November Book Club Discussion Questions


Military Moms Blog presents …. the MilMB Book Club!

For our November book club selection, we chose “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi. In this slim and beautifully-written memoir, a neurosurgeon writes about love, loss, trauma, and life itself.  

Every good book club meets to discuss the book, to share ideas, and to answer or ask questions.  Why let geography prohibit our club?  Every month, we will present the questions compiled for our meeting to you, our readers, so that you also can participate.  You may want to start your own discussion group or club, so we thought these questions might be helpful; perhaps you would rather think about these questions alone or respond to our post.  Regardless, here are the questions for our meeting.

Keep an eye out for our November 26th post, which will have a summary of our discussion on “When Breath Becomes Air,” plus what our December book will be.

1.   Paul wrote that the question he asked himself was not “why me,” but “why not me.”  Could you relate?  Do you agree?

2.  What do you think of Paul and Lucy’s decision to have a child, despite his illness and prognosis?  

3.  Were there passages or excerpts that you found profound or that struck you as significant?

4.  Given that Paul had a love for literature and the meaning of words, do you think the title had any significance that was not obvious in his memoir?  What do YOU think “When Breath Becomes Air” means?

5.  If you could ask the author any question – about his life, his career, his studies, his illness, etc. – what would you ask?

6.   How did you feel after reading this book?  What emotions could you describe?  Will this be a book that you think about for days/weeks/months/years after?

What questions do you have about “When Breath Becomes Air?”  Share your questions and thoughts, and we can add them to our meeting!