Transplant books library

Transplant books library

Despite my desire to maintain this blog, I find many weeks and often months go by before I interrupt what seem to be higher priorities to express myself here. While today is no exception, I’m interrupting a long to do list to add some thoughts anyway.

One of my many pleasures in life, and my life is filled with many pleasures, is reading books. At any one point in time I find myself engaged in anywhere from 2 to 5 books on a great variety of topics and often in different media. For example, I’ve just finished reading “The End of Your Life Book Club” on my new Kindle Fire tablet type reading device, a very different way of reading a book that lent itself to a propped up screen in front of my lunch time at the kitchen table. I have a choice of listening to it being read to me, a neat feature of this device, which unlike an audio-book has a computerized non-emotional but variable speed controlled text to voice capability, or an easy touch of the screen to flip between pages as I eat and read the same time. In the car I always have an audio-book on CDs available to fill in the brief five minutes or a longer trip of an hour or more with interesting and often educational material.

Of course there’s always the hard-copy books in a pile next to my desk, varying from short Simple Truth inspirational books to many others submitted for review on transplant related stories and topics. Then I can always read a downloaded e-book on my desktop screen in front of me, or another longer-term books sitting in the bathroom for that quiet time reading. Sometimes those adventure books become so engaging that instead of becoming a long-term reading project once fully engaged the book can’t be put down and all of a sudden I loose a day or more of my life totally engrossed in the excitement of a story, a true measure of the quality of the book.

What started out as the simple enjoyment of reading has grown over the years into a hobby that serves a much larger audience of authors and transplant families/recipients as I read and write book reviews of transplant related subjects which now number close to 100 books that are in both the library pictured above now housed at the Gift of Life Donor Programs Transplant Family House in Philadelphia as well as an online database available through the TRIO website for worldwide use. (see that 150+ book listing database at

What’s so neat about this hobby is that not only do I get free books that are sometimes not even yet published to read and review, but I also get to interact with the authors of these books who are also interesting and so passionate about the subject that they’ve written, often a personal inspirational story of life challenge overcome. Not only is this resource useful to the online visitor but it also serves as a resource when I find myself coaching a patient or family through their own transplant experience, able to recommend a book specific to their situation.

The End of Life Book Club cover

Maybe, and I do mean “maybe”, I could use the reading of each of these books as a topic for discussion on this blog since each lends itself to such different insights and feelings that might be of interest to my readers here. That’s just an idea, not a promise yet, as I stop here to get back to my more urgent “have to get done today” list of things to do. So stay tuned to see if that can develop.

Meanwhile I do recommend to your reading, especially if, as with my own beloved mother, you are an advocate for reading in your own life, the book just completed over lunch today as mentioned above, The End of Your Life Book Club, an account of a son and his mother as he supports her final months of life battling pancreatic cancer. As both share a love of reading, they use the discussion of shared books read to deepen their relationship in this final stage of life, leaving a legacy of this fascinating book that talks about life fully lived and death faced with courage and acceptance.

Other books recently read and recommended in recent weeks:

  • 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time (audio book) – absolutely fascinating science reading
  • Shift Your Fate: Life-Changing Wisdom for Proactive Kidney Patients – inspirational advocacy for living donor kidney transplantation vs. dialysis
  • Proof of Heaven – a noted scientist comes to believe in the existence of heaven after his own life changing NDE (“near death experience”)
  • Adam’s Journey – true life family search for a miracle cure of rare Mitochondrial Disease for their 4 year old son
  • A Transplant for Katy – a reporter’s behind the scenes  insight into modern day transplant program
  • Steve Jobs – his autobiography – what a great personal story of today’s modern computer development
  • Listening Is An Act of Love – audio book collection of personal love stories
  • And Thereby Hangs a Tale – audio book collection of folk stories
  • The Back Door Man – mystery fiction that couldn’t be put down once engaged, so be careful!
  • Death By Black Hole – deep science audio book about the cosmos and where the universe comes from (or at least current thinking on that mystery)
  • Just a Guy – autobiography of comedian Bill Engvall
  • The Next 100 Years – forecasting life and world happenings for the century ahead – very interesting theories with strong justification to the thinking

I know what your thinking, “No wonder Jim doesn’t get time to blog…” but I do get many things done beyond that reading, trust me…

PS: And to add still more fun to this experience, I’m dictating the text of this blog using my PC’s Dragon Naturally Speaking application to transfer my voice to this page without fingers touching the keyboard.  That just makes it easier to focus on the thoughts vs. my slow and challenged typing skills.