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 • Esquire • 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.
Praise for When Breath Becomes Air
“I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. . . . Part of this book’s tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him—passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die—so well.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“An emotional investment well worth making: a moving and thoughtful memoir of family, medicine and literature. It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring.”—The Washington Post
“Possesses the gravity and wisdom of an ancient Greek tragedy . . . [Kalanithi] delivers his chronicle in austere, beautiful prose. The book brims with insightful reflections on mortality that are especially poignant coming from a trained physician familiar with what lies ahead.”—The Boston Globe
“Devastating and spectacular . . . [Kalanithi] is so likeable, so relatable, and so humble, that you become immersed in his world and forget where it’s all heading.”—USA Today
In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending
Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.
Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.
Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.
this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year
they will teach you
that people too
in order to bloom
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures.
Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didn’t know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like?
Honest and heartfelt, self-deprecating and ironic, Caitlin's engaging style makes this otherwise taboo topic both approachable and engrossing. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).
From the Hardcover edition.
Michael lives in a house by the sea in New Zealand with his girlfriend, international bestselling author, Lang Leav.
On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.
For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?
These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day since the Columbine tragedy. In A Mother’s Reckoning, she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts.
Filled with hard-won wisdom and compassion, A Mother’s Reckoning is a powerful and haunting book that sheds light on one of the most pressing issues of our time. And with fresh wounds from the Newtown and Charleston shootings, never has the need for understanding been more urgent.
All author profits from the book will be donated to research and to charitable organizations focusing on mental health issues.
— Washington Post, Best Memoirs of 2016
Hope for the here and now from the multimillion-selling author of 90 Minutes in Heaven.
Millions believe in Heaven. Don Piper's been there. He was pronounced dead after a car accident on January 18, 1989. Ninety minutes later, Piper came back to life with an extraordinary story. His 90 Minutes in Heaven has strengthened the faith of countless people.
When Piper returned to this life, he had a long road back to health, dealing with painful treatments and physical disabilities-the "new normal," as Piper calls it. Still, he had been transformed spiritually and this allowed him not only to cope with his suffering, but to transcend it. Piper found purpose in his pain, he found the message in the mess, and so can anyone else who embraces God's grace in the here and now-as well as the Hereafter.
Don Piper did not return from Heaven alone-he brought the gift of hope back with him. Those who read Heaven Is Real can use what he learned to live the lives God has called them to live.
I want to share the story, and the pain, the courage, the love, and what I learned in living through it. I want Nick's life to be not only a tender memory for us, but a gift to others. . . . I would like to offer people hope and the realities we lived with. I want to make a difference. My hope is that someone will be able to use what we learned, and save a life with it."—Danielle Steel
From the day he was born, Nick Traina was his mother's joy. By nineteen, he was dead. This is Danielle Steel's powerful, personal story of the son she lost and the lessons she learned during his courageous battle against darkness. Sharing tender, painful memories and Nick's remarkable journals, Steel brings us a haunting duet between a singular young man and the mother who loved him—and a harrowing portrait of a masked killer called manic depression, which afflicts between two and three million Americans.
At once a loving legacy and an unsparing depiction of a devastating illness, Danielle Steel's tribute to her lost son is a gift of life, hope, healing, and understanding to us all.
One week after fifteen-year-old Nick Markowitz vanished, his mother received the news: Nick's body had been found in a shallow grave. Now she tells her own gripping story-the unbelievable motive for the murder, the shocking identity of the accused, and her own nine-year battle to bring her son's killers to justice.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Thus begins “Phenomenal Woman,” just one of the beloved poems collected here in Maya Angelou’s third book of verse. These poems are powerful, distinctive, and fresh—and, as always, full of the lifting rhythms of love and remembering. And Still I Rise is written from the heart, a celebration of life as only Maya Angelou has discovered it.
“It is true poetry she is writing,” M.F.K. Fisher has observed, “not just rhythm, the beat, rhymes. I find it very moving and at times beautiful. It has an innate purity about it, unquenchable dignity. . . . It is astounding, flabbergasting, to recognize it, in all the words I read every day and night . . . it gives me heart, to hear so clearly the caged bird singing and to understand her notes.”
From the Hardcover edition.
