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8 Inspiring Books like When Breath Becomes Air

8 Inspiring Books like When Breath Becomes Air

By Books Like This One

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About the list

Friendspire handpicked this based on a list by Books Like This One on 26 February 2021.

Have you ever thought about why you like to read? What makes you so interested in reading books vs just "watching" a book? I mean the "Harry Potter" novels and films are about the same, right? (The answer to that question is no. Dear God, the answer is 100% no.) Well then, what makes you a bibliophile? Is it that smell of paperback novels
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When Breath Becomes Air

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2016 | Paul Kalanithi

Rated by 30 people

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST * 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 PASTE'S BEST MEMOIRS OF THE DECADE * 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.

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The Choice: Even in Hell, Hope can Flower

Edith Eger

A powerful, moving memoir—and a practical guide to healing—written by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, an eminent psychologist whose own experiences as a Holocaust survivor help her treat patients and allow them to escape the prisons of their own minds. Edith Eger was sixteen years old when the Nazis came to her hometown in Hungary and took her Jewish family to an interment center and then to Auschwitz. Her parents were sent to the gas chamber by Joseph Mengele soon after they arrived at the camp. Hours later Mengele demanded that Edie dance a waltz to “The Blue Danube” and rewarded her with a loaf of bread that she shared with her fellow prisoners. These women later helped save Edie’s life. Edie and her sister survived Auschwitz, were transferred to the Mauthausen and Gunskirchen camps in Austria, and managed to live until the American troops liberated the camps in 1945 and found Edie in a pile of dying bodies. One of the few living Holocaust survivors to remember the horrors of the camps, Edie has chosen to forgive her captors and find joy in her life every day. Years after she was liberated from the concentration camps Edie went back to college to study psychology. She combines her clinical knowledge and her own experiences with trauma to help others who have experienced painful events large and small. Dr. Eger has counselled veterans suffering from PTSD, women who were abused, and many others who learned that they too, can choose to forgive, find resilience, and move forward. She lectures frequently on the power of love and healing. The Choice weaves Eger’s personal story with case studies from her work as a psychologist. Her patients and their stories illustrate different phases of healing and show how people can choose to escape the prisons they construct in their minds and find freedom, regardless of circumstance. Eger’s story is an inspiration for everyone. And her message is powerful and important: “Your pain matters and is worth healing: you can choose to be joyful and free.” She is eighty-nine years old and still dancing.

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Notes to Self

2018 | Emilie Pine

The international sensation that illuminates the experiences women are supposed to hide--from addiction, anger, sexual assault, and infertility to joy, sensuality, and love. WINNER OF THE AN POST IRISH BOOK OF THE YEAR - "Emilie Pine's voice is razor-sharp and raw; her story is utterly original yet as familiar as my own breath."--Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love Warrior In this dazzling debut, Emilie Pine speaks to the events that have marked her life--those emotional disruptions for which our society has no adequate language, at once bittersweet, clandestine, and ordinary. She writes with radical honesty on the unspeakable grief of infertility, on caring for an alcoholic parent, on taboos around female bodies and female pain, on sexual violence and violence against the self. This is the story of one woman, and of all women. Devastating, poignant, and wise--and joyful against the odds--Notes to Self is an unforgettable exploration of what it feels like to be alive, and a daring act of rebellion against a society that is more comfortable with women's silence. Praise for Notes to Self "Notes to Self begins as a deceptively simple catalogue of the injustices of modern female life and slyly emerges as a screaming treatise on just what it means to make your own rules, turning the hand you've been dealt into the coolest game in town. Emilie Pine is like your best friend--if your best friend was so sharp she drew blood."--Lena Dunham, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Not That Kind of Girl "To read these essays is to understand the human condition more clearly, to reassess one's place in the world, and to reclaim one's own experiences as real and valid."--Sunday Independent "Harrowing, clear-eyed . . . Everyone should consider [this] priority reading."--Sunday Business Post "Incredible and insightful--an absolute must-read."--The Skinny "Agonizing, uncompromising, starkly brilliant. . . . [A] short, gleamingly instructive book, both memoir and psychological exploration--a platform for that insistent internal voice that almost any woman . . . wishes they had ignored."--Financial Times "Do not read this book in public. It will make you cry."--Anne Enright

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Educated

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2018 | Tara Westover

Rated by 386 people

#1 NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER • One of the most acclaimed books of our time: an unforgettable memoir about a young woman who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University   “Extraordinary . . . an act of courage and self-invention.”—The New York Times   NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR • BILL GATES’S HOLIDAY READING LIST • FINALIST: National Book Critics Circle’s Award In Autobiography and John Leonard Prize For Best First Book • PEN/Jean Stein Book Award • Los Angeles Times Book Prize   Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.   “Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?”—Vogue NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • O: The Oprah Magazine • Time • NPR • Good Morning America • San Francisco Chronicle • The Guardian • The Economist • Financial Times • Newsday • New York Post • theSkimm • Refinery29 • Bloomberg • Self • Real Simple • Town & Country • Bustle • Paste • Publishers Weekly • Library Journal • LibraryReads • Book Riot • Pamela Paul, KQED • New York Public Library

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