Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of Chiropractic appointments. I needed a little help with my back. It’s letting me know I’m not getting any younger. 😉 It’s feeling ten times better, so I’m planning on going back to work next week.
But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about what I’ve been reading. I just finished the memoir “When Breath Becomes Air.” It was written by a doctor when he found out he was dying of cancer. The cover and blurb are below:
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • This inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?
NAMED ONE OF PASTE’S BEST MEMOIRS OF THE DECADE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BYThe New York Times Book Review • People • NPR • The Washington Post • Slate • Harper’s Bazaar • Time Out New York • Publishers Weekly • BookPage
Finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Books for a Better Life Award in Inspirational Memoir
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.
Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.
It’s a great story about finding your priorities when you know your time on earth is shorter. It helps you put things into perspective. Even though we don’t know when our last day will be. Make sure you don’t leave anything unsaid to the important people in your lives. I try to live each day like it’ll be my last. I started doing this long before I read the memoir much to my boys’ chagrin. They get tired of me telling them I love them all the time. Although, there was a time when they liked hearing it.
Anyway, this is a great memoir to read. It helps you find what you really value in life, and it makes you realize how precious life is, so don’t waste it. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. If you get a chance, pick up the book. You’ll be glad you did.
I’ve started another thriller, but I’m always looking for book recommendations, so if you have any leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!
6 thoughts on “What I’ve been Reading”
Your post hit home for me, Lisa. My brother died the same year (2015) though in July, and of the same disease. It was terrible to watch him fade. I wish he’d taken care of some unfinished business before he passed, but perhaps all was well anyway, and things worked out for the highest best. Cheers for the review, my friend!
You’re welcome, Sharon. I’m sorry to hear about your brother. It is a horrible disease. My sister in law passed away from ovarian cancer, but she fought bravely for 10 years. I think sometimes the treatment is as bad as the disease. Hopefully, we’ll find a cure soon. Hugs to you and thanks for stopping by!
Fingers crossed that the cure is around the corner 🙏
Thanks for sharing–this sounds like a sad, but powerful read.
It was. It helps you put things into perspective.