A search began which lasted an agonizing four months. Sadly, Laci Peterson and her son Conner were found dead on the shores of San Francisco Bay on April 18, 2003.
Her husband, Scott, was eventually arrested and charged with the murder of Laci and Connor. After a sensational, media-saturated trial, Peterson was found guilty of capital murder and was sentenced to death on March 16, 2005.
This book deals with the story in three separate sections: first, Sharon describes the ordinary, loving life her daughter led, including fond memories of her childhood and adolescence. Second, it covers her marriage, disappearance, the community's moving search for her, and her and Connor's eventual recovery from San Francisco Bay. Third, it tells the story of the trial in detail not before revealed. Sharon will also talk about victim's rights, a subject on which she now campaigns regularly.
From the Hardcover edition.
The poems in this collection were chosen by Hughes himself shortly before his death in 1967 and represent work from his entire career, including "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," "The Weary Blues," "Still Here," "Song for a Dark Girl," "Montage of a Dream Deferred," and "Refugee in America." It gives us a poet of extraordinary range, directness, and stylistic virtuosity.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Part spiritual memoir, part case study, part instrumental guide, Talking to Heaven will change the way you perceive death and life.
The best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with "dignity."
Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Here to Eternity is an immersive global journey that introduces compelling, powerful rituals almost entirely unknown in America.
In rural Indonesia, she watches a man clean and dress his grandfather’s mummified body, which has resided in the family home for two years. In La Paz, she meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls), and in Tokyo she encounters the Japanese kotsuage ceremony, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved-ones’ bones from cremation ashes.
With boundless curiosity and gallows humor, Doughty vividly describes decomposed bodies and investigates the world’s funerary history. She introduces deathcare innovators researching body composting and green burial, and examines how varied traditions, from Mexico’s Días de los Muertos to Zoroastrian sky burial help us see our own death customs in a new light.
Doughty contends that the American funeral industry sells a particular—and, upon close inspection, peculiar—set of "respectful" rites: bodies are whisked to a mortuary, pumped full of chemicals, and entombed in concrete. She argues that our expensive, impersonal system fosters a corrosive fear of death that hinders our ability to cope and mourn. By comparing customs, she demonstrates that mourners everywhere respond best when they help care for the deceased, and have space to participate in the process.
Exquisitely illustrated by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity is an adventure into the morbid unknown, a story about the many fascinating ways people everywhere have confronted the very human challenge of mortality.
Named a Best Book of 2017 by Barnes & Noble and Amazon
From Facebook’s COO and Wharton’s top-rated professor, the #1 New York Times best-selling authors of Lean In and Originals: a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about building resilience and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.
After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,’” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.” Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build.
Option B combines Sheryl’s personal insights with Adam’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. Beginning with the gut-wrenching moment when she finds her husband, Dave Goldberg, collapsed on a gym floor, Sheryl opens up her heart—and her journal—to describe the acute grief and isolation she felt in the wake of his death. But Option B goes beyond Sheryl’s loss to explore how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories reveal the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.
Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. Even after the most devastating events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and gaining greater appreciation in our lives. Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead. Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend replied, “Option A is not available,” and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.
We all live some form of Option B. This book will help us all make the most of it.
Mark Levin, while known as a lawyer and nationally syndicated broadcaster, considers himself first and foremost a dog lover. In 2004, Mark’s family added a new member to their bunch—a beautiful, Spaniel-mixed dog they named Sprite. With his beautiful face and soft, huggable fur, Sprite immediately bonded with the Levin family.
But on Halloween night, just three weeks after being adopted, Sprite collapsed and had to be rushed to the animal hospital in what would turn out to be the first of many such visits—and a difficult, heart-wrenching journey for the entire family.
Over the next two years, Sprite’s health deteriorated, but his spirit remained high and his beauty and grace continued to inspire, until the holiday season of 2006, when the Levin family had to say a final goodbye to their beloved pet. Rescuing Sprite is a stunningly intimate revelation of the strong love that can develop between a family and a pet, and the realization, as Mark Levin puts it, that “in the end, we humans are the lucky ones.”
Each year about eight million Americans suffer the death of someone close to them. Now for thse who face the challenges of sudden death, there is a hand to hold, written by two women who have experienced sudden loss. This updated edition of the best-selling bereavement classic will touch, comfort, uplift and console. Authors Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D. explore sudden death and offers a comforting hand to hold for those who are grieving the sudden death of a loved one.
