When Breath Becomes Air Kindle Ö When Breath Kindle


When Breath Becomes Air [PDF / EPUB] When Breath Becomes Air 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 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 When Breath Kindle - future he and his wife had imagined evaporated When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi s transformation from a na ve 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 , 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.


10 thoughts on “When Breath Becomes Air

  1. says:

    I finished the book I m glad that I perservered with it It s quite an odd book and an overall rating might be the sum of the parts, but is not going to reflect the writing or content of those parts Ratings, part I, 1 star, part II, 3 stars and part III, 5 stars.The first part, the foreword, by Abraham Verghese, was verbose, hagiographic and contradictory view spoiler ie full of shit hide spoiler He said he didn t know the author at all until after his death Then he says well he did me I finished the book I m glad that I perservered with it It s quite an odd book and an overall rating might be the sum of the parts, but is not going to reflect the writing or content of those parts Ratings, part I, 1 star, part II, 3 stars and part III, 5 stars.The first part, the foreword, by Abraham Verghese, was verbose, hagiographic and contradictory view spoiler ie full of shit hide spoiler He said he didn t know the author at all until after his death Then he says well he did meet him and they had a long email correspondence And so it goes He says it s the foreword but should be the afterword Verghese must have sat there with a thesaurus composing endless sentences of praise for the author, who had, like most of us, never accomplished anything much out of the ordinary I dnf d this part and give it a whole, rounded up 1 star.The second part, I feel churlish writing this, I really do The author had an interesting career in his short life, mostly as a student He had a MA in English Literature, another MA in History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine, a BSc in Human Biology and finally an MD from Yale, before going on to be a neurosurgeon It was in his brief career as a neurosurgeon and scientist he was diagnosed with cancer He tried his best to be introspective and give guidance through the exponentially increasing awfulness that is the journey through this dread disease The problem was, he wasn t a natural writer although he d wanted to be one all his life Hi prose might have been just the stuff of essays at his Ivy League universities, but to me it was reminiscent of a writers group where each attempt to outdo the other with portent laden phrases and lots of deep literary references It was tedious in parts But he did his best and he was a good doctor, husband and father, and this was only his debut book Five stars for the man, but three stars, just, for this central section of the book.The long afterword was written by his widow She is a doctor too, but could easily be a writer She just has it and her late husband, who wanted it so much, didn t She rounds out the story he told, and continued on at length in the most interesting and well written part of the book Her ability to convey emotion without getting either lyrical or sappy was excellent Five stars Dr Lucy Kalanithi should have been credited as co author I hope she goes on writingIt won t make sense to read the last part without the second, but you can easily skip the foreword, all it adds is unnecessary verbiage and lots of pages to make it lookthan just the thin tome it really is.________________An example of the really rather awful writing that got me down You may disagree, you may feel that the three words I suggest dawn came up, are no substitute for the 150 poetic, lyrical, descriptive ones the author wrote instead I m too hard, right view spoilerAnd then we would sit and watch as the first first hint of sunlight, a light tinge of day blue would leak out of the eastern horizon, slowly erasing the stars The day sky would spread wide and high until the first ray of the sun made an appearance The morning commuters began to animate the distant south Lake Tahoe roads but craning your head back you could see the day s blue darken halfway across the sky and to the west the night remained yet unconquered Pitch black, stars in full glimmer, the full moon still pinned in the sky To the east the full light of the day beamed toward you To the west, night reigned with no hint of surrender No philosopher can explain the sublime better than this, standing between day and night It was as if this was the moment God said, Let there be light Very poetic, very beautiful image So anyway, dawn came up hide spoiler


  2. says:

    As I finished this book with tears running down my face I asked myself, Why did you read this book You know it was going to be sad, how could a man dying of lung cancer before the age of forty be anything but Yet to just classify this memoir, to classify this novel as such is to devalue the man he was He was a lover of literature, a neurosurgeon, a scientist, a son and brother, a husband and father He tried to live each day to the best of his ability, he helped many and he acknowledged the As I finished this book with tears running down my face I asked myself, Why did you read this book You know it was going to be sad, how could a man dying of lung cancer before the age of forty be anything but Yet to just classify this memoir, to classify this novel as such is to devalue the man he was He was a lover of literature, a neurosurgeon, a scientist, a son and brother, a husband and father He tried to live each day to the best of his ability, he helped many and he acknowledged the doctor patient relationship had a big disconnect with the reality of life, how their lives would change after being diagnosed with a serious illness He was not a saint, he cried when given a death sentence, but his thoughts were not always for him, he always wanted to make sure his wife had a life after he was gone So in many ways this was a profoundly beautiful read by a remarkable man His wife says it best, What happened to Paul was tragic, but he was not a tragedy


  3. says:

    A gasping, desperate, powerful little book, bigger on the inside than outside It s a little bit about dying, butabout being alive.


