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Two years following the death of its author, neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air was posthumously published to global acclaim, working as both a candid portrait of the symptoms and treatment of cancer and as a meditative essay on what it is to prepare for death. As Being Mortal’s Atul Guwande observed, ‘the dying are the ones who have the most to teach us about life.’ As our Non-Fiction Book of the Month for January, we’re honoured to be able to present Kalanithi’s introduction to this remarkable memoir, an extract deeply affecting in itself.
Alexandra Heminsley won a legion of fans with her effervescent Running Like a Girl, her manifesto-cum-memoir for anyone who has looked on with sadness at their running shoes lying discarded in the hall. Now Heminsley weaves the same magic in Leap In, her spellbinding account of challenging our basic fears of the water and rediscovering an almost spiritual new realm. Basic questions around swimming however abound, and in the following extract from the book, the author assembles her top tips toward diving into a new life of fitness and meaningful pleasure.