Breaking Free Writing Contest Winner

By David Lee Garrison
Star Rating

Rated by Helen H.
May 11, 2019

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that David Lee Garrison has won the open category of our writing contest on the theme of BREAKING FREE with "Putting Killers Away".

Dr. David Lee Garrison (Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University) taught Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Kansas in 1978-79, and then at Wright State University until his retirement in 2009. He and his wife, Suzanne Kelly-Garrison, have residences in Oakwood, Ohio, and in Prairie Village, dividing their time between the two cities. Almost all of Suzanne’s family lives in Kansas; David has a cousin in Grandview, MO

Survival Lessons

By Alice Hoffman
Star Rating

Rated by Cheryl M.
Feb 18, 2018

Alice Hoffman's Survival Lessons is a tiny, beautiful gem. While I have eagerly devoured all of Hoffman's fiction, I was not aware that she had written a non-fiction book or that she had survived a life-threatening illness. 

Survival Lessons details Hoffman's journey through cancer in the form of life advice. Eighty-three pages long, all the short chapters have the word "choose" in their titles: Choose Your Heroes, Choose to Enjoy Yourself, Choose your Friends, etc. Often displayed in waiting rooms for Oncology patients, Hoffman's book offers so much more than just survival lessons; it offers

Other People (DVD)

By Chris Kelly

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Aug 28, 2017

David (Jesse Plemons) is having a rough year. He’s a comedy writer pushing 30 whose pilot wasn’t picked up. His boyfriend just dumped him. And now he’s moving home with his parents, to help take care of his mother (Molly Shannon) while she dies of cancer. These are setbacks that are supposed to befall other people, he confides in an old classmate who tells him, “Now you’re other people for other people.” It’s with this dazed adrift quality that David goes through the next several months, struggling to spend as much time with his mother as he can while figuring out a way to get his life back on

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes

By Anna McPartlin

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Jan 21, 2017

Mia, "Rabbit", Hayes is a fighter and the very heart of her adoring family. But so is the cancer slowly taking over her body. Rabbit, however, refuses to acknowledge that her diagnosis has just rapidly plummeted or share the news with her 12 year old daughter, Juliet. Neither of them is ready to say goodbye. Rabbit's family is amazing, particularly her strong tough Irish "Mammy" Molly, who fights like a tiger for her daughter's life. Rabbit's father, Jack, and her siblings, Grace and Davey, are believably drawn characters. At times, the imminent loss of Rabbit threatens to push the family

I'm Just a Person

By Tig Notaro
Star Rating

Rated by Colleen O.
Aug 10, 2016

I must have been hiding under a rock, because I had not heard of Tig Notaro before she appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to talk about her newly released book. I'm Just a Person mostly revolves around what happened to her in the year 2012, but what I should actually say is what DIDN'T happen to her that year. Just in that year, she was diagnosed with an aggressive bacterial infection called c.Diff, from which she almost died. Immediately after this her mom died suddenly, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and her relationship with her girlfriend dissolved. But through all of these

When Breath Becomes Air

By Paul Kalanithi
Star Rating

Rated by Colleen O.
Apr 12, 2016

How do I begin discussing this book? It’s breathtaking, painful, haunting, and beautiful all at the same time. Paul Kalanithi attended Stanford and Yale to become a doctor trained in neurological surgery and neuroscience, all in the hopes of gaining an understanding of death, and choosing a much more difficult path to be able to treat the dying. As he’s just beginning his career and getting incredible job offers throughout the country, he is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at thirty-six years of age. He then begins to process death in a much more personal way, switching from a lifesaving

Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles: a True* Story

By Ron Currie Jr.
Star Rating

Rated by Helen H.
Jul 6, 2013

When Ron Currie’s love tells him she needs space and that he should leave, he does. He moves to the Caribbean where he is supposed to work on his next novel and wait patiently for her to request his return. That’s not what happens. He spends his days drinking heavily, cohabitating with a young college drop-out, and writing the completely wrong novel. Upon his failed suicide, Curry realizes that he can just disappear; and he does. But just for a while. And when he resurfaces he finds that his life, or rather, his death, has taken a decidedly unanticipated turn. And now he must deal with the

Mar 8, 2011

While I’m a little late to the game in reading Pausch’s The Last Lecture, I’m glad I finally got there. Pausch gave his last lecture at Carnegie Mellon, where he was a computer science professor. He had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, undergone unsuccessful chemotherapy treatment, and was getting his family settled and ready for life without him when the opportunity to give one last lecture presented itself.

He utilized the lecture to record the important moments in his life for his children. Pausch is unique in that he achieved many of his childhood dreams and he explains how during the

Feb 7, 2011

Best friends since the age of 3, Sam (Samantha) and Jesse now in high school are experiencing many changes, some good and some not so good.  The good:  after years of being best friends Sam and Jesse are falling in love and their bond is stronger than ever.  The bad:  Jesse has been diagnosed with a rare treatment resistant form of cancer.  Jesse is dying.

A unique look at dealing with terminal illness, the power of young love and the importance of family when dealing with a terminal illness.  Don't miss The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla.

The Spare Room by Helen Garner

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Mar 11, 2010

Helen's long-time friend, Nicola has terminal cancer. The doctors have done all they can but Nicola is determined to try alternative therapies. She asks Helen if she can stay with her for 3 weeks while she undergoes treatment at the Theodore Institute. Helen agrees but quickly discovers that she may have taken on more than she can handle. She also suspects that the Theodore Institute is a fraud. Helen's friendship is severely tested by Nicola's belief that the Institute can cure her cancer and by the physical demands of caring for her. The Spare Room gave me insight into what it might be like

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Feb 19, 2010


When Henrietta Lacks died in 1951, she didn't take everything with her. The doctors at Johns Hopkins took samples of her cancerous cervical tissue and turned them over to researchers, who discovered their amazing properties - HeLa, as the cells were named, became the first immortal cell line. Samples of the hardy cells were shipped all over the world, and for the first time incredibly advanced scientific research became possible. From the polio vaccine to space exploration to atomic bomb experiments, HeLa cells are seemingly omnipresent in a way Henrietta would never be... especially for


By David Small
Star Rating

Rated by Helen H.
Dec 27, 2009

When David was eleven, a family friend noticed a bump in his neck. Three and a half years later he would finally have the lump removed. Despite being told he was fine, two surgeries left David with only one vocal chord and a huge scar down his throat and neck. It wasn’t until later that David would learn he had had cancer and had not been expected to live. Small, a well-deserved award winning illustrator possesses an almost creepy ability to convey complex emotions through his drawings. The story itself is remarkable and the illustrations serve to heighten the impact. A must read regardless of