fans are likely to fight me on this, but if you have never read any Didion then The Year of Magical Thinking is a great place to start. As is the case with all of Didion's first-person essay collections, Didion doesn't tip-toe around with her words. Instead, she bangs and makes noises and, in doing so, forces you to feel. She takes an epic loss and turns it into raw emotion without holding back a thing.