radiation days. the rollicking, lighthearted story of a man and his cancer by Lynn Hoffman is a lovely book that demonstrates the art and the value of living in the moment. The author is a novelist/poet, a chef, a professor of culinary arts, and a wine and beer connoisseur. A couple years ago (how long now?) he became a blogger–journaling his way through his year-long experience as a man with cancer.
This is a cancer memoir, but there’s more to it than that. Despite the all-absorbing job it is to be a cancer patient, Hoffman manages to go on living his life. He pays attention to the little things and shows us that they are, in fact, the big things. He points out the problem with "the bucket list." You shouldn’t wait until you’re dying to make a list of things you want to do. Get out and do them. He reminds us of the importance of friends, kindness, generosity. Of course we all know this, but he puts it all in a context that lets the message sink in a little more. Oh, also, get your kids an HPV vaccine.
radiation days is not just a book that I would recommend to someone who is facing a cancer diagnosis or to a family member of someone in that position. It’s a life philosophy book. We shouldn’t have to have a cancer diagnosis to appreciate life, but we’re generally so busy rushing through it that we don’t stop to look for the good in what we are experiencing right now. In the book, Hoffman mentions how much he loves teaching, one of his professions, and it was clearly helpful in his healing process that he was able to get out and teach classes as he was recuperating. Well, he’s teaching still. This is not a hit-you-over-the-head-with-its-sermon kind of book. It’s more gentle than that. Hoffman shows by example how each day is precious, cancer or not. It shouldn’t be so hard for me to remember that!