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Death & Dying

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  1. 5.2 hrs • 1/26/2016 • Unabridged

    Mike Fechner had cofounded an urban renewal ministry called HIS BridgeBuilders and sold all he owned to fund it. But at this stage of serving the poor full time, when Mike believed he was doing precisely what God wanted him to do, the unthinkable happened. Mike was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given a year to live. With his life’s clock now quickly ticking away, in a time of incredible pain and bewilderment, Mike discovered what it meant to truly lose his life for the sake of finding it. Through faith he kept going forward, and encountered a wilder, more adventurous life than he had ever imagined, a life truly given away and truly found. Lessons on the Way to Heaven is brimming with hope and faith, vision, and wisdom. It’s a “last lecture” (Randy Pausch) for anyone who wonders what life is all about, who’s hurting and needs encouragement, or who wants to discover the secret of living a life that is so good it is beyond belief.

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    Lessons on the Way to Heaven

    5.2 hrs • 1/26/16 • Unabridged
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    5.6 hrs • 1/12/2016 • Unabridged

    For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question: What makes a life worth living? 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. What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir. Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

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    When Breath Becomes Air

    Foreword by Abraham Verghese
    5.6 hrs • 1/12/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 4.2 hrs • 6/2/2015 • Unabridged

    His mother’s last word was his name. His father’s was, “Wonderful.” Together they inspired the title for this true story of love and redemption. Bob Morris was always the entertainer in his family but not always a perfect son. When he finds his parents approaching the end of their lives, he begins to see his relationship to them in a whole new light, and it changes his way of thinking. How does an adult child with flaws and limitations figure out how to do his best for his ailing parents while still carrying on and enjoying his own life? And when their final days on Earth come, how can he give them the best possible end? In the tradition of bestselling memoirs by Christopher Buckley, Joan Didion, and with a dash of David Sedaris, Bobby Wonderful recounts two poignant deaths and one family’s struggle to find the silver lining in them. As accessible as he is insightful, Bob Morris infuses each moment of his profound emotional journey with dark comedy, spiritual inquiry, and brutally honest self-examination. This is a little book, but it captures a big, universal experience.

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    Bobby Wonderful

    4.2 hrs • 6/2/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 8.3 hrs • 5/12/2015 • Unabridged

    A transformative, fascinating new theory that reveals how our unconscious fear of death powers almost everything we do, shining a light on the hidden motivations of human behavior. More than one hundred years ago, the American philosopher William James wrote that the knowledge that we must die is “the worm at the core” of the human condition—a universally shared fear that informs all our thoughts and actions, from the great art we create to the devastating wars we wage. Using data collected from human subjects, Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski show conclusively that the fear of death and the desire to transcend it inspire us to buy expensive cars, crave fame, put our health at risk, and disguise our animal nature. The fear of death can also prompt judges to dole out harsher punishments, make children react negatively to people different from themselves, and inflame intolerance and violence. But the worm at the core need not consume us. This book also reveals how human beings have come to terms with death and learned to lead lives of courage, creativity, and compassion. It infuses our lives with order, stability, significance, and purpose, and these anchors enable us to function moment to moment without becoming overwhelmed by the knowledge of our ultimate fate.

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    The Worm at the Core

    8.3 hrs • 5/12/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 13.4 hrs • 1/27/2015 • Unabridged

    A masterly work of literary journalism about a senseless murder, a relentless detective, and the great plague of homicide in America On a warm spring evening in South Los Angeles, a young man is shot and killed on a sidewalk minutes away from his home, one of the thousands of black Americans murdered that year. His assailant runs down the street, jumps into an SUV, and vanishes, hoping to join the scores of killers in American cities who are never arrested for their crimes. But as soon as the case is assigned to Detective John Skaggs, the odds shift. Here is the kaleidoscopic story of the quintessential, but mostly ignored, American murder—a “ghettoside” killing, one young black man slaying another—and a brilliant and driven cadre of detectives whose creed is to pursue justice for forgotten victims at all costs. Ghettoside is a fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and a surprising new lens into the great subject of why murder happens in our cities—and how the epidemic of killings might yet be stopped.

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    Ghettoside

    13.4 hrs • 1/27/15 • Unabridged
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  6. 3.3 hrs • 11/4/2014 • Abridged

    Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, MD, is the woman who has transformed the way the world thinks about death and dying. Beginning with the groundbreaking publication of the classic psychological study On Death and Dying and continuing through her many books and her years working with terminally ill children, AIDS patients, and the elderly, Kübler-Ross has brought comfort and understanding to millions coping with their own deaths or the deaths of loved ones. Now, at age seventy-one facing her own death, this world-renowned healer tells the story of her extraordinary life. Having taught the world how to die well, she now offers a lesson on how to live well. Her story is an adventure of the heart—powerful, controversial, inspirational—a fitting legacy of a powerful life.

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    The Wheel of Life

    3.3 hrs • 11/4/14 • Abridged
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  7. 7.5 hrs • 11/4/2014 • Unabridged

    Is this really how I want to live my life? Each one of us at some point asks this question. The tragedy is not that life is short but that we often see only in hindsight what really matters. In this, her first book on life and living, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross joins with David Kessler to guide us through the practical and spiritual lessons we need to learn so that we can live life to its fullest in every moment. Many years of working with the dying have shown the authors that certain lessons come up over and over again. Some of these lessons are enormously difficult to master, but even the attempts to understand them can be deeply rewarding. Here, in fourteen accessible chapters, from the Lesson of Love to the Lesson of Happiness, the authors reveal the truth about our fears, our hopes, our relationships, and, above all, about the grandness of who we really are.

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    Life Lessons

    Read by David Kessler and Gabrielle de Cuir
    7.5 hrs • 11/4/14 • Unabridged
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  8. 0 reviews 0 5 3 3 out of 5 stars 3/5
    9.1 hrs • 10/7/2014 • Unabridged

    In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.  Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified. Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

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    Being Mortal

    9.1 hrs • 10/7/14 • Unabridged
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  9. 7.7 hrs • 9/15/2014 • Unabridged

    A young mortician goes behind the scenes, unafraid of the gruesome (and fascinating) details of her curious profession. Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures. Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didn’t know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like? Honest and heartfelt, self-deprecating and ironic, Caitlin’s engaging style makes this otherwise taboo topic both approachable and engrossing. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).

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    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

    7.7 hrs • 9/15/14 • Unabridged
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  10. 0 reviews 0 5 2 2 out of 5 stars 2/5
    6.2 hrs • 9/2/2014 • Unabridged

    If you caught a glimpse of heaven, would you choose to come back to life? Investigative journalist Judy Bachrach has collected accounts of those who died and then returned to life with lucid, vivid memories of what occurred while they were dead, and the conclusions are astonishing. Clinical death—the moment when the heart stops beating and brain stem activity ceases—is not necessarily the end of consciousness, as a number of doctors are now beginning to concede. Hundreds of thousands of fascinating post-death experiences have been documented, and for many who have died and returned, life is forever changed. These days, an increasing number of scientific researchers are turning their studies to people who have experienced what the author calls death travels—putting stock and credence in the sights, encounters, and exciting experiences reported by those who return from the dead. Through interviews with scores of these “death travelers,” and with physicians, nurses, and scientists unraveling the mysteries of the afterlife, Bachrach redefines the meaning of both life and death. Glimpsing Heaven reveals both the uncertainty and the surprising joys of life after death.

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    Glimpsing Heaven by Judy Bachrach

    Glimpsing Heaven

    6.2 hrs • 9/2/14 • Unabridged
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  11. 3.2 hrs • 5/1/2014 • Unabridged

    The Ask Deepak series was created to encourage people to live healthier, fuller lives and to be more aware. Deepak Chopra delivers this inspiring project for personal and global transformation. In this collection, Deepak answers questions about death and dying.

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  12. 7.4 hrs • 1/7/2014 • Unabridged

    “Every life is different, but every death is the same. We live with others. We die alone.” In his riveting, artfully written memoir The Autobiography of an Execution, David Dow enraptured readers with a searing and frank exploration of his work defending inmates on death row. But when Dow's father-in-law receives his own death sentence in the form of terminal cancer, and his gentle dog Winona suffers acute liver failure, the author is forced to reconcile with death in a far more personal way, both as a son and as a father. Told through the disparate lenses of the legal battles he’s spent a career fighting, and the intimate confrontations with death each family faces at home, The Things I’ve Learned from Dying offers a poignant and lyrical account of how illness and loss can ravage a family. Full of grace and intelligence, Dow offers readers hope without cliché and reaffirms our basic human needs for acceptance and love by giving voice to the anguish we all face—as parents, as children, as partners, as friends—when our loved ones die tragically, and far too soon.

