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When Breath Becomes Air
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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 decades 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 Kalanithis transformation from a nave 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 2015, 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 cant go on. Ill 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.Praise for When Breath Becomes AirI guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. . . . Part of this books tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to himpassionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to dieso well. None of it is maudlin. Nothing is exaggerated. As he wrote to a friend: Its just tragic enough and just imaginable enough. And just important enough to be unmissable.Janet Maslin, The New York Times An emotional investment well worth making: a moving and thoughtful memoir of family, medicine and literature. It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring.The Washington Post Possesses the gravity and wisdom of an ancient Greek tragedy . . . [Kalanithi] delivers his chronicle in austere, beautiful prose. The book brims with insightful reflections on mortality that are especially poignant coming from a trained physician familiar with what lies ahead.The Boston Globe Devastating and spectacular . . . [Kalanithi] is so likeable, so relatable, and so humble, that you become immersed in his world and forget where its all heading.USA Today Its [Kalanithis] unsentimental approach that makes When Breath Becomes Air so originaland so devastating. . . . Its only fault is that the book, like his life, ends much too early.Entertainment Weekly[When Breath Becomes Air] split my head open with its beauty.Cheryl StrayedFrom the Hardcover edition.
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ozma.of.oz
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Thanks for tagging me @eeclayton !

1. Tagged! Just, full on weeping.
2. Sci fi or fantasy! The sheer unlimited potential of someone‘s imagination. ❤️💙
3. Most recently, I really loved The Locked Tomb books, Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth.

#WondrousWednesday @Eggs

Eggs I chose the same book #1 😥 1mo
eeclayton You're welcome ☺️ 1mo
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marss
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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kranthir
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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If you ever feel low or think you are unlucky or feel that life‘s not fair to you, pick this book, read it and let me know if you don‘t come out stronger and inspired. Just amazing hearing someone so close to death being so brave and focused on giving a meaning to his life.

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Messiejessie
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Oh my heart… 💔
I was torn between finishing this in one sitting and taking my time in order to absorb every single word.
What an exceptional person.

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DebbieGrillo
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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I'm joining #MarvellousMarch #Readathon late but the app I use to read on my phone tracks my time. Nine days of reading. My goal is to read a minimum of ten hours without counting audiobooks. I normally would count them but but since the new year I've had a steady diet of audiobooks except for this one that I just finished. I want to keep reading text, so this goal will help me with that.
At the end of day 2, I'm at 2 hours 10 minutes.
@Andrew65

Andrew65 Good luck 😊👍 5mo
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DebbieGrillo
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

Required reading for mortals. Especially anyone with a terminal illness or those of us who love someone with a terminal illness! I know my brother will live and die with as much integrity and grace as Kalanithi did. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The first book of 2022 for me not to be an audiobook. Hopefully Debbie's got her groove back.

Chelsea.Poole ♥️ 5mo
Cathythoughts ❤️❤️heartbreaking 5mo
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DebbieGrillo
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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My brother found out a week ago Friday that his his cancer is terminal. He got married on Wednesday (instead of waiting until October). This book is giving me a glimpse of how the next two years might look. I'm so grateful for his wife!

Chrissyreadit I‘m glad you found something helpful to support you in this and am sorry for the sadness you will face. 5mo
jdiehr Wow. Both sad and uplifting at the same time... 5mo
CBee Wow. I am very sorry to hear about your brother - his wife sounds amazing ♥️♥️ 5mo
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squirrelbrain Sorry to hear about your brother; I hope you all had a lovely day on Wednesday. This book is very good: 5mo
DaveGreen7777 I‘m so sorry about your brother! 😢 5mo
Jas16 I am so sorry about your brother‘s prognosis. I am happy he has so much love around him but cannot imagine what you must be feeling. 5mo
Librariana So deeply sorry to learn of your brother's prognosis, but glad he was able to marry the woman he loves. May their days together be long, may time slow down for them, and may they enjoy a beautiful happiness. Hope they (and your family) can navigate this next chapter in life with grace, resiliency, and strength. Glad you're able to find some comfort and perhaps peace in what you're reading 💜 5mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage I‘m so sorry. Cancer just sucks. We are in a similar situation with a beloved family member right now as well. Might go back to this book. Another I recommend is 5mo
DivineDiana How wonderful that your brother has found a loving partner to be by his side. I am happy that you have found a book to help you. Sending love to you and your family. ❤️ 5mo
Ruthiella ❤️❤️❤️ 5mo
MicrobeMom ♥️♥️ 5mo
Simona ❤️❤️❤️ … that is beyond any words. 5mo
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DebbieGrillo
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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SusanLee
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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#hospital reminded me of this book which is still in my TBR
#savvysettings @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @Eggs

Eggs It‘s amazing 😢 5mo
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DebbieGrillo
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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"Literature not only illuminated another‘s experience, it provided, I believed, the richest material for moral reflection."

