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What makes life meaningful?

This summer's title is Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande, MD. This nonfiction memoir written by a physician addresses a host of medical, quality-of-life, and end-of-life issues. Modern medicine has transformed the dangers of childbirth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the face of our inevitable aging and death, what it can do often runs counter to what it should do. Through eye-opening research and gripping stories of his own patients and family, Atul Gawande reveals the suffering this has produced. He examines the profession's limitations and failures as life draws to a close. And he shows how the ultimate goal is not a good death, but a good life, until the very end.

About the author

Atul Gawande is a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He is also the executive director of Ariadne Labs and chairman of Lifebox, a nonprofit organization making surgery safer globally. A former Rhodes scholar, he received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He lives with his wife and three children in Newton, Massachusetts. Gawande has written several books including Complications, Better, and The Checklist Manifesto. He has won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science and two National Magazine Awards. He won the prize for Adult Non-fiction in the Indies Choice Book Awards 2015 with Being Mortal.

Why this title? 

With this selection, chosen by a team of librarians, the library continues to pursue the community-wide reading program's goal of offering opportunities to connect on topics that matter to Oak Park. The book is available in multiple formats including large print, ebook, and audiobook.

TED Talk: How do we heal medicine?

More to get your group talking...

As in previous summers, events at the library and in the community will provide opportunities to talk about the title and the topics it covers. See the "Upcoming One Book Events" list on this page and check the calendar for all One Book events.

Also like last year, book discussion bags are available for checkout, making it easy for you to talk about this title offsite with your own group. Each bag is loaded with 10 copies of the book, as well as discussion questions, author background, read-alikes, and more.

Download Events, Suggestions, and Topics to Get Your Group Talking (PDF) >

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