June 7: When Breath Becomes Air

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When Breath Becomes AirIn his last year of neurosurgical residency at Stanford University, Dr. Paul Kalanithi, 36, experiences rapid weight loss and severe back and chest pains. He worries that a possible cause for his symptoms is spinal cancer but, when X-ray results in a routine medical check-up look fine, he and his primary care physician attribute the symptoms to aging and work overload. 

Determined to finish the last months of his residency, he ignores whatever symptoms have not subsided. A few weeks later, the symptoms come back, stronger than before and he says, for the first time, that he fears he has cancer. When his doctor calls and says he's concerned about Paul's lung x-ray,  Paul checks into the hospital and the room where he examined his patients, delivering good and bad news, becomes his own. With this event, the future that Paul had worked so hard for these past years vanishes before his eyes.One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live.

This is 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?This is 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?

When Breath Becomes Air was posthumously published.

Janet Maslin, in a review for The New York Times, wrote, "I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. There is so much here that lingers, and not just about matters of life and death."

Please join us Thursday, June 7 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the LLL Center. Susie Nee will facilitate the discussion. It is free but registration is required.

Upcoming books:
July 5 - Beneath the Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
Aug. 2 - The Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig
Sept. 6 - Still Life With Breadcrumbs by Anna Quindlen
Oct. 4 - The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
Nov. 1 - Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Dec. 6 - The Other Einstein: A Novel by Marie Benedict

Books read thus far are: 

  • June 2017: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell 
  • July 2017: The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion.
  • August 2017:  3mph: The Adventures of One Woman’s Walk Around the World by Polly Letofsky
  • September 2017: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • October 2017: These is My Words by Nancy Turner
  • Nov. 2, Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • Dec. 7, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  • Jan. 4: Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
  • Feb. 1: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
  • March 1: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  • April 5: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
  • May 3: Hands of My Father by Myron Uhlberg,

PC Reads also distributes a monthly e-newsletter that includes information about books, events at the local libraries and news about what various book groups in PebbleCreek are reading. To subscribe, click here or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you are already a member of a book club in PebbleCreek, please make sure Susie Nee has the contact inform