5 Melancholic Works of Nonfiction You Should Read

5.) Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl: Deep life lessons learned inside a Nazi death camp.

 

4.) Being Mortal by Atul Gawande: A medical doctor discusses how living longer doesn’t necessarily mean living better, and what that can mean for one’s final years.

 

3.) When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi: Contemplations on the meaning of life from a doctor who was dying from a terminal illness, and who succumbed before completion of the book.

 

2.) The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby: The story of a man who developed Locked-In Syndrome in the wake of a severe stroke and couldn’t move a muscle, save one eyelid.

 

1.) First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung: The title captures the family level tragedy of Pol Pot’s rule, but the book conveys something of the national tragedy as well.

POEM: Too Happy

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I’m too happy to be crazy,

but the happy makes me lazy

Not lazy, but lacking focus.

Madness is a creative locus.

 

A sad gravity weighs one down,

as lip corners into a frown,

but in the pit resides a muse.

People pay to hear the blues.

 

If you could peer inside my mind,

you’d see stacks of rotting rinds.

The rinds pile up and they ferment.

Maybe to a soulful lament?

 

Or maybe they just start to  sour,

becoming fouler by the hour.

Until you can’t believe the stink,

and every word is wasted ink.