RSSCategory: Book review

When Breath Becomes Air

| March 13, 2016 | 0 Comments

When Breath Becomes Air┬áis a very deep and thought provoking book by Paul Kalanithi. He was a young neurosurgeon diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in his late 30’s. He wrote the book after he was diagnosed and it was published after his death. It is part memoir, part spiritual and existential reflection. Extremely powerful. I’m still trying to sort out my thoughts about the book.

One persistent thought was how relatively meaningless my life is. This man is brilliant and driven. His description of the process of becoming a neurosurgeon is daunting. The level of commitment and the enormity of the workload are just amazing. I was exhausted just listening to it. My least favorite parts of the book were when he described the actual surgeries, the types of disorders he confronted and the tragedy of many of the cases. But that was clearly necessary to give a full picture of his life. But his involvement in such enormous life and death issues made my life seem somewhat puny.

Add to this his eloquence as a writer in describing actual events and ruminating about the meaning of life and I felt totally inadequate. Continue Reading


| December 5, 2011 | 0 Comments

I just finished the book, Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand.  It may be the best book I’ve ever read, certainly among the top five.  It is the story of Louis Zamparini, an Olympic runner who crashes in the South Pacific during World War II and is captured by the Japanese.  I won’t give away any more of the plot, but suffice to say it is a story of unimaginable suffering, but told in a way that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go.  Hillenbrand knows exactly when you’ve had enough suffering and lightens the story at just the right moment.  She is an extraordinary writer.  I had no interest in her previous book, Secretariat, thinking, “Who wants to read a biography of a horse?”  The fact that it was a bestseller and made into a movie, suggests there’s more to it.  Having read Unbroken, I can better appreciate its popularity.

Her research is extraordinary.  The book recounts day by day, even minute by minute accounts of events that took place 70 years ago and does so in ways that take your breath away.  Buy this book and set aside some time.  It’s a long book, but you’ll want to read it in one sitting.