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    Things I’ve Learned from Dying

    7.4 hrs • 1/7/14 • Unabridged
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  13. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    17.6 hrs • 9/10/2013 • Unabridged

    Pulitzer Prize–winner Sheri Fink’s landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina—and her suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice In the tradition of the best writing on medicine, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amidst chaos. After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths.  Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health-care rationing.

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    Five Days at Memorial

    17.6 hrs • 9/10/13 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
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  14. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    2.2 hrs • 9/4/2012 • Unabridged

    On June 8, 2010, while on a book tour for his bestselling memoir, Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens was stricken in his New York hotel room with excruciating pain in his chest and thorax. As he would later write in the first of a series of award-winning columns for Vanity Fair, he suddenly found himself being deported “from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady.” Over the next eighteen months, until his death in Houston on December 15, 2011, he wrote constantly and brilliantly on politics and culture, astonishing readers with his capacity for superior work even in extremis. Throughout the course of his ordeal battling esophageal cancer, Hitchens adamantly and bravely refused the solace of religion, preferring to confront death with both eyes open. In this riveting account of his affliction, Hitchens poignantly describes the torments of illness, discusses its taboos, and explores how disease transforms experience and changes our relationship to the world around us. By turns personal and philosophical, Hitchens embraces the full panoply of human emotions as cancer invades his body and compels him to grapple with the enigma of death. Mortality is the exemplary story of one man’s refusal to cower in the face of the unknown, as well as a searching look at the human predicament. Crisp and vivid, veined throughout with penetrating intelligence, Hitchens’ testament is a courageous and lucid work of literature, an affirmation of the dignity and worth of man.

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    Mortality

    Foreword by Graydon Carter
    Afterword by Carol Blue
    Read by Simon Prebble
    2.2 hrs • 9/4/12 • Unabridged
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  15. 8.5 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    From the Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Jonathan Weiner comes a fast-paced and astonishing scientific adventure story: has the long-sought secret of eternal youth at last been found? In recent years, the dream of eternal youth has started to look like more than just a dream. In the twentieth century alone, life expectancy increased by more than thirty years—almost as much time as humans have gained in the whole span of human existence. Today a motley array of scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs believe that another, bigger leap is at hand—that human immortality is not only possible, but attainable in our own time. Is there genius or folly in the dreams of these charismatic but eccentric thinkers? In Long for This World, Jonathan Weiner, a natural storyteller and an intrepid reporter with a gift for making cutting-edge science understandable, takes the listener on a whirlwind intellectual quest to find out. From Berkeley to the Bronx, from Cambridge University to Dante’s tomb in Ravenna, Weiner meets the leading intellectuals in the field and delves into the mind-blowing science behind the latest research. He traces the centuries-old, fascinating history of the quest for longevity in art, science, and literature, from Gilgamesh to Shakespeare, Doctor Faustus to “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” And he tells the dramatic story of how aging could be conquered once and for all, focusing on the ideas of those who believe aging is a curable disease. Chief among them is the extraordinary Aubrey de Grey, a garrulous Englishman who bears more than a passing resemblance to Methuselah (at 969 years, the oldest man in the Bible), and who is perhaps immortality’s most radical and engaging true believer. A rollicking scientific adventure story in the grand manner of Oliver Sacks, Long for This World is science writing of the highest order and with the highest stakes. Could we live forever? And if we could, would we want to?

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    Long for This World

    8.5 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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  16. 6.7 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    Marilyn Johnson was enthralled by the remarkable lives that were marching out of this world—so she sought out the best obits in the English language and the people who spent their lives writing about the dead. She surveyed the darkest corners of Internet chat rooms, and made a pilgrimage to London to savor the most caustic and literate obits of all. Now she leads us on a compelling journey into the cult and culture behind the obituary page and the unusual lives we don't quite appreciate until they're gone.

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    The Dead Beat

    6.7 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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