HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Loading...

When Breath Becomes Air

by Paul Kalanithi

Other authors: Lucy Kalanithi (Epilogue)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,6312083,393 (4.23)240
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 240 mentions

English (212)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (214)
Showing 1-5 of 212 (next | show all)
A powerful memoir about a man you don’t fully understand until you hear his wife’s words about him, this book tells the story of a doctor turned patient, pursuing his own life’s meaning as it’s coming to an end. He’s a good writer on his own, but the story’s strength comes from knowing that you literally are holding part of what made his last year meaningful in your hands. Published posthumously, the book itself could use some polishing, but there’s no denying the power and inspiration in the story, particularly in the epilogue. ( )
  jesmlet | Apr 23, 2019 |
This is an incredibly profound memoir by a neurosurgeon who learns that he is dying of a particularly malicious form of lung cancer. It is deeply philosophical and addresses such questions as 'What is the role of a physician?', 'What is the meaning of life?' and of course 'What is the meaning of death?'. If you know someone with cancer, you should read it for them. If you don't, you should read it for yourself, for the sheer beauty if the author's prose. ( )
  Unkletom | Apr 3, 2019 |
When Breath Becomes Air is heartbreaking.

A first-person point of view of a life interrupted, and how to continue the trajectory of success when life has other plans. ( )
  JaredOrlando | Mar 18, 2019 |
Memoir of a neurosurgeon diagnosed with terminal cancer near the end of his residency. Two sections, pre & post diagnosis. Well-written; a clear-eyed but hopeful meditation on death, mortality, and what makes life worth living.
  hgoldsmith | Feb 15, 2019 |
Awesome book. Got a lot out of this read and may well read again sometime. ( )
  DannyKeep | Feb 8, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 212 (next | show all)
“When Breath Becomes Air” is gripping from the start. But it becomes even more so as Dr. Kalanithi tries to reinvent himself in various ways with no idea what will happen.

Part of this book’s tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him — passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die — so well. None of it is maudlin. Nothing is exaggerated. As he wrote to a friend: “It’s just tragic enough and just imaginable enough.” And just important enough to be unmissable.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Kalanithiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kalanithi, LucyEpiloguesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Verghese, AbrahamForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
I knew with certainty that I would never be a doctor.
Quotations
I knew with certainty that I would never be a doctor. I stretched out in the sun, relaxing on a desert plateau just above our house. My uncle, a doctor, like so many of my relatives, had asked me earlier that day what I planned on doing for a career, now that I was heading off to college, and the question barely registered. If you had forced me to answer, I suppose I would have said a writer, but frankly, thoughts of any career at this point seemed absurd. I was leaving this small Arizona town in a few weeks, and I felt less like someone preparing to climb a career ladder than a buzzing electron about to achieve escape velocity, flinging out into a strange and sparkling universe.
Though we had free will, we were also biological organisms -- the brain was an organ, subject to all the laws of physics, too! Literature provided a rich account of human meaning; the brain, the, was the machinery that somehow enabled it. It seemed like magic.
Literature provided, I believed, the richest material for moral reflection.
Moral speculation was puny compared moral action.
I had come to see language as an almost supernatural force, existing between people, bringing our brains, shielded in centimeter-thick skulls, into communion.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 081298840X, Hardcover)

For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?
 
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.

Advance praise for When Breath Becomes Air
 
“Rattling, heartbreaking, and ultimately beautiful, the too-young Dr. Kalanithi’s memoir is proof that the dying are the ones who have the most to teach us about life.”—Atul Gawande

“Thanks to When Breath Becomes Air, those of us who never met Paul Kalanithi will both mourn his death and benefit from his life. This is one of a handful of books I consider to be a universal donor—I would recommend it to anyone, everyone.”—Ann Patchett

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 07 Oct 2015 23:31:43 -0400)

"At the age of 36, on the verge of a completing a decade's worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi's health began to falter. He started losing weight and was wracked by waves of excruciating back pain. A CT scan confirmed what Paul, deep down, had suspected: he had stage four lung cancer, widely disseminated. One day, he was a doctor making a living treating the dying, and the next, he was a patient struggling to live. Just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined, the culmination of decades of striving, evaporated. With incredible literary quality, philosophical acuity, and medical authority, When Breath Becomes Air approaches the questions raised by facing mortality from the dual perspective of the neurosurgeon who spent a decade meeting patients in the twilight between life and death, and the terminally ill patient who suddenly found himself living in that liminality. At the base of Paul's inquiry are essential questions, such as: What makes life worth living in the face of death? What happens when the future, instead of being a ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present? When faced with a terminal diagnosis, what does it mean to have a child, to nuture a new life as another one fades away? As Paul wrote, "Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn't know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn't know when. But now I knew it acutely. The problem wasn't really a scientific one. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live." Paul Kalanithi passed away in March 2015, while working on this book"--… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum

Paul Kalanithi's book When Breath Becomes Air was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Sign up to get a pre-publication copy in exchange for a review.

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.23)
0.5
1 4
1.5 1
2 23
2.5 10
3 80
3.5 38
4 263
4.5 75
5 328

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 134,226,947 books! | Top bar: Always visible