Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Memoir Monday... When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi...  "At the age of 36, 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."


How does a doctor become a patient gracefully? This is the story of how Dr. Paul Kalanithi dealt with changing roles from doctor to patient, and confronting what would turn out to be the end of his life. I watched a YouTube video he had done for the book, and was so effected by it. By his calmness, by his tenderness as he held his infant daughter, by his thoughts that he use to have as the doctor seeing the patient, and how he imagines his own physicians thoughts. This is on my TBR list now. And here is the video I watched...



6 comments:

Harvee Lau - Book Dilettante said...

I read few memoirs but this one does sound compelling.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Suzanne, I am listening to this memoir now and enjoying it - so sad that someone with such potential had to go through this.

thecuecard said...

Heartbreaking video, and I'm sure the book is too. He had so much potential; it's a very sad fate.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Harvee,
Yes, it seemed like for a while, everyone was writing a memoir, but I think that few leave us with something tangible. This memoir looks as though it can touch many people in different ways and I look forward to reading it.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Diane,
Does Paul Kalanithi read the audiobook? I imagine if he does that it's rather haunting. And yes, it is so sad. Especially for his wife and child. I did not know when I first read about this book that he had passed away. It seemed that he had beat it. That in itself was shocking to me.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Susan,
Heartbreaking is exactly what this is. And the video... I was so moved.

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