Being Cancer Book Club offers a unique activity for the cancer blogging community. It is a way for us to share our thoughts and reactions to some of the best books about cancer. Each month we will select a new book, divide it into four reading assignments. Each Monday we will discuss a portion of the book. I will try to post “discussion” questions the week before. A number of cancer bloggers have published books. We will feature these whenever we can. If you wish to read archived posts about Book Club selections, click on “Book Club” in the Categories section. Disclosure: I will receive 4% commission on book orders placed from my site.
~ February 2010 selection: “The Middle Place” by Kelly Corrigan
Newspaper columnist Corrigan was a happily married mother of two young daughters when she discovered a cancerous lump in her breast. She was still undergoing treatment when she learned that her beloved father, who’d already survived prostate cancer, now had bladder cancer. Corrigan’s story could have been unbearably depressing had she not made it clear from the start that she came from sturdy stock. Growing up, she loved hearing her father boom out his morning HELLO WORLD dialogue with the universe, so his kids would feel like the world wasn’t just a safe place but was even rooting for you. As Corrigan reports on her cancer treatment—the chemo, the surgery, the radiation—she weaves in the story of how it felt growing up in a big, suburban Philadelphia family with her larger-than-life father and her steady-loving mother and brothers. She tells how she met her husband, how she gave birth to her daughters. All these stories lead up to where she is now, in that middle place, being someone’s child, but also having children of her own. Those learning to accept their own adulthood might find strength—and humor—in Corrigan’s feisty memoir.
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March 2010 selection: ” Called Away ” by Mary Cappello
In her intensely personal and insightful memoir, Mary Cappello wonders aloud for us what breast cancer awareness really makes us aware of, and responds as if for the first time to the deceivingly simple command: “tell me what you’re feeling.” Unable to eat on chemotherapy, Cappello feasts on the paintings of Marsden Hartley, yearns in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Gertrude Stein, keeps company with Marcel Proust, and lets queer artists tease her back to life. Called Back looks through the lens of cancer to discover—often with humor—new truths about intimacy and essential solitude, eroticism, the fact of the body, and the impossibility of turning away.
Order from Amazon: Called Back: My Reply to Cancer, My Return to Life
Previous Book Club Selections
~ January 2010 selection: ” Cancer on $5 a Day ” by Robert Schimmel
Order from Amazon: Cancer on Five Dollars a Day (chemo not included): How Humor Got Me Through the Toughest Journey of My Life
~ November 2009 Selections: “What is Death?” by Etan Boritzer (Nov 2); “What is God?” by Etan Bortizer (Nov 9); “When Someone Your Love Has Cancer” by Cecil Murphy (Nov 30) Purchase from Amazon: What Is Death When Someone You Love Has Cancer: Comfort and Encouragement for Caregivers and Loved Ones
~ October 2009 Selection: “Lisa’s Story: the other shoe” by Tom Batiuk Purchase from Amazon: Lisa’s Story: The Other Shoe
~ September 2009 Selection: “Time On Fire: My Comedy of Terrors” by Evan Handler Purchase from Amazon: Time on Fire: My Comedy of Terrors
~ August 2009 Selection: “The Light Within” by Lois M. Ramondetta, MD & Deborah Rose Sills
The luminous true story of a friendship that shed the boundaries of the doctor-patient relationship and became less a confrontation with death than a celebration of the joys of life. Purchase from Amazon: