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Billiken Bookmarks: Books to Begin the New Year

As the semester winds down and days grow colder, Saint Louis University's published authors have recommendations for great books to begin your New Year. In this occasional mini-series, SLU authors share their favorite reads for a winter's day with their fellow staff, faculty and student colleagues.

In this edition, Newslink reached out to Patrick McCarthy, associate dean of the University Libraries, for a New Year's reading gem.

Patrick McCarthy

Patrick McCarthy (left) signs copies of Ethnic St. Louis with co-author Elizabeth Terry. 


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (Random House, 2016)

About the book

The book lyrically examines the role reversal of a physician with cancer and the intersections of his life as both doctor and patient, which become in the end a single, integrated whole. Kalanithi, a young neurosurgeon, wrote the book after receiving his own diagnosis of fatal cancer.

Reasons to read

When Breath Becomes Air is an accessible, beautifully written work you will remember and think about for a long time.

The SLU Connection

For the past ten years, I have helped run the Literature & Medicine discussion group at the Medical Center that uses the lens of literature – both fiction and nonfiction – to explore the vocation of healing and the profession of medicine and health care. When Breath Becomes Air is one of the best books we have read.

SLU Author Bio

Patrick McCarthy is associate dean of University Libraries and director of the Medical Center Library. He is active with the large local Bosnian refugee community and is the author of Ethnic St. Louis, co-written with John Wright and Elizabeth Terry, and After the Fall: Srebrenica Survivors in St. Louis.

'Billiken Bookmarks' is a mini-feature series that will appear with new reading recommendations from Saint Louis University authors and bibliophiles in the lead-up to the University's winter break. Recommendations for "Books to Begin the New Year" can be sent to Newslink until Dec. 20.