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DebbieGrillo
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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janerzy
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

If you‘ve been dealing with grief of loved one, distress of death and meaning of life, or just the doubt of personal purpose…you‘ll find some strength and light in it.
Thank you Paul (and Lucy), for such a beautiful and profound story. Thank you ❤️

CuriousG This one still lives in my heart even though it has been some time since I read it. 6mo
janerzy ❤️ It‘ll be the same for me too. 6mo
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Erin.Elizabeth10
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

I‘m starting off my year of wanting to read more memoirs! I‘ve seen this one for so long and finally gave it a listen. It was dark and sad but also inspiring and hopeful.

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Mandycolesings
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

"Life wasn‘t about avoiding suffering."

Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

This book is so very powerful raw and real. Having to watch my own father battle and lose his life to cancer, I have been searching for meaning in his quick and difficult battle with the terrible illness. This is a topic people struggle to share but it is the one thing we all will face, death. A very important book I felt honored to read. Thank-you .

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ImperfectCJ
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Silo helped me with my audiopuzzling this morning. He had strong opinions about which areas of the puzzle I should concentrate on. (Or maybe he was trying to convince me to do something more productive, like sit on the couch so he could warm himself on my lap.)

RaeLovesToRead Well done finishing with a feline "helper"! ? Whenever Pickles tries to join in, pieces start mysteriously disappearing ? 8mo
Allkat Cats are good helpers. 8mo
ImperfectCJ @RaeLovesToRead Silo mostly glares at me (when he's not grooming himself), but his sister Camille is a much more active assistant. I was very surprised I didn't have to search under all the furniture for lost pieces! 8mo
RaeLovesToRead Too cute! 😄 8mo
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ImperfectCJ
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

This memoir is poignant in itself but even more so with the handful of intersections between Paul's life and my own. His daughter was born in the same hospital where I birthed mine, and we both worked at Stanford Sierra Camp, although I worked a fall conference season while he, as a Stanford student, worked the summer camp. He writes about his mortality with emotion but without melodrama or trite sentiments. It's a beautiful and devastating story.

TheAromaofBooks Great review!! 8mo
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TiredLibrarian
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

Heartbreaking, as expected. Life-affirming, and beautifully written. Today's mission, in addition to reading & football, is to tell a few people how much I love them. ❤ #nonfiction #health #medicine #death

TiredLibrarian The photo is of the author's wife and widow, Lucy, and their daughter, Cady, at Paul's gravesite. 10mo
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TiredLibrarian
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Thanks for the invitation @kimmypete1 @Eggbeater @MidnightBookGirl - I will try to set a few goals for the weekend, although it's pretty full!

🍁 Finish tagged book (20% left)
🍁 Finish A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (40% left)
🍁 Start & finish 1 other book TBD

#Anywayyoureadathon

Eggbeater Thanks for joining! 10mo
kimmypete1 Thanks for joining us! 10mo
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BeaG
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

Heavy. This was well written and heart wrenching. I would also add informative regarding what to expect if diagnosed with cancer. I loved that the wife shared her experience during this time.

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LaurelChandler
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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This book is not just about a young man‘s journey in battling cancer. This is a book that explores the meaning of life and death. I was moved beyond words and thought so much about my own life. How lucky I‘m and how much there is still to chase. Yet the most important thing is to love the ones around you.

I believed When Breath Becomes Air is a book that you have to read at least once in a lifetime.

#memoir #cherishinglife

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sabyym
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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I thought this book would focus solely on medical and cancer journey. But this book really surprised me by portraying those journey in the philosophical lens. Reading medical memoirs really fills me up with warmth and appreciation.

