Christopher Hitchens was a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, Slate, and The Atlantic, and the author of numerous books, In June 2010, while on a book tour for his bestselling memoir, Hitch-22, he was stricken in his New York hotel room with excruciating pain in his chest and thorax, and, as he would later write, deported "from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady." Throughout the course of his ordeal battling esophageal cancer, Hitchens adamantly refused the solace of religion, preferring to confront death with both eyes open. In his memoir Mortality, this month's selection of the Mortality Book Club, 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.
Our Mortality Book Club reads and discusses books having to do with the important--but frequently avoided---issues we confront at the end of our lives. Regular book club members include hospital and hospice workers, but also the adult children of aging parents, or just anyone who wonders about the many questions--medical, emotional, social, and philosophical--raised by human mortality. The book club facilitator is Jasmin Tomlins, herself in training as a death doula.