Featured on ABC World News, Fox and Friends and many other shows, this book acts as a touchstone of sanity through difficult times. I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye covers such difficult topics as the first few weeks, suicide, death of a child, children and grief, funerals and rituals, physical effects, homicide and depression. New material covers the unique circumstances of loss, men and women's grieving styles, religion and faith, myths and misunderstandings, I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye reflects the shifting face of grief.
These pages have offered solace to over eighty thousand people, ranging from seniors to teenagers and from the newly bereaved to those who lost a loved one years ago. Individuals engulfed by the immediate aftermath will find a special chapter covering the first few weeks.
Tapping their personal histories and drawing on numerous interviews, authors Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D, explore unexpected death and its role in the cycle of life. I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye provides survivors with a rock-steady anchor from which to weather the storm of pain and begin to rebuild their lives.
PRAISE FOR I WASN'T READY TO SAY GOODBYE
"I highly recommend this book, not only to the bereaved, but to friends and counselors as well."
Helen Fitzgerald, author of The Grieving Child, The Mourning Handbook, and The Grieving Teen
"This book, by women who have done their homework on grief... can hold a hand and comfort a soul through grief 's wilderness. Oustanding references of where to see other help."
George C. Kandle, Pastoral Psychologist
"Finally, you have found a friend who can not only explain what has just occurred, but can take you by the hand and lead you to a place of healing and personal growth. Whether you are dealing with the loss of a family member, a close personal associate or a friend, this guide can help you survive and cope, but even more importantly... heal."
The Rebecca Review
"For those dealing with the loss of a loved one, or for those who want to help someone who is, this is a highly recommended read."
Midwest Book Review
That’s the question Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne, as they sit in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2007, Mary Anne returned from a humanitarian trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan suffering from what her doctors believed was a rare type of hepatitis. Months later she was diagnosed with a form of advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often in six months or less.
This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother, who start a “book club” that brings them together as her life comes to a close. Over the next two years, Will and Mary Anne carry on conversations that are both wide-ranging and deeply personal, prompted by an eclectic array of books and a shared passion for reading. Their list jumps from classic to popular, from poetry to mysteries, from fantastic to spiritual. The issues they discuss include questions of faith and courage as well as everyday topics such as expressing gratitude and learning to listen. Throughout, they are constantly reminded of the power of books to comfort us, astonish us, teach us, and tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world. Reading isn’t the opposite of doing; it’s the opposite of dying.
Will and Mary Anne share their hopes and concerns with each other—and rediscover their lives—through their favorite books. When they read, they aren’t a sick person and a well person, but a mother and a son taking a journey together. The result is a profoundly moving tale of loss that is also a joyful, and often humorous, celebration of life: Will’s love letter to his mother, and theirs to the printed page.
This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
Mandelbaum’s astonishingly Dantean translation, which captures so much of the life of the original, renders whole for us the masterpiece of that genius whom our greatest poets have recognized as a central model for all poets.
This Everyman’s edition–containing in one volume all three cantos, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso–includes an introduction by Nobel Prize—winning poet Eugenio Montale, a chronology, notes, and a bibliography. Also included are forty-two drawings selected from Botticelli's marvelous late-fifteenth-century series of illustrations.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
Pulling Home is Book One of That Second Chance Series. It is also the prequel to Mary’s bestselling family saga, A Family Affair: The Promise, Truth in Lies, Book Seven.
She'll risk anything to save her child...even the truth.
It's taken nine years and a cross-country move, but Audra Valentine Wheyton has kept her secrets safe. She's created the perfect life: a husband who loves her, a daughter she adores, and a position as head writer for an award-winning daytime soap. When her husband dies suddenly, Audra returns to her hometown for the funeral and faces a community that has not forgotten her meager beginnings and the man who has never forgiven her for marrying his brother.
Jack Wheyton is a successful pediatric neurosurgeon who is about to become engaged when Audra walks back into his life with her daughter. He forgave his brother long ago for taking something that had been his, something he hadn't even realized he wanted until it was gone. But forgiving Audra is another story...and forgetting her? Near impossible.