TiredLibrarian I'm up to the last 40 pages. I've put off finishing it because I know how it ends, but it's so well written. 10mo
sabyym @TiredLibrarian yes its written so well and ufff the end‘s gonna break us. 10mo
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Salmareads42
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Amazing !!

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TiredLibrarian
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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About halfway through, and I couldn't put it down, which I'll regret tomorrow morning. So beautifully written. #nonfiction #memoir #medicine #health

Cathythoughts It is beautifully written , I agree ❤️💔 12mo
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AMFOX
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
Pickpick

I absolutely loved this book. I loved the theology and literature aspects. I also enjoyed the introduction by the author's friend and the epilogue by his wife.

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AMFOX
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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This book was fabulous! Its the 2nd book I've finished during the readathon.

#mbcreadathon
#mbcbookfrogsreadathon11
@MonthlyBookClub

TiredLibrarian @AMFOX I was just thinking of starting this; after seeing your post I guess I'll make it my next read! 12mo
AMFOX You will not be disappointed! This is one I will reread many times! Loved it! 12mo
kellyann28 Entered 12mo
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Wildly_Bookish
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

There aren't words for the beauty and heartbreak of this book. Read it and cry. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cathythoughts A memorable book ❤️💔 13mo
Wildly_Bookish It really is. I've been in a little bit of a reading slump since finishing. 13mo
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ritaperi
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
Pickpick

Good to know about a doctor's Daily life ..and a patient's life.

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LibraryCin
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Mehso-so

It was ok. It felt short and he seemed to skip through large amounts of time. I know it‘s because he tried to write it all when he had a limited time left. I was more interested in his life events over the theology/philosophy discussion he added in at times. I listened to the audio, which was fine. I did like that they brought in a female narrator to read the epilogue written by Lucy

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Smarkies
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

I have put this book on hold for too long as I knew I could only read it when I was in a calm frame of mind owing to the nature of the subject.
Now that I have I can say that I think the praise it has received is well deserved.
Read this for #covidheroes #booked2021
@Cinfhen @BarbaraTheBibliophage @4thhouseontheleft

Cinfhen Beautiful choice 💙His wife‘s chapter wrecked me 2y
Smarkies @Cinfhen it did me too. I spent my lunch hour with tears down my face. 😢😢 2y
Cathythoughts Great choice ! I loved this one 2y
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amyf0x
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

A stunning memoir, published posthumously, in which Kalanithi contemplates how a terminal cancer diagnosis in his mid-30s will cut short a promising career as a neurosurgeon and a life with his wife Lucy and baby daughter.

Read February 1-4
Rated 5/5 ⭐️
Book 8/60

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Bibliotekate
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

Necessities.

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maich
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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"You can‘t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving."

P.S.: I had an assistant for taking picture today. My daughter want to help me and she decorated book with stars❤?
#litsyquote #paulkalanithi #whenbreathbevomesair #biography

ScientistSam Lovely decorations! 2y
kimmypete1 Your daughter did a fantastic job!❤️ 2y
Crazeedi Such a powerful book 2y
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maich @ScientistSam @kimmypete1 Thank you😍❤ 2y
maich @Crazeedi I'll finish it just need first finished 2books for book club😊 2y
Crazeedi @maich I know I have 3 going right now too! 2y
maich @Crazeedi 😊😊 we can do this💪❤ 2y
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klfilliater
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
Pickpick

Very moving work about Dr. Kalanithi‘s transition from physician to patient. I especially encourage the read to those in healthcare- a very humbling perspective.

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bethanyjb
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Mehso-so

I'm trying to read more biographies. This is a biography written by a neurosurgeon who battles terminal cancer toward the end of his residency.

It was a quick read, and definitely caused for moments of thinking. I'm not much of a biography fan, but this was pretty good.

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sprainedbrain
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

I‘ve put this one off for so long, mainly because I knew it would be sad. And it was... I sobbed my way through the last hour of the audiobook. But in addition to being scary and sad, it‘s also very inspiring and hopeful. Kalanithi was clearly a talented man and apparently a good person. The epilogue by the doctor‘s wife was perfect.

