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10 Books Like When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

I was not prepare on ending the memoir book When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. There are so much anticipation of the end not to be too soon and we’ll still enjoy some moments of his life.

If you were profoundly moved by the thought-provoking memoir When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi as much as it does to me, this article is for you!

We’ve compiled a list of books like When Breath Becomes Air that capture the same depth and emotional impact as this powerful memoir. From The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs to Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande, these recommendations will leave you with a greater understanding of life’s most profound questions.

Discover a collection of books that delve into the themes of life, death, and the human experience. Each of these books offers unique perspectives and powerful insights, allowing readers to reflect on their own mortality and find solace in shared experiences. Join us as we explore these captivating reads that are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Books like When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Books Like When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

“When Breathe Becomes Air” is a memoir by Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer at the age of 36. The book explores his journey as he grapples with his own mortality and the pursuit of meaning in life.

Kalanithi shares his personal experiences and reflections on life, death, and the intersection between medicine and the human condition. His writing is honest, poignant, and thought-provoking, offering readers a profound insight into the fragility and beauty of life.

This memoir delves into existential questions about what it means to live a meaningful life and how to find purpose in the face of mortality. Kalanithi’s exploration of these themes resonates with readers of all backgrounds and has become a source of inspiration and comfort for many.

Readers who enjoyed “When Breathe Becomes Air” may also find the following books to be of interest:

  • The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs
  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  • The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life by Katy Butler
  • Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor
  • The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book About Living by Ira Byock
  • The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy
  • Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
  • Still Here: A Memoir by Lara Vapnyar

These books explore similar themes of life, death, and the pursuit of meaning, providing readers with diverse perspectives and insights on these universal topics.

01. The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs

The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs is a remarkable memoir that explores themes of life, love, and mortality. Riggs shares her personal journey as she navigates the challenges of living with terminal cancer and the profound impact it has on her and her family.

Riggs writes with vulnerability and honesty, inviting readers into her world as she grapples with the uncertainty of her diagnosis. She explores the complexities of her relationships, the beauty of everyday moments, and the ever-present awareness of her mortality.

The memoir is a poignant reflection on the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing every moment. Riggs’ writing is deeply introspective and beautifully lyrical, capturing both the pain and joy that come with facing one’s mortality.

Readers will find themselves drawn to Riggs’ courageous spirit and her ability to find meaning and purpose in the face of adversity. The Bright Hour is a powerful reminder to embrace the present, to love fully, and to find beauty in even the most challenging circumstances.

02. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande is a thought-provoking book that explores the complex and often difficult topic of death and dying. In this book, Gawande, a practicing surgeon, delves into the limitations of medicine and the importance of focusing on what truly matters in the end of life.

Gawande shares personal stories and experiences from his own medical practice, as well as from the lives of his patients and their families. He discusses the challenges and ethical dilemmas that arise when attempting to balance prolonging life with ensuring quality of life.

The book challenges the traditional model of care for the elderly and terminally ill, advocating for a shift towards a more patient-centered approach. Gawande emphasizes the importance of discussing end-of-life preferences and goals with patients and their families, and how this can lead to more meaningful and peaceful experiences.

Being Mortal is a compassionate and insightful exploration of mortality that encourages readers to confront their own views and attitudes towards death. It highlights the need for a society-wide conversation about end-of-life care and the choices that individuals have in shaping their own narrative.

If you enjoyed When Breath Becomes Air, you will find Being Mortal to be a compelling and thought-provoking read that delves into similar themes of mortality, life’s purpose, and the complexities of the human experience.

03. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

“The Last Lecture” is a book by Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In this inspiring memoir, Pausch shares his reflections on life and the lessons he wants to leave behind for his children.

The book is based on a lecture Pausch gave titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” which became a viral sensation and touched the hearts of millions. In “The Last Lecture,” Pausch expands on the themes of his lecture and delves deeper into his personal journey and the insights he gained along the way.