When a shattering illness strikes Audra's daughter, she turns to Jack to save her child and risks exposing a secret that will change their lives forever.
That Second Chance Series:
Book One: Pulling Home (Also prequel to A Family Affair: The Promise)
Book Two: The Way They Were (Also prequel to A Family Affair: The Secret)
Book Three: Simple Riches (Also prequel to A Family Affair: Winter)
Book Four: Paradise Found
Book Five: Not Your Everyday Housewife
Book Six: The Butterfly Garden
ON MORE THAN 25 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR LISTS: including TIME (#1 Nonfiction Book), NPR, O, The Oprah Magazine (10 Favorite Books), Vogue (Top 10), Vanity Fair, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle (Top 10), Miami Herald, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top 10), Library Journal (Top 10), Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Slate, Shelf Awareness, Book Riot, Amazon (Top 20)
The instant New York Times bestseller and award-winning sensation, Helen Macdonald's story of adopting and raising one of nature's most vicious predators has soared into the hearts of millions of readers worldwide. Fierce and feral, her goshawk Mabel's temperament mirrors Helen's own state of grief after her father's death, and together raptor and human "discover the pain and beauty of being alive" (People). H Is for Hawk is a genre-defying debut from one of our most unique and transcendent voices.
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and 2017 Critics' Pick
One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2017
At the age of sixty, Cory Taylor is dying of melanoma-related brain cancer. Her illness is no longer treatable: she now weighs less than her neighbor’s retriever. As her body weakens, she describes the experience—the vulnerability and strength, the courage and humility, the anger and acceptance—of knowing she will soon die.
Written in the space of a few weeks, in a tremendous creative surge, this powerful and beautiful memoir is a clear-eyed account of what dying teaches: Taylor describes the tangle of her feelings, remembers the lives and deaths of her parents, and examines why she would like to be able to choose the circumstances of her death.
Taylor’s last words offer a vocabulary for readers to speak about the most difficult thing any of us will face. And while Dying: A Memoir is a deeply affecting meditation on death, it is also a funny and wise tribute to life.
Winner of the 2015 Christian Book Award® in the Inspiration category.
The Divine Comedydescribes Dante's descent into Hell with Virgil as a guide; his ascent of Mount Purgatory and encounter with his dead love, Beatrice; and finally, his arrival in Heaven. Examining questions of faith, desire and enlightenment, the poem is a brilliantly nuanced and moving allegory of human redemption.
'The perfect balance of tightness and colloquialism... likely to be the best modern version of Dante' - Bernard O'Donoghue
'The most moving lines literature has achieved' - Jorge Luis Borges
'This version is the first to bring together poetry and scholarship in the very body of the translation - a deeply-informed version of Dante that is also a pleasure to read' - Professor David Wallace, University of Pennsylvania
Individual editions of Robin Kirkpatrick's translation - Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso - are also available in Penguin Classics, and include Dante's Italian printed alongside the English text.
Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265 and belonged to a noble but impoverished family. His life was divided by political duties and poetry, the most of famous of which was inspired by his meeting with Bice Portinari, whom he called Beatrice, including La Vita Nuova and The Divine Comedy. He died in Ravenna in 1321.
Robin Kirkpatrick is a poet and widely-published Dante scholar. He has taught courses on Dante's Divine Comedy in Hong Kong, Dublin, and Cambridge where is Fellow of Robinson College and Professor of Italian and English Literatures.
In her work with thousands of families, Maggie Callanan has witnessed the tears, the love—and the confusion and conflict—this final passage can evoke. Now, with honesty, compassion, and even humor, she empowers patients and their families to write the last chapter of their lives with less fear, less pain, and more control—so that all involved can focus their energies on creating the best possible ending.
From supporting a husband or wife faced with the loss of a spouse, to helping a dying mother prepare her children to carry on without her, Callanan’s poignant stories illustrate new ways to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges of this difficult and precious time. She brings welcome clarity to medical and ethical concerns, explaining what to expect at every stage. Each brief chapter also conveys a home truth about making crucial treatment decisions, supporting the patient’s dignity and individuality, and lightening the burden on caregivers.
Final Journeys is designed to be your companion, resource, and advocate. From diagnosis through the final hours, it will help you keep the lines of communication open, get the help you need, and create the peaceful end we all hope for.
