The Bright Hour

A Memoir of Living and Dying

The Bright Hour

* INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER *

“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 *

Best Books of 2017 Selection by * The Washington Post *

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 *

The New York Times bestseller by poet Nina Riggs, mother of two young sons and the direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, is “a stunning…heart-rending meditation on life…It is this year’s When Breath Becomes Air” (The Washington Post).

We are breathless but we love the days. They are promises. They are the only way to walk from one night to the other.

Poet and essayist Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer—one small spot. Within a year, she received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal.

How does a dying person learn to live each day “unattached to outcome”? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty? How does a young mother and wife prepare her two young children and adored husband for a loss that will shape the rest of their lives? How do we want to be remembered?

Exploring motherhood, marriage, friendship, and memory, Nina asks: What makes a meaningful life when one has limited time? “Profound and poignant” (O, The Oprah Magazine), The Bright Hour is about how to make the most of all the days, even the painful ones. It’s about the way literature, especially Nina’s direct ancestor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and her other muse, Montaigne, can be a balm and a form of prayer.

Brilliantly written and exceptionally moving, it’s a “deeply affecting memoir, a simultaneously heartbreaking and funny account of living with loss and the specter of death. As Riggs lyrically, unflinchingly details her reality, she finds beauty and truth that comfort even amid the crushing sadness” (People, Book of the