- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Bodley Head; 2016 edition (16 December 2016)
- Language: English
- ASIN: 1847923674
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.6 x 20.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 551 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
When Breath Becomes Air Hardcover – 16 Dec 2016
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"A vital book about dying. Awe-inspiring and exquisite. Obligatory reading for the living." (Nigella Lawson)
"Rattling. Heartbreaking. Beautiful." (Atul Gawande, author of BEING MORTAL)
"A great, indelible book ... as intimate and illuminating as Atul Gawande’s “Being Mortal,” to cite only one recent example of a doctor’s book that has had exceptionally wide appeal ... I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option ... gripping from the start ... 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." (New York Times)
"Powerful and poignant." (The Sunday Times)
"Less a memoir than a reflection on life and purpose… [A] vital book." (The Economist)
"Extraordinary…Remarkable… luminous, revelatory memoir about mortality and what makes being alive meaningful ... Lyrical, intimate, insistent and profound. Kalanithi had the mind of the polymath and the ear of a poet." (Heather Hodson Daily Telegraph)
"Powerful and poignant… Elegantly written posthumous memoir… Should be compulsory for anyone who intends to be a doctor… A profound reflection on the meaning of life." (Daisy Goodwin Sunday Times)
"A stark, fascinating, well-written and heroic memoir." (Stefanie Marsh The Times)
"The power of this book lies in its eloquent insistence that we are all confronting our mortality every day, whether we know it or not. The real question we face, Kalanithi writes, is not how long, but rather how, we will live – and the answer does not appear in any medical textbook." (Alice Okeeffe Guardian)
"Exceptional." (Katie Law Evening Standard)
For readers of Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal and Henry Marsh’s Do No Harm, an unforgettably powerful and heart-breaking book about how to live.See all Product description
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― Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air.
An English Literature and Human Biology Graduate, Paul Kalanithi went ahead to practice medicine and become a neurosurgeon to find an answer to the question - "Where did Biology, Mortality, Literature and Philosophy intersect?"
'When Breath Becomes Air' is the heartbreaking memoir of Paul Kalanithi. At the age of thirty-six, at the peak of his career as a neurosurgeon, when he with his wife was looking forward to a beautiful future ahead, Dr. Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV of lung cancer.
His story shows us how it feels to see death approaching, and shattering all the plans that one had planned for the future. How the deadly disease cut short the life of such a promising neurosurgeon who could have saved the lives of so many people. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live.
This book made me contemplate the meaning of life and death. The heartbreaking story made my eyes moist not once, but numerous times as I read it. Dr. Kalanithi, through his memoir, made us realize how to live life meaningfully and face the reality, that is, death gracefully without fear.
"You can't ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving." - Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air.
Some books stay with us, deep inside our hearts, forever. 'When Breath Becomes Air' by Paul Kalanithi is one such book. The way Dr. Kalanithi accepted death and faced the grim reality can have life-changing effects on the readers.
This profound, emotional, beautiful and heart-breaking memoir is a must-read for each and every person.
“If the unexamined life was not worth living, was the unlived life worth examining?"
"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."
This is a gorgeous book on death and loss and grieving - the subjects we all avoid talking about directly. Paul and Lucy Kalanithi have looked at all these aspects of life in the eye, walked right through them and I believe even come out on the other side. While the book written by Paul seems somewhat incomplete to me, (given that was what actually happened due to his failing health), the epilogue by Lucy (Paul's wife) is the befitting completion to it - making the already whole-hearted book whole.
Words can never be enough to comprehend tragic losses, but in the absence of anything else, words are often the only way. If you are going through immense grief or loss, this book will not help. But maybe it will help make sense of all the helplessness. This book is not about answers. It is also not about questions. It is about looking at the questions bravely and getting to know them well and trying to find your own answers, if at all.
Read it for bravery. Read it if you like pondering over meaning and purpose of life.
[ I bought a hardcover version of the book, it has a brilliantly designed jacket and the binding is great too. I loved the font and line spacing - it is perfect for reading at ease. And so is the size of the book. My only lament is that I had to use the dictionary a lot - to search for all the medical terms that seemed alien to my vocabulary.]
Not many lives are lived like this.
If you want a book to remind you of what a superfluous life most of us live - constantly worrying about earning more, acquiring more, competing more, stressing over meaningless things and so on - do yourself a favour. Be brave and read When Breath Becomes Air.
I promise you - you will start Living more.
It's a rare book. Not to be missed.
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Very deep thoughts about life and death.Read more