From the Hardcover edition.
Poems by Robert FrostA Boy’s Will and North of Boston
The publication of A Boy’s Will (1913) and North of Boston (1914) marked the debut of Robert Frost as a major talent and established him as the true poetic voice of New England. Four of his volumes would win the Pulitzer Prize before his death in 1963, and his body of work has since become an integral part of the American national heritage.
This is the only edition to present these two classics in their original form. A Boy’s Will introduced readers to Frost’s unmistakable poetic voice, and in North of Boston, we find two of his most famous poems, “Mending Wall” and “The Death of the Hired Man.” With an introduction by distinguished critic and Amherst professor William H. Pritchard and an afterword by poet and critic Peter Davison, this centennial edition stands as a complete and vital introduction to the work of the quintessential modern American poet.
Introduction by William H. Pritchard
Afterword by Peter Davison
Each one of us at some point asks this question. The tragedy is not that life is short but that we often see only in hindsight what really matters.
In this, her first book on life and living, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross joins with David Kessler to guide us through the practical and spiritual lessons we need to learn so that we can live life to its fullest in every moment. Many years of working with the dying have shown the authors that certain lessons come up over and over again. Some of these lessons are enormously difficult to master, but even the attempts to understand them can be deeply rewarding. Here, in fourteen accessible chapters, from the Lesson of Love to the Lesson of Happiness, the authors reveal the truth about our fears, our hopes, our relationships, and, above all, about the grandness of who we really are.
We are a people who deeply fear death. While humans are biologically wired to evade death for as long as possible, we have become too adept at hiding from it, vilifying it, and—when it can be avoided no longer—letting the professionals take over.
Sixth-generation funeral director Caleb Wilde understands this reticence and fear. He had planned to get as far away from the family business as possible. He wanted to make a difference in the world, and how could he do that if all the people he worked with were . . . dead? Slowly, he discovered that caring for the deceased and their loved ones was making a difference—in other people’s lives to be sure, but it also seemed to be saving his own. A spirituality of death began to emerge as he observed:The family who lovingly dressed their deceased father for his burialThe act of embalming a little girl that offered a gift back to her grieving familyThe nursing home that honored a woman’s life by standing in procession as her body was taken awayThe funeral that united a conflicted community
Through stories like these, told with equal parts humor and poignancy, Wilde offers an intimate look into the business and a new perspective on living and dying
“Ruhl’s zany probe of the razor-thin line between life and death delivers a fresh and humorous look at the times we live in.”—Variety
“Sarah Ruhl is deliriously imaginative and fearless in her choice of subject matter. She is an original.”—Molly Smith, artistic director, Arena Stage
An incessantly ringing cell phone in a quiet café. A stranger at the next table who has had enough. And a dead man—with a lot of loose ends. So begins Dead Man’s Cell Phone, a wildly imaginative new comedy by playwright Sarah Ruhl, recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant and Pulitzer Prize finalist for her play The Clean House. A work about how we memorialize the dead—and how that remembering changes us—it is the odyssey of a woman forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world.
Sarah Ruhl’s plays have been produced at theaters around the country, including Lincoln Center Theater, the Goodman Theatre, Arena Stage, South Coast Repertory, Yale Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, among others, and internationally. She is the recipient of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize (for The Clean House, 2004), the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award, and the Whiting Writers’ Award. The Clean House was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005. She is a member of 13P and New Dramatists.
It is harder to die in this country than ever before. Statistics show that the vast majority of Americans would prefer to die at home, yet many of us spend our last days fearful and in pain in a healthcare system ruled by high-tech procedures and a philosophy to "fight disease and illness at all cost."
Dr. Ira Byock, one of the foremost palliative-care physicians in the country, argues that end-of-life care is among the biggest national crises facing us today. In addressing the crisis, politics has trumped reason. Dr. Byock explains that to ensure the best possible care for those we love-and eventually ourselves- we must not only remake our healthcare system, we must also move past our cultural aversion to talking about death and acknowledge the fact of mortality once and for all.
Dr. Byock describes what palliative care really is, and-with a doctor's compassion and insight-puts a human face on the issues by telling richly moving, heart-wrenching, and uplifting stories of real people during the most difficult moments in their lives. Byock takes us inside his busy, cutting-edge academic medical center to show what the best care at the end of life can look like and how doctors and nurses can profoundly shape the way families experience loss.
