February Book Club: When Breath Becomes Air

14 Feb 2016

This month, the blog will feature Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s recently published book, When Breath Becomes Air.  If you have not already, we suggest purchasing your own copy and joining us while we cover his work, here on the blog and on Twitter (follow @WomenSurgeons, @ShreeAgrawal21, @minervies, and @jzhao3). 


We will post reflections about the first half of his book on February 28th and the second half on March 13th to discuss your reactions and thoughts.  Please follow #AWSFood4Thought to join us on Twitter on March 13th and use the comments sections below to tell us what you think as you read along with us!

A brief synopsis from the publisher, Penguin Random House:

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.

For additional articles written by Dr. Paul Kalanithi:




Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons

One Reply to “February Book Club: When Breath Becomes Air”

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