The PLS Big Read

Being Mortal Leads to Life-changing Book Discussions

Since 2007, Pioneer Library System has hosted annual Big Read programs focused on engaging the community in the joy of literature. Each PLS Big Read event encourages people of all ages to explore stories through author visits, scholar panel presentations, book discussions, and other unique activities. A different novel is chosen each year, selecting Being Mortal for 2017.

If something happened to you, do your loved ones know your final wishes? Being Mortal by Atul Gawande explores this question and other end-of-life issues with compassion. As a surgeon and public health researcher, Gawande encourages readers to focus on making decisions that will give them the best quality of life and peace of mind in old age. Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

Each Pioneer library hosted a Being Mortal community book discussion group featuring scholars from fields such as medicine, counseling, and estate planning. Book discussion participants of all ages felt engaged by the conversations and emotionally connected to the topics. They left with a new outlook on end of life issues and a greater understanding of how to organize their affairs.

You can check out the Library Catalog for available copies of Being Mortal. Click here to learn more about estate planning and leaving a legacy with Pioneer.


  • The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation
  • The Norman Arts Council
  • University of Oklahoma College of Medicine
  • Individual donors to Pioneer Library System Foundation