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.
One night, my brother who is in his final year of his internal medicine residency called me after a long shift.
He spoke to me about a patient in the ICU diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. The patient had an unfavorable prognosis, his health quickly declining since his admission, but his family wasn’t ready to let him go. My brother, one of the most empathetic, family-oriented people I know, recounted how he respectfully advocated for the patient’s quality of life and how the family eventually opted to place the patient on comfort care. With comfort care, the patient would not be resuscitated in case of cardiopulmonary arrest and would instead be treated with end of life measures to assist in a dignified death.
I haven’t posted a blog post, or even written one for that matter, in over year! Because this blog has always been my e-journal guised as a book blog, it seems off chronologically(?) to post a book review without addressing my absence. So, let’s start with a quick little recap of 2021:
Happy new year, again! Cue the yearly reading challenges, resolutions, and pledges to read more!
Maybe not, though.
This year, we all seem to want the universe to please cut us a break. It appears that many people have taken the initiative to carve out some guilt-free, time for rest in the upcoming months, and for some avid readers, this means cutting down on how many books we’re aiming to read by 2022.
Although I personally don’t plan on scaling back my reading this year—there’s only so much reading my “slow-reader” butt can cut down on before I’m not reading anything 😅—the idea of slowing down how much literature I’m consuming brings to mind a question I ask myself often: how much do I read for the sake of content for my blog and YouTube channel?
I haven’t done one of these posts since 2018 (three years ago!?!), so I thought I would finally do one in the spirit of 2021 being a better year than 2020 🤞.
The overarching theme that I’ve set for myself this year is: I can do difficult things.It’s pretty much the same as my 2018 theme to “push myself outside of my comfort zone”, and as it silly as it sounds, it’s actually effective having something like a saying that I can remind myself of all year. (It’s better than not having anything to guide me like last year 😅.)Although my resolutions are very general and don’t appear to fall under “I can do difficult things“, it’s all cohesive in my head 😂:
This acclaimed novel was originally published in 1986, but I discovered it the way I think a good number of people did: through the 2004 animated film adaptation produced by Studio Ghibli and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Usually, I wouldn’t bother reading a book if I’ve seen its movie already, but I had always had an exception for Howl’s Moving Castle. The movie was just so magical and beautifully-crafted, and the soundtrack (the soundtrack!) was so good that I knew I had to see where it was born from. After finally reading the book, I can say that it was completely worth my time.
How often during conversations do you find yourself thinking that someone isn’t listening to you? How often do you find that you’re not listening?
In You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters, journalist Kate Murphy addressed the incessant rise of lonelinessin the digital ageand within cultures that tout personal success and identities over collectivism. Her recommendation (which shouldn’t be taken as a conclusive solution to the assuredly more complex issues of our times 😅) was to listen more.
Normally, I try to stay away from doing recommendation posts because I end up recommending the same five books I always mention. So, I really don’t know what to say about this post, except that I wanted to talk about music, but with a bookish spin .
Growing up, I was reluctantly proud of being half-filipino.
Even though I was also half-Indian, my mom was undoubtedly more successful than my dad at ensuring that my siblings and I were connected to her homeland and Filipino culture (sorry, dude ✌️). We used Filipino honorifics like “Ate” and “Kuya” in our household, regularly went to fiestas and novenas organized by family in the area, and visited the Philippines every two or three summers.
Truly, the only reason I can’t count the number of movies I’ve watched this month on one hand is because the number is zero 😅. But, I’m not letting that stop me from recommending a meager number of three movies that you should watch before May ends!
(They’re perfect for celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 😏!)
I’ve been meaning to start a series on here to highlight blogs I love on my long and growing list,so here she finally is, folks. Hopefully this will be a monthly feature because I’m pretty 💩 about doing tags and need another way to appreciate you all.
Here is an incomplete list of book blogs that never fail to entertain me, make me think, or bring a smile to my face. Some I’ve been following for years, others I found recently, and while I mercilessly comment on a handful of them 🥰, I remain a timid, silent follower of the rest lol 🙈: