When Breath Becomes Air

25899336When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: January 19th, 2016
Publisher: Random House
Recommended Age: 16+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Adult, Nonfiction, Memoir, Medicine, Philosophy, Life


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 na├»ve 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. Continue reading