  4. says:

    Oh dear I was always told not to speak ill of the dead It feels awful to give a three star rating to a nice guy by all accounts who is now dead But I simply did not find this book compelling or insightful enough It is mildly interesting to learn about neurosurgery as a specialty and to read the author s thoughts as he faced diagnosis, illness and then death I always felt that the author was holding back that it was too clinical, too calm, just not passionate enough The first time I felt Oh dear I was always told not to speak ill of the dead It feels awful to give a three star rating to a nice guy by all accounts who is now dead But I simply did not find this book compelling or insightful enough It is mildly interesting to learn about neurosurgery as a specialty and to read the author s thoughts as he faced diagnosis, illness and then death I always felt that the author was holding back that it was too clinical, too calm, just not passionate enough The first time I felt that I was reading something worthwhile was in the 26 page epilogue by the author s wife I guess the best way to say it is this this is a quick read And of course it should not be


  5. says:

    I don t think you should read this book because the story of an incredibly gifted man who had his life taken away at such a young age might give you the motivation to live lifefully I think you should read this book because that talented, inspiring man has incredibly important things to say derived from his own experiences, and it s important to listen and learn from them Read this book with the knowledge that you might not always be able to understand everything someone goes through, bu I don t think you should read this book because the story of an incredibly gifted man who had his life taken away at such a young age might give you the motivation to live lifefully I think you should read this book because that talented, inspiring man has incredibly important things to say derived from his own experiences, and it s important to listen and learn from them Read this book with the knowledge that you might not always be able to understand everything someone goes through, but you can set aside the time to listen to their story and hopefully give them the dignity and respect they deserve as a human being, in life or deathHuman knowledge is never contained in one person It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never completePaul Kalanithi


  6. says:

    Do yourself a favour and don t listened to the ending of this book while doing your makeupTheres no way to review a book where the author died too young from cancer leaving his wife and 8 months old baby behind without feeling like an asshole for not giving it 5 stars.That s whyoften than not, I don t give a rating to the autobiographies I read I just don t feel comfortable rating someone s life.Cancer and the death of a close one is something most of us unfortunately can relate to and Do yourself a favour and don t listened to the ending of this book while doing your makeupTheres no way to review a book where the author died too young from cancer leaving his wife and 8 months old baby behind without feeling like an asshole for not giving it 5 stars.That s whyoften than not, I don t give a rating to the autobiographies I read I just don t feel comfortable rating someone s life.Cancer and the death of a close one is something most of us unfortunately can relate to and I think it s why this book got so popular.I m glad the author was able to write this book since it was his dream but in my opinion the best part of it was the epilogue from his wife I m sure it s where most of us ended up ugly crying


  7. says:

    Sharing this interesting New York Times interview with Dr Lucy Kalanithi.She sounds like a very special person too Upgrading this to 5 stars, not sure why I didn t before After finishing this profound, emotional memoir I feel like I lost a good friend.Thank you Paul Kalanithi for this beautiful gift you left for us, wherever you are Paul Kalanithi Baby Cad Sharing this interesting New York Times interview with Dr Lucy Kalanithi.She sounds like a very special person too Upgrading this to 5 stars, not sure why I didn t before After finishing this profound, emotional memoir I feel like I lost a good friend.Thank you Paul Kalanithi for this beautiful gift you left for us, wherever you are Paul Kalanithi Baby Cady during his last days of life Kalanithi with wife Lucy and Baby CadyI was going to try to write a longer review but my mind is not into it these days.All I can say this book will stay with me for a long time and everything good you ve heard about how amazing it is it sthan well deserved.Sad, poignant, raw, beautiful


  8. says:

    1 12 16 Update Just wanted to mention that this book goes on sale today Its an amazing story Paul Kalanithi studied literature at Stanford University For his thesis, he studied the work of Walt Whitman, a poet , who a century before, was possessed by the same questions that haunted him Kalanithi wanted to find a way to understand and describe what he termed the Physiological Spiritual Man Kalanithi had a passion for literature He began to see language as an almost supernatural force, ex 1 12 16 Update Just wanted to mention that this book goes on sale today Its an amazing story Paul Kalanithi studied literature at Stanford University For his thesis, he studied the work of Walt Whitman, a poet , who a century before, was possessed by the same questions that haunted him Kalanithi wanted to find a way to understand and describe what he termed the Physiological Spiritual Man Kalanithi had a passion for literature He began to see language as an almost supernatural force, existing between people, bringing our brains, shielded in centimeter thick skulls, into communion There must be a way, I thought, that the language of life as experienced of passion, hunger, of love bore some relationship, however convoluted, to the language of neurons, digestive tracks, and heartbeats Paul Kalanithi s thesis was well received but neuroscience as literary criticism didn t quite fit in the English Department nor did he There was a question he couldn t let go of Where did Biology, morality, literature, and philosophy intersect.Kalanithi consulted a premed advisor set aside his passion for literature and figured out the logistics to get ready for medical school He was still searching for answers to the question what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay When he was in his fourth year medical school, he watched many classmates choose to specialize in less demanding areas, radiology or dermatology for example It puzzled him that many students focused on lifestyle specialities those withhumane hours, higher salaries, and lower pressures For himself, he chose neurosurgery as a specialty Kalanithi was diagnosed with Cancer he actually was almost certain he had cancer many months before getting an X Ray or MRI Once it was clear that the cancer had invaded multiple organ systems severe illness wasn life altering it was life shattering , decisions needed to be made His wife Lucy, father, siblings, doctors were all involved and chemo would start soon Clarifying the rest of his life only age 36 at the time , was going to be a process He and Lucy went to visit a sperm bank to preserve gametes and options They had planned on having kids at the end of his residency To think Paul Kalanithi wrote this book relentlessly fueled with purpose during the last year of his life never got to finish his life s plan. yet he still worked that last year But he was racing against time With this book he was hoping to confront death examine it accept it as a physician and a patient He wanted to help other people understand death and face their mortality It s not exotic..but tragic enough and imaginable enough he says There is a beautiful but so sad Epilogue by Lucy from Paul s wife at the end of the book Their baby had been born eight months before Paul died March 9th, 2015 Lucy reports that Paul let himself be vulnerable and comforted by family and friends. and even when terminally ill, he remained fully alive Thank You Random House, Netgalley, and Paul and Lucy , Kalanithi


