The Bright Hour

The Bright HourThe Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs
Published by Simon and Schuster on June 6, 2017
Pages: 288

An exquisite memoir about how to live--and love--every day with "death in the room," from poet Nina Riggs, mother of two young sons and the direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in the tradition of When Breath Becomes Air.
"We are breathless, but we love the days. They are promises. They are the only way to walk from one night to the other."
Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer--one small spot. Within a year, the mother of two sons, ages seven and nine, and married sixteen years to her best friend, received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal.
How does one live each day, "unattached to outcome"? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty?
Exploring motherhood, marriage, friendship, and memory, even as she wrestles with the legacy of her great-great-great grandfather, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nina Riggs's breathtaking memoir continues the urgent conversation that Paul Kalanithi began in his gorgeous When Breath Becomes Air. She asks, what makes a meaningful life when one has limited time?
Brilliantly written, disarmingly funny, and deeply moving, The Bright Hour is about how to love all the days, even the bad ones, and it's about the way literature, especially Emerson, and Nina's other muse, Montaigne, can be a balm and a form of prayer. It's a book about looking death squarely in the face and saying "this is what will be."
Especially poignant in these uncertain times, The Bright Hour urges us to live well and not lose sight of what makes us human: love, art, music, words.

It’s been a while since I have been here. Life has gotten quite a bit hectic and it is taking me WAY too long to get through books lately. I also have been caught up in the #100dayproject, which you can catch in more details on my instagram.

Let’s get back to the real reason you are here. Today’s post is about The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs. Last year when the Paper&Glam book club read When Breath becomes Air and the members found out that the 2 spouses of the authors were now dating, I knew that at some point I would need to read this book! I was finally able to pick up the book this year, not only that it fulfilled the requirement for the Rachel Dawson’s reading challenge of Memoir.

Nina Riggs’ book is written in a series of essays that seem to be written in chronological order and slowly get more introspective as the book progresses. Throughout the book Riggs talks candidly about her dealing with breast cancer, which soon spreads to other parts of her body. She also mentions her conversations with other cancer patients including her mother and her best friend Ginny. Riggs also quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson and other notable writers throughout the book showing off her MFA degree with some air of knowledge, but not in a haughty sense.

I loved that Nina Riggs’ is able to talk so candidly about her battle with cancer and share her thoughts on losing her mother during her battle, as well as a few interactions with her doctors and nurses throughout the ordeal. I would definitely recommend this book for its thoughtful introspective nature. I would not recommend this book for people who have recently lost a loved one to cancer or are currently battling cancer. I was in tears toward the end of the book, even though I knew what was going to happen. I also thought that it was sweet that her husband included an end note regarding many of the people we were introduced to throughout the book as to tie the ends together.

Let me know what you have been reading lately and if you have read this book also.


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