Pausch’s storytelling is heartfelt and honest, offering valuable insights on topics such as achieving goals, building relationships, and finding joy in the face of adversity. His wisdom and optimism inspire readers to appreciate the preciousness of life and pursue their dreams passionately.

“The Last Lecture” is not only a memoir but also a guide for living a meaningful and fulfilling life. It encourages readers to reflect on their own values and goals and make the most of the time they have. Pausch’s words of wisdom resonate deeply, reminding us of the importance of living with purpose and embracing every moment.


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04. The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life by Katy Butler

The Art of Dying Well by Katy Butler is a poignant and practical guide to facing the end of life with grace and dignity. Butler draws on her own personal experiences and extensive research to provide valuable insights and advice for individuals and their loved ones.

The book explores various topics related to dying, including the importance of advance care planning, navigating the healthcare system, managing pain and symptoms, and finding meaning and purpose in the face of mortality. Butler emphasizes the importance of open and honest communication, both with healthcare providers and with family and friends, to ensure that individual wishes and values are respected.

Through personal stories, practical tips, and thought-provoking reflections, The Art of Dying Well offers readers a compassionate and empowering guidebook for navigating the complexities of end-of-life care. It encourages individuals to approach death as a natural part of the human experience and provides valuable tools and resources for anyone facing their own mortality or supporting a loved one in their final stages of life.

Ultimately, The Art of Dying Well reminds us that dying is not just about medical interventions or prolonging life, but about finding peace, acceptance, and a sense of closure. It encourages individuals to think deeply about their values and priorities, and to make intentional choices that align with their own unique beliefs and desires.

05. Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor

“Dying: A Memoir” is an honest and poignant account of Cory Taylor’s experience with terminal illness and her contemplation of mortality. In her memoir, Taylor reflects on her life, her diagnosis, and the complexities of facing one’s own mortality.

Taylor’s writing is raw and introspective, offering a deeply personal exploration of what it means to die with grace and dignity. She delves into the emotional and physical challenges of living with a terminal illness, while also contemplating the philosophical and existential questions that arise in the face of death.

The memoir offers a unique perspective on the end of life, challenging societal taboos and inviting readers to engage in conversations about mortality. Taylor’s beautifully honest prose allows readers to connect with her experiences and gain a greater understanding of the complexities of dying.

“Dying: A Memoir” is a thought-provoking and ultimately life-affirming book that encourages readers to reflect on the fragility and preciousness of life. It serves as a reminder to live fully and to approach death with courage and acceptance.

06. The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book About Living by Ira Byock

“The Four Things That Matter Most” by Ira Byock is a profound and thought-provoking book that explores the importance of living with love, forgiveness, gratitude, and leaving nothing unsaid. Drawing from his experience as a palliative care physician, Byock shares stories and insights that encourage readers to reflect on what truly matters in life.

Byock emphasizes the significance of love, highlighting the transformative power it holds in our relationships. He encourages readers to express love openly and sincerely, as well as to prioritize forgiveness and gratitude. By letting go of grievances and expressing gratitude for the good in our lives, we can cultivate deeper connections and find peace within ourselves.

Furthermore, Byock stresses the importance of leaving nothing unsaid. He encourages readers to have conversations that matter and to express their feelings and desires openly. By sharing our thoughts and emotions authentically, we can foster deeper connections and live with fewer regrets.

“The Four Things That Matter Most” reminds us that life is precious and finite, urging us to prioritize what truly matters. It serves as a poignant reminder to live with love, forgiveness, gratitude, and open communication, ultimately leading to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

07. The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy

“The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir” by Ariel Levy is a powerful memoir that explores themes of love, loss, and the complexities of life. Levy shares her personal journey and challenges traditional notions of success and happiness.

In this memoir, Ariel Levy reflects on her own experiences and examines the pressures and expectations placed on women in society. She challenges the idea of having it all and delves into the complexities of relationships, career, and motherhood.

The memoir is a raw and honest exploration of grief, as Levy shares her devastating losses and the impact they had on her life. She examines how her experiences shaped her identity and ultimately led to a transformation.

