When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

A Legacy Of Love

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is a powerful work of non-fiction that charts the author’s journey from neurosurgeon to cancer patient.

The book is beautifully and simply penned, as if the author were addressing a dear friend and not writing a book. The result is that by the end of the book, the reader feels like they have lost a dear friend.

There is a genuine feeling of loss – of what Paul Kalanithi could have achieved as a surgeon, of his daughter and wife having their years ahead without him. But there is also a feeling of celebration, too – Paul Kalanithi left behind a legacy of love – love in the hearts of his family, colleagues and patients.

The first half of the book introduces the reader to Paul Kalanithi the surgeon. He is not a surgeon without empathy, he treats every patient he meets as a person. “I had met her in a space where she was a person, instead of a problem to be solved.”

Paul Kalanithi recognized the need to connect with his patients. They needed his skill set as a surgeon and they needed his words as a fellow human being. “When there’s no place for the scalpel, words are the surgeon’s only tool.”

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But You Don’t Look Sick by Bette Brown

A Useful Companion

But You Don’t Look Sick by Bette Brown is a powerful little book looking at fibromyalgia. If you are a sufferer or know someone who is, this book will be useful to read.

The book covers some of the symptoms (but not all as the list is huge), the medications and helpful suggestions as to what may work, how to cope and how to tell others.

Fibromyalgia is an invisible illness. You look fine but don’t feel fine. Ordinary tasks may be hard and brain fog (which I thought was unique to me) is very frustrating.

There are personal stories from sufferers which helps to know that you are not alone.

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Save Me Twice by E.A. Dustin

Powerful Yet Horrifying

Save Me Twice by E.A. Dustin is a heart wrenching historical novel set in Germany between October 1944 – October 1945. The novel is grounded in fact as it is based on the author’s father’s wartime experiences. It is a marvellous, comprehensive and horrifying read.

The author has captured the horrors of war. The novel is written from the point of view of sixteen year old Karl (the author’s father) who was conscripted into the SS as the Nazis grew ever more desperate.

Not all Germans were Nazis. As the war drew to a close, old men and young boys were forced from their homes to join the SS. It was a painful and horrifying process.

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Hidden Pearl by J.E. Laufer

Such Bravery

Hidden Pearl by J.E. Laufer is a YA inspiring true account of the author’s Mother-in-law Pearl’s experiences as a child during World War II.

Pearl was ten years old at the outbreak of war. Her family of eleven were Jewish and lived in Poland which the Nazis over-ran. Her story is one of incredible bravery and tenacity.

As a child Pearl’s best hope of survival was to hide her faith and live with strangers, doing chores. She was separated from her family, surviving on hope.

Hidden Pearl is a remarkable story of courage in one so young, at a time of great evil. Pearl never forgot her faith but hung on silently and secretly.

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