books, Literary Commentary, Philosophy

ideas || When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

As thought-provoking as this book was, I am GLAD to be done reading, discussing, and thinking about it. "When Breath Becomes Air" was written by Paul Kalanithi after he was diagnosed with cancer at 36. He was in his last year of neurosurgery residency (read: he had his whole career ahead of him) at the time. The book is interesting in many ways. First, he's both the doctor and the patient, and he shares that perspective. Second, his writing is unique in that he was a huge literature lover and just all-around a very well-read person! Third, it puts the onus of answering some of the book's big questions on you: the reader. The odds of getting cancer in a lifetime are something around 1 in 3 right now. So it reads like a simple, universal story: this is his story, but it’s just as much your story, my story, everyone’s story. Really heavy stuff. I recommend it, but be mentally ready when you read it!