This is the true memoir of Paul Kalanithi, a brilliant and conscience neurosurgeon who discovered at the age of 36 that he had terminal lung cancer. Kalanithi had spent his younger years reading the classics and pondering the mystery of human existence and mortality. After studying literature through several degrees, he realized that his best opportunity to study life and the spirit of humanity would be in a field of science rather than literature or philosophy. He was reaching a point of great success in his life, nearing the completion of his residency and ready to start a career as a neuroscentist and professor, when the questions about life and mortality that had always intrigued him most came home to rest in his own life. How should he live his life when he knows that the time he has left is fleeting?
Why It's Worth Reading:
Real talk - this book was hard for me. It hit very close to home. I am very close to the age that Kalanithi was when his cancer was diagnosed. He had an 8 month old baby at the time that he passed. My youngest son just turned 8 months old last week. The words of others had a tremendous impact on his understanding and empathy for others. Yep. Reading about how similar some aspects of his life were to mine allowed me to relate to him so closely that it was hard to seperate from the book at times. But that kind of connection to a book fosters the moments when you realize that what you're reading might change who you are as a person. Reading about Paul's decisions to have a child and continue working in spite of his diagnosis, about the way his relationships grew and changed as his disease progressed, made me take a good, hard look at my own decisions and relationships. The impetus to generate that level of introspection is a gift that Kalanithi gave me, and many of his readers, in leaving this book as part of his legacy. I finished reading this the day before Thanksgiving, and there is no book in my recent memory that has done a better job of encouraging me to count my blessings. For that, I will always be thankful.
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Awards/Accolades: #1 New York Times Bestseller
Do We Own a Copy?: 2 copies