  9. says:

    I read this almost two months ago and realized I never reviewed it When I finished the book, I just couldn t review it It s a small book, but it s powerful I didn t shed any tears at the end of it, but I remember sitting there physically shaking and feeling really numb and tingly A book has never impacted me that way before, and I m not even sure why I read the book in the first place since I knew what I was getting myself into Wait, I know why I wanted to read it It was very therapeutic f I read this almost two months ago and realized I never reviewed it When I finished the book, I just couldn t review it It s a small book, but it s powerful I didn t shed any tears at the end of it, but I remember sitting there physically shaking and feeling really numb and tingly A book has never impacted me that way before, and I m not even sure why I read the book in the first place since I knew what I was getting myself into Wait, I know why I wanted to read it It was very therapeutic for me I don t want to pull back the curtain too far on my life, but I ve seen the havoc cancer causes out of nowhere in people s lives People very close to me I ve held my grandmother s hand as she took her last breath after battling pancreatic cancer My grandfather wasn t far behind her thanks to cancer in his lungs and throat My dad has been battling colon cancer for the last two years He s up and down I think chemo doesbad than good It s definitely taken its toll on him, but he s fighting All this cancer and death hitting so close to home left me in this weird phase two years ago where I got to learn what a panic attack feels like It s like having a heart attack, but not really, but close It s scary I think cancer blasting through my family while I was in the process of trying to move across the country just really shook me up I still deal with the effects of it sometimes I think God was just trying to show me there are some things in life I can t control I can pick my job, my house, what to watch on Netflix, but I have no power over death or cancer or a heart attack or a car crash or any of it YeahSo this book was helpful I felt like I really connected with it and it was something I needed to read You might not have quite the same reaction, but I still highly recommend reading it Fiction is always great to escape the dark realities of the world we live in, but sometimes confronting those realities head on is extremely beneficial


  10. says:

    alternative title How the upper class dies Autobiographical book by a guy who s trained and studied all his life, nearly became a writer, then chose to become a doctor instead that s what happens when you come from a family of medical doctors , and is diagnosed with cancer at the end of his training Torschlusspanik 1 sets in and he has to write that one book he always wanted to write It s partially an autobiography of his training, a hymn to his wife, and a bit on patient doctor relations alternative title How the upper class dies Autobiographical book by a guy who s trained and studied all his life, nearly became a writer, then chose to become a doctor instead that s what happens when you come from a family of medical doctors , and is diagnosed with cancer at the end of his training Torschlusspanik 1 sets in and he has to write that one book he always wanted to write It s partially an autobiography of his training, a hymn to his wife, and a bit on patient doctor relationship.Sometimes it s way too pretentious for its own good, lots of classical lit, lots of poetry quotes, lots of namedropping who on earth reads Wittgenstein to a newborn and sometimes it s too sentimental and just straight up walks into Tuesdays with Morrie territory It is not an ugly death for that the family is too well trained in medicine to fight ultimately senseless fights, too well acquainted with death to cause a fuss, too rich to die in a dump, too well connected to suffer bad doctors.The last chapter written by the wife after his death is probably the best still, I wouldn t recommend it, not much new, not that interesting 2 Would make a good book for Oprah s Book Club.I can guarantee you that yours and my death will be much worse than what is described here Here there is no constant vomiting, no blood, no mucus, no week long screaming from the pain Death is too clean, like the book itself 1 One of the best words we have in German literally gate closing panic , it usually denotes a woman who starts to behave unusual once she realises that her child bearing age window is closing, but it can be used to describe everyone who starts to behave unusual once time starts to run out 2 It feels extremely mean to write that about a guy s work who has just died


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