I‘m glad that needing a #ChronicIllness book for #MandMChallenge2020 meant that I finally listened.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

mom2bugnbee This book was amazing. I rarely give 5 stars, & did to this. It has stayed with me. 2y
Kalalalatja The audio was so good 👌 2y
Cathythoughts A memorable book ❤️ 2y
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Santie This book has made all medical novels I‘ve read after it seem subpar because I expect Kalanithi‘s elegance. I always have to remind myself that he was an English major before becoming a doctor. One other thing is that I picked this book out and read the summary and liked it so I bought it without any prior recommendation, which normally backfires but with this one worked out perfectly. I give this book a solid 10/10 2y
sprainedbrain @SantieWantie You nailed it there... his love of English and literature in general elevated this book—amazing prose. I don‘t read a lot of medical novels but I‘ve told my daughter (who does) that she needs to read this one. 2y
Santie @sprainedbrain Absolutely a must read! I‘ve recommended it to all my doctor friends. 2y
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chloebearsbooks
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi

. .. even if I‘m dying, until I actually die, I am still living.

SW-T Welcome to Litsy! #litsywelcomewagon 2y
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🥳 2y
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Monnntannnya
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

This is a very heavy read. The author absolutely breaks my heart telling his story. Every time I read this book I feel the need to re-evaluate my priorities. Such an amazing book that dives into what‘s really important to you. I recommend this book for sure but prepared to be heartbroken.

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Eggs
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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1: I‘ll wear a mask as part of my costume like I did as a wee one

2: the mild and breezy days!

#thankfulthursday @Cosmos_Moon

Cosmos_Moon Enjoy your dress up! We will dress up, too 🎃 2y
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wanderinglynn
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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#thankfulthursday

📚 tagged
1. Honestly, it won‘t. Halloween night = candy, popcorn, me in comfy clothes, movies, & books. Same as last year and the year before and . . . 😆
2. That I live in Japan.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks #2!! I‘m so jealous!! 2y
wanderinglynn @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I really am thankful that I‘m not in the US right now. And not just because of COVID. 2y
Cosmos_Moon @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks me too! @wanderinglynn there is quite a shitshow in America right now 😔 your # 1 sounds so lovely 💕 2y
See All 8 Comments
wanderinglynn @Cosmos_Moon I love Halloween. But I‘m an introvert and dislike crowds. 😆 2y
TheRiehlDeal I wish it were possible to move to another country. Obviously can't because of COVID. It also doesn't help when Ralph Wiggum is President of the United States. 😆 2y
Cosmos_Moon @TheRiehlDeal haha!!! That character pretty much sums it up, except Ralph lacks the sociopathic egocentricity and greed. 2y
Cosmos_Moon @wanderinglynn I am getting more so as I get older. 2y
wanderinglynn @TheRiehlDeal yes, I was lucky to move. And totally agree 2y
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Kshakal
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

This book will forever change you. Live life to its fullest and don‘t take anything for granted! 💖💖💖

KristenDuck I read this awhile back. So good. 2y
Josee.lit.a.lu.et.lira I sooo need to get to this book! 2y
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prettydp
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi

Enjoy every moment in your life 💜

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Wanderer18
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Pickpick

This book was a heavy contemplation of death from the point of view of a doctor who then becomes a patient at a young age. Well written and very thoughtful, I enjoyed this read. I haven‘t ventured to read many books dealing with mortality but this was an easy to read beautiful account of a life grappling with death.

Josee.lit.a.lu.et.lira This one is on my TBR. The tagged book Is in a similar reflexion category and was great. 2y
melissajayne Balled my eyes out as I finished it. 2y
violabrain Such a beautiful, heartbreaking, life affirming book! 2y
Smrloomis I loved this too - despite how sad it was! 💓 And I‘m with @Josee.a.lu.lit.et.lira Being Mortal is also excellent. (edited) 2y
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Wanderer18
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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I‘m excited this forward tells me of the depth and power this book has 📖

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Wanderer18
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Starting a new book from the library! 📖

Josee.lit.a.lu.et.lira I‘ve been wanting to read this one for a while! I hope you enjoy it 🙂 2y
Grizzlan I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though it made me cry. It's an emotional read. I hope you like it. 2y
Wanderer18 @Josee.a.lu.lit.et.lira and @Grizzlan thank you! I hope I enjoy it as well! 2y
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Milly_Bagle
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
Pickpick

Very good. Highly recommend.

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