Sunday Salon/ Currently: 2/21/2016



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Quiet, low-key weekend here. Yesterday was as spectacular of a weather day as it gets in Pittsburgh — made even better by the fact that it’s February. Nearly 70 degrees, I did errands with my car window rolled down and it was warm enough to sit out on our enclosed deck.

When Breath Becomes AirThis week I finished When Breath Becomes Air, the posthumous memoir by Paul Kalanithi, a doctor who was diagnosed at age 36 with terminal cancer just as he was on the cusp of finishing ten years of medical training to be a neurosurgeon.  Without a doubt, at year’s end this will be high atop my Best Books I Read in 2016, if not my favorite book of the year. It certainly is so far. I am so in awe of this book, which I am recommending to everyone. I can’t stop thinking about it.

Saying that this is a thoughtful reflection on life and death sounds too simplistic; so does saying that it’s about time and what we do with the time we have.”What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present?” is the question posed in the book jacket description. It’s about the connection between science and the soul. What an incredible writer, doctor, and person Paul Kalanithi was.  What a tremendous loss to the medical and literature worlds.

When Breath Becomes Air is the type of book that requires something less intense as a follow-up read.  A collection of essays about Hillary Clinton and the 2016 presidential race probably doesn’t qualify as a less intense read, but nonetheless, I’m reading Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox which is edited by Joanne Cronrath Bamberger.

Love Her Love Her Not

Ten essays in (of 28 total), this anthology seems balanced towards the Love Her side of the polarizing effect of HRC.  That’s fine with me, since I’m a Hillary supporter and have been since the ’90s. I’ll be curious to see if the subsequent essays present a different view of her candidacy.

The Witches

After nearly four months, I decided to give up on The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff — at least temporarily. It’s incredibly detailed and very well researched, but for whatever reason I can’t seem to make much progress with this one. I think it’s the type of book that demands close focus and while I am trying to read only one book at a time, that hasn’t been the case with this.  I may give this another attempt at some point with an audiobook/print edition combination.


I’m still catching up with all the Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) posts from this week. A month or so ago, I first learned that the ladies from The Estella Society were bringing back this event, but it didn’t register that this was the week.  Hence, my participation was limited to two posts:  Why I Love Book Blogger Appreciation Week and Staying Connected with the Book Blogging Community (and 326 Book Blogs).

One BBAW-related post that I really liked was by Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness who wrote about Six Ways to Avoid Book Blogger Burnout. Her tips are great ones to keep in mind regardless of whether you identify as a book blogger or not.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank my friend Florinda for including me in her BBAW Superlatives list as the blogger “most likely to go off on a tangent.”

Hope you’re having a great Sunday!

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3 thoughts on “Sunday Salon/ Currently: 2/21/2016

  1. Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll)

    I enjoyed Schiff’s Cleopatra but pushed myself through it due to a reviewing deadline. Focus was definitely a factor. I’d probably get a kick out of devoting October to a serious book about the Salem Witch Trials.

    I had fun with BBAW, too, even though I participated lightly.

  2. Florinda

    I reviewed the Hillary book for Shelf Awareness a couple of months ago and found it was pretty balanced overall. I’ve been trying to resist WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR, but it’s been praised by so many people whose opinions I respect that I’m pretty sure I’ll cave soon.

    I put aside THE WITCHES a while ago and haven’t come around to picking it back up yet–my response thus far was pretty similar to yours. I didn’t make it through Schiff’s CLEOPATRA either, though, so maybe it’s me.

    Have a good week, Melissa! (And you’re welcome!)

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