Like books by Atul Gawande and Jerome Groopman, The Best Care Possible is a compelling meditation on medicine and ethics told through page-turning, life or death medical drama. It is passionate and timely, and it has the power to lead a new kind of national conversation.
Every poetic phrase, every poignant verse can be found within the pages of this sure-to-be-treasured volume—from her reflections on African American life and hardship in the compilation Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ’fore I Diiie (“Though there’s one thing that I cry for / I believe enough to die for / That is every man’s responsibility to man”) to her revolutionary celebrations of womanhood in the poem “Still I Rise” (“Out of the huts of history’s shame / I rise / Up from a past that’s rooted in pain / I rise”) to her “On the Pulse of Morning” tribute at President William Jefferson Clinton’s inauguration (“Lift up your eyes upon / The day breaking for you. / Give birth again / To the dream.”).
Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry also features her final long-form poems, including “A Brave and Startling Truth,” “Amazing Peace,” “His Day Is Done,” and the honest and endearing Mother:
“I feared if I let you go
You would leave me eternally.
You smiled at my fears, saying
I could not stay in your lap forever”
This collection also includes the never-before-published poem “Amazement Awaits,” commissioned for the 2008 Olympic Games:
“We are here at the portal of the world we had wished for
At the lintel of the world we most need.
We are here roaring and singing.
We prove that we can not only make peace, we can bring it with us.”
Timeless and prescient, this definitive compendium will warm the hearts of Maya Angelou’s most ardent admirers as it introduces new readers to the legendary poet, activist, and teacher—a phenomenal woman for the ages.
From the Hardcover edition.
A luminous, seductive new collection from the "fearless" (The New York Times) Pulitzer Prize–winning poet
Louise Glück is one of the finest American poets at work today. Her Poems 1962–2012 was hailed as "a major event in this country's literature" in the pages of The New York Times. Every new collection is at once a deepening and a revelation. Faithful and Virtuous Night is no exception.
You enter the world of this spellbinding book through one of its many dreamlike portals, and each time you enter it's the same place but it has been arranged differently. You were a woman. You were a man. This is a story of adventure, an encounter with the unknown, a knight's undaunted journey into the kingdom of death; this is a story of the world you've always known, that first primer where "on page three a dog appeared, on page five a ball" and every familiar facet has been made to shimmer like the contours of a dream, "the dog float[ing] into the sky to join the ball." Faithful and Virtuous Night tells a single story but the parts are mutable, the great sweep of its narrative mysterious and fateful, heartbreaking and charged with wonder.
More than one hundred years ago, the American philosopher William James dubbed the knowledge that we must die “the worm at the core” of the human condition. In 1974, cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker won the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Denial of Death, arguing that the terror of death has a pervasive effect on human affairs. Now authors Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski clarify with wide-ranging evidence the many ways the worm at the core guides our thoughts and actions, from the great art we create to the devastating wars we wage.
The Worm at the Core is the product of twenty-five years of in-depth research. Drawing from innovative experiments conducted around the globe, Solomon, Greenberg, and Pyszczynski show conclusively that the fear of death and the desire to transcend it inspire us to buy expensive cars, crave fame, put our health at risk, and disguise our animal nature. The fear of death can also prompt judges to dole out harsher punishments, make children react negatively to people different from themselves, and inflame intolerance and violence.
But the worm at the core need not consume us. Emerging from their research is a unique and compelling approach to these deeply existential issues: terror management theory. TMT proposes that human culture infuses our lives with order, stability, significance, and purpose, and these anchors enable us to function moment to moment without becoming overwhelmed by the knowledge of our ultimate fate. The authors immerse us in a new way of understanding human evolution, child development, history, religion, art, science, mental health, war, and politics in the twenty-first century. In so doing, they also reveal how we can better come to terms with death and learn to lead lives of courage, creativity, and compassion.
Written in an accessible, jargon-free style, The Worm at the Core offers a compelling new paradigm for understanding the choices we make in life—and a pathway toward divesting ourselves of the cultural and personal illusions that keep us from accepting the end that awaits us all.