Levy’s writing is both compelling and thought-provoking, as she delves into the universal themes of love, loss, and the search for meaning. Her candid and introspective narrative offers a relatable and inspiring read for anyone grappling with their own life’s challenges.

If you enjoyed “When Breathe Becomes Air” and are looking for a similar memoir that explores profound themes and personal growth, “The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir” by Ariel Levy is a book worth adding to your reading list.

08. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy is a book written by Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, and Adam Grant, a psychologist and professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The book explores Sandberg’s personal journey after the sudden death of her husband and offers insights into how individuals can navigate through difficult times and build resilience in the face of adversity.

Option B delves into the topics of grief, resilience, and finding meaning and joy in life after loss. Sandberg shares her own experiences and provides practical advice on how to cope with the challenges of loss and adversity. The book also includes stories from others who have faced various forms of adversity and highlights the importance of building support networks, finding strength in community, and embracing the power of resilience.

Throughout Option B, Sandberg and Grant emphasize the importance of acknowledging and addressing the struggles and emotions that come with adversity, while also highlighting the potential for growth and finding joy in unexpected places. The book offers strategies and tools for individuals to cope with loss, adapt to change, and find hope and resilience.

Option B is a poignant and inspiring read that encourages readers to reevaluate their perspectives on life and find the strength to overcome and thrive in the face of adversity. It serves as a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is hope and the possibility of finding joy and meaning once again.

09. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory is a memoir by Caitlin Doughty that explores the funeral industry and our society’s relationship with death. Doughty shares her personal experiences working in a crematory and offers thought-provoking insights into how we can better understand and approach death.

The book delves into the taboo subject of death and confronts the fear and discomfort that many people have around it. Doughty challenges the conventional funeral industry and advocates for a more open and natural approach to death, encouraging readers to embrace mortality as a part of life.

Doughty also explores cultural perspectives on death, examining how different societies and religions approach funeral rituals and mourning. This provides a broader understanding of how death is perceived and celebrated in various cultures around the world.

Overall, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is a thought-provoking and insightful memoir that encourages readers to think critically about death and examine their own beliefs and fears. It offers a unique perspective on mortality and provides valuable lessons on embracing the inevitable.

10. Still Here: A Memoir by Lara Vapnyar

“Still Here” is a poignant and introspective memoir written by Lara Vapnyar. In this memoir, Vapnyar explores themes of mortality, identity, and the complexities of life. Through her personal experiences and reflections, she delves into the challenges and joys of being alive.

Vapnyar’s writing is raw and honest, capturing the essence of what it means to face the inevitability of death and navigate the uncertainties of existence. She grapples with deep questions about the purpose of life and the meaning of our individual stories.

Throughout “Still Here,” Vapnyar shares her own journey of self-discovery and acceptance, inviting readers to contemplate their own mortality and reflect on the moments that make life worth living. Her lyrical prose and thought-provoking insights offer a unique perspective on the human experience.

For those who enjoyed “When Breath Becomes Air” and are looking for similar thought-provoking memoirs, “Still Here” is a compelling choice. Vapnyar’s introspective exploration of life and death will resonate deeply with readers who seek a deeper understanding of what it means to truly be alive.

Here you go – My 10 Books Like When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

If you enjoyed reading “When Breathe Becomes Air” and are looking for similar books that explore life, death, and the human experience, there are several recommendations worth considering out there.

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs offers a poignant and beautifully written reflection on life and mortality. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande provides a thought-provoking perspective on end-of-life care and the importance of finding meaning in the face of mortality.

Other recommended titles include The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life by Katy Butler, and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty. Each of these books offers unique insights into the human experience and encourages readers to contemplate the meaning of life and death. Whether you are seeking solace, inspiration, or a deeper understanding of mortality, these books are sure to resonate and provoke thought.

Remember to embrace the lessons and perspectives found in these books and apply them to your own life journey. Happy reading!