Biographies and Memoirs

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The Year of Magical Thinkingby Joan Didion – Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage–and a life, in good times and bad–that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child.

Blue Nights, by Joan Didion – Richly textured with bits of her own childhood and married life with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and daughter, Quintana Roo, this new book by Joan Didion examines her thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness, and growing old.

Nothing to Be Frightened Ofby Julian Barnes – An atheist at twenty and an agnostic at sixty, Barnes looks into the various arguments for, against, and withGod, and at his own bloodline, which has become, following his parents’ death, another realm of mystery.

A Very Easy Deathby Simone De Beauvoir – Powerful, touching, and sometimes shocking, this is an end-of-life account that no reader is likely to forget.

Life After Death and Other Storiesby Susan Compo – The cutting edge of the post-punk Los Angeles scene is captured in a collection of sixteen stories and a novella that chronicle the interconnected, alienated lives of a dozen young members of that scene.

In Search of the Good: A Life in Bioethicsby Daniel Callahan, Ph.D. – In this memoir, he questions the idea of endless medical “progress” and interventionist end-of-life care that seems to blur the boundary between living and dying. It is the role of bioethics, he argues, to be a loyal dissenter in the onward march of medical progress.

Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospitalby Eric Manheimer, M.D. – A memoir from the Medical Director of Bellevue Hospital, Twelve Patients uses the plights of twelve very different patients…to illustrate larger societal issues.