12. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Klanithi
It took me some time to want to finish. I almost brought it back, but I thought it was so short that I needed to persevere, and I am so glad that I did. I sat in my library yesterday and marveled at this man's beautiful memoir.
This man was brilliant. I have a pretty large vocabulary, and I had to look up some of his words! He received a BA and MA in English Literature AND a BA in human biology from Stanford. Then, he threw in a MPhil in history and philosophy of science and medicine from Cambridge. On top of all of that, he decides to become a neurosurgeon. His reasoning for all of that made my head hurt (think ultra smart, deep person). In his final year of residency, he was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. It is worth the effort to read this short book as a very literate doctor as he contemplates death and life through this lens.
He contemplates the meaning of life and what makes "us" US!
Here is his wife's interview on PBS. This gives you more insight. Paul wanted to contemplate life through literature. It is really a good interview. Watch it!