July Book Pick- “When Breath Become Air”


Get your Jackie O shades and hankies ready for our July read -it promises to be a tear-jerker. See below for a teaser as well as for two other books Linda put up for the vote.

“When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithu, is a memoir written while a thirty-something neurosurgeon is dying of cancer. (4.4 of 5.0 on Goodreads, 21,482 votes) It helps the quality of his writing that he was an undergraduate Lit major. He so beautifully ponders the question “what makes a life worth living?” that the result is actually inspiring. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.


Almost Reads:

“Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande (4.4 of 5 with 38,137 ratings on Amazon) which is a look not only at dying but the appropriate meaning of health care, which the author contends should be about enabling well-being rather than about ensuring survival. In a society that values independence, what happens when that independence is no longer possible? Gawande posits that we should deal openly with the inevitable bodily decline, consider what matters to us, and adapt our society and health profession to help people achieve their objectives.


“The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman” an autobiographical book by John Perkins (4.4 5.0  on Amazon, with 66 reviews) is a powerful but controversial book another book club to which I belong just read. Perkins describes how as a highly paid professional, he helped the U.S. cheat poor counties out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and after non-payment, took over their economies. Some of the historical data, particularly in Latin American countries, seem to support his thesis that the deaths of key political leaders resulted when cooperation was not forthcoming. I read the book, found it fascinating and a page-turner, but hold my opinion until we discuss it, if we choose this one.


“The Lovers – Afghanistan’s Romeo and Juliet” by Rod Nordland (5.0 of 5.0 with 20 ratings on Amazon). This is the true story of how a  young Afghani couple defied their families and escaped an honor killing for the sake of love. The lovers were from different tribes but grew up on neighboring farms in the hinterlands of Afghanistan. At the time the book was written (released in Jan 2016), the couple lived under constant threat to their lives as her family vows to kill in order to restore the family’s honor. The book also puts a human face on the ongoing debate about women’s rights in the Muslim world. Despite a decade of American good intentions, women in Afghanistan are still subjected to some of the worst human rights violations in the world. The New York Times predicted “The Lovers” will do for women’s rights generally what Malala’s story did for women’s education.


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