The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs

The Bright Hour

By Nina Riggs

  • Release Date: 2017-06-06
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 74 Ratings
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Best Books of 2017 Selection by * The Washington Post * O Magazine * NPR * Bitch * Medium *

“Stunning…heartrending…this year’s When Breath Becomes Air.” —Nora Krug, The Washington Post

“Beautiful and haunting.” —Matt McCarthy, MD, USA TODAY

“Deeply affecting…simultaneously heartbreaking and funny.” —People (Book of the Week)

“Vivid, immediate.” —Laura Collins-Hughes, The Boston Globe

Starred reviews from * Kirkus Reviews * Publishers Weekly* Library Journal *

Most Anticipated Summer Reading Selection by * The Washington Post * Entertainment Weekly * Glamour * The Seattle Times * Vulture * InStyle * Bookpage * Bookriot * Real Simple * The Atlanta Journal-Constitution *

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.


  • ❤️

    By Poop loser 1235609
    Stunning. Took my breath away.
  • Wordless

    By Icefun1
    This was one of the most moving books I have ever read. Nina has touched me in a way that no book has. This is a lesson in courage and strength of the human heart. God's speed, my sweet Nina.
  • excellent touching memoir

    By samsohail
    Can relate to so much of her experience from the lens of a caregiver, friend and daughter who has witnessed cancer and its complicated course for the past few years. Great read for those whose are helping those with terminal illnesses to see the experience from the patients perspective.
  • Tears

    By Henanne
    I just finished reading and I was hoping it never stopped...
  • The Bright Hour

    By Barbara in Minnesota
    I just finished reading this amazing book for the second time. It had a major impact on me bringing forth emotions and feelings of joy, sorrow, celebration of family and overwhelming respect and love for the brilliant woman and author, Nina Riggs.