Shake, Rattle & Toll

The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy

Ivan, a middle-aged, upper-class, high-stature Russian judge, lives a straightforward posh lifestyle. He doesn't really like his wife, but hey, who's perfect? He is very content to climb on his social ladder.

Well, one day, while on an actual ladder, Ivan slips while trying to hang some fancy new curtains. He injures his side, but brushes away the immediate pain. After suffering in non-silence for a few days, Ivan is forced to have a physician check on the symptoms.

Cause - :shrug:
Prognosis - Certain death.

Distraught that this is his fate after having lived such a "good" life, Ivan starts to loath his family and friends, who don't seem to acknowledge that the death bell is tolling. The impending doom shakes apart how Ivan defined his life. The book continues on in an intense and insightful study of what could go through a person's mind as he or she is reasoning and struggling with the concept of approaching death.

Reading a Tolstoy book is like peering directly into the human mind. You get to feel and experience what Ivan is going through, whether you are OK with that or not. I can only begin to imagine what would go through my head if a doctor told me I'd be on the outs in a couple of months. I've never really been a "self-searching" kind of guy, but I supposed I'd start looking for something, if that were the case.