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Brewery Book Club: When Breath Becomes Air

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FHB Book Club meets once a month at the brewery (3rd Wednesday of each month, at 7 pm) and anyone is welcome to come or not come based on their interest in that month's book. No commitment, no stress...just a chance to learn something new, share your opinions, and meet fellow supernerds. The book discussion is lead by our resident bookworm and brewery co-owner, Molly.  There's no fee to participate and no purchase required.

October's book is When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, which is a young doctor's true account of his personal transition between being doctor and then being a patient, and then his transition from life to death.  The book was a runaway best seller and has been adored by critics ever since its release in 2016.  It combines memoir and science, a combo our book club has really enjoyed in the past.     

About When Breath Becomes Air:

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, this inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times Book Review • People • NPR • The Washington Post • Slate • Harper’s Bazaar • Time Out New York • Publishers Weekly • BookPage

Finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Books for a Better Life Award in Inspirational Memoir

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.

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 can’t go on. I’ll 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.

 

Earlier Event: October 13
Kevin Boehnke
Later Event: October 20
Matt Woods