A Monster Calls is a book that should have fallen through the cracks of my life. My children are adults and my grandchildren still too young for this gripping and mournful tale. But that’s the thing about great stories: they’re ageless. Even though you’ll find Patrick Ness’s novel in the Young Adult section of your local library or bookstore, it belongs on everyone’s bookshelf. Ness’s novel called to me. The hardcover edition is a gorgeous object, and I think that matters here, more than in most stories. It may be the perfect union of words and images, because just one … Continue reading A MONSTER CALLS


When Breath Becomes Air is among the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. Though it was published in the early weeks of 2016, its author, neurosurgeon Paul Kalathani, died almost exactly a year ago, on March 9th, of metastatic lung cancer, at the age of 37. It is, in part, the author’s recounting of the last months of his life. His dying. It’s also a compelling, uplifting and moving work of literature. I started it just a few days ago and always put it down with reluctance. I’ve finished it, and miss it already. The space I inhabited while I … Continue reading WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR