When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Raised in a Christian home, young Paul Kalanithi often pondered what made life meaningful, especially when confronting death. Later, as he trained for nearly a decade to become a neurosurgeon, he considered his occupation a sacred calling in which he had a moral responsibility to his patients.

When he was 36 years old, Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and became a patient, a role he had encountered in the lives of others every day for decades—as an outsider looking in. As he and his wife, Lucy, grappled with their changed circumstances, they decided to become parents. Lucy gave birth to a beloved daughter; Kalanithi passed away eight months after she was born.

Kalanithi’s wise and heartbreaking memoir, published posthumously, reveals a brilliant young man’s thoughts on the relationship between Christianity and science, medical ethics, and the importance of relationships. (Random House)

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