Praise for The Worm at the Core
“The idea that nearly all human individual and cultural activity is a response to death sounds far-fetched. But the evidence the authors present is compelling and does a great deal to address many otherwise intractable mysteries of human behaviour. This is an important, superbly readable and potentially life-changing book.”—The Guardian (U.K.)
“A neat fusion of ideas borrowed from sociology, anthropology, existential philosophy and psychoanalysis.”—The Herald (U.K.)
“Deep, important, and beautifully written, The Worm at the Core describes a brilliant and utterly original program of scientific research on a force so powerful that it drives our lives.”—Daniel Gilbert, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Stumbling on Happiness
“As psychology becomes increasingly trivial, devolving into the promotion of positive-thinking platitudes, The Worm at the Core bucks the trend. The authors present—and provide robust evidence for—a psychological thesis with disturbing personal as well as political implications.”—John Horgan, author of The End of War and director of the Center for Science Writings, Stevens Institute of Technology
From the Hardcover edition.
Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs is a celebration of the special bond between human and dog, as understood through the poet’s relationships to the canines that have accompanied her daily walks, warmed her home, and inspired her work. Oliver’s poems begin in the small everyday moments familiar to all dog lovers, but through her extraordinary vision, these observations become higher meditations on the world and our place in it.
Dog Songs includes visits with old friends, like Oliver’s beloved Percy, and introduces still others in poems of love and laughter, heartbreak and grief. Throughout, the many dogs of Oliver’s life merge as fellow travelers and as guides, uniquely able to open our eyes to the lessons of the moment and the joys of nature and connection.
After the unexpected death of her husband, Joanne Huist Smith had no idea how she would keep herself together and be strong for her three children--especially with the holiday season approaching. But 12 days before Christmas, presents begin appearing on her doorstep with notes from their "True Friends." As the Smiths came together to solve the mystery of who the gifts were from, they began to thaw out from their grief and come together again as a family. This true story about the power of random acts of kindness will warm the heart, a beautiful reminder of the miracles of Christmas and the gift of family during the holiday season.
Based on the author's own experiences, as well as those of many others, Surviving the Death of a Sibling helps adults who have lost a brother or sister to realize that they are not alone in their struggle. Just as important, it teaches them to understand the unique stages of their grieving process, offering practical and prescriptive advice for dealing with each stage.
In Surviving the Death of a Sibling, T.J. Wray discusses:
• Searching for and finding meaning in your sibling's passing
• Using a grief journal to record your emotions
• Choosing a grief partner to help you through tough times
• Dealing with insensitive remarks made by others
Warm and personal, and a rich source of useful insights and coping strategies, Surviving the Death of a Sibling is a unique addition to the literature of bereavement.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
“This slim volume delights on every page. There are stories, imaginings, whimsy, and startling images which prove the poet’s power and her command of language . . . Anyone with a love of language will be delighted with this book and the continuing publication of America’s treasured poet.”—San Francisco Book Review
The poetry of Nikki Giovanni has spurred movements and inspired songs, turned hearts and informed generations. She's been hailed as a healer and as a national treasure. But Giovanni's heart resides in the everyday, where family and lovers gather, friends commune, and those no longer with us are remembered. And at every gathering there is food—food as sustenance, food as aphrodisiac, food as memory. A pot of beans is flavored with her mother's sighs—this sigh part cardamom, that one the essence of clove; a lover requests a banquet as an affirmation of ongoing passion; homage is paid to the most time-honored appetizer: soup.
With Chasing Utopia, Giovanni demands that the prosaic—flowers, birdsong, winter—be seen as poetic, and reaffirms once again why she is as energetic, "remarkable" (Gwendolyn Brooks), "wonderful" (Marian Wright Edelman),"outspoken, prolific, energetic" (New York Times), and relevant as ever.
With much love, d.s.
From the Paperback edition.
With her novel THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET, Sandra Cisneros introduced one of the most lyrically inventive voices ever to emerge from the barrio. Now she gives us a book of poems with the lilt of NORTEÑO music and the romantic abandon of a hot Saturday night. Celebrating the cataclysms of love and mapping the faultlines in the Mexican-American psyche, LOOSE WOMAN is by turns bawdy and introspective, flagrantly erotic and unabashedly funny, a work that is both a tour de force and a triumphant outpouring of pure soul.