RA Trend: Mortality

25614898Have you noticed the rising popularity of books addressing death?  At the very top of bestseller and library holds lists is Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air. 

The poignancy of Kalanithi’s memoir is affecting readers internationally.  At thirty-six, nearly at the end of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. When Breath Becomes Air is his contemplation of his profession, his experience as a patient, marriage, new fatherhood and death.

Ann Patchett wrote “Thanks to When Breath Becomes Air, those of us who never met Paul Kalanithi will both mourn his death and benefit from his life. This is one of a handful of books I consider to be a universal donor—I would recommend it to anyone, everyone.” However, if your library has long holds lists on this title, here are a few other titles to recommend:


The Doctors:

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Gratitude by Oliver Sacks

On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross


The Writers:

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

M Train by Patti Smith

Mourning Diary by Roland Barthes

Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion


Graphic Memoirists:

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Roz Chasts

Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow by Anders Nilsen

Shadow Life written by Hiromi Goto and illustrated by Celine Loup [forthcoming]

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