Originally created 08/14/04

Book club discusses topics on life, death



Even if caregivers for the dying have never heard of The Four Things That Matter Most - A Book About Living, they can gain from its discussion Thursday at the inaugural meeting of a monthly communitywide book club sponsored by St. Joseph Hospice.

The book, by hospice physician Ira Byock, of the Dartmouth School of Medicine, is one of several titles in a series that covers several faith traditions, said Stephanie Quattlebaum, a bereavement facilitator. She will alternate leading discussions with the hospice manager, Joe Dunagan.

Some books will be funny, some will be deep, but none will be technical or difficult to read, Ms. Quattlebaum said.

Though the book club will give caregivers a platform to talk, it will not be a support group. Instead, meetings will give people an opportunity to hit a book's highlights in one evening without the expectation that anyone will necessarily attend the club regularly.

"We offer a lot of support groups, but sometimes that is not what somebody needs," Ms. Quattlebaum said.

Dr. Byock's book focuses on four phrases that he maintains should be part of every relationship: I love you, please forgive me, I forgive you and thank you. He relates stories about how those phrases have helped the dying complete their lives, Ms. Quattlebaum said.

Other titles include: I Heard the Owl Call My Name, by Margaret Craven; It's Not About the Bike - My Journey Back to Life, by Lance Armstrong with Sally Jenkins; Talk Before Sleep, by Elizabeth Berg; and East of the Mountains, by David Guterson.

East of the Mountains is a novel about a terminal cancer patient who goes into the wilderness intending not to return. Instead,he finds renewed meaning to life.

"(It) is a wonderful book about retreating when things are going on," Ms. Quattlebaum said.

Reach Virginia Norton at (706) 823-3336 or virginia.norton@augustachronicle.com.

GET READING

WHAT: Communitywide book club

WHO: Stephanie Quattlebaum and Joe Dunagan, of St. Joseph Hospice

WHEN: 7 p.m., third Thursdays, starting Aug. 19

WHERE: 2260 Wrightsboro Road

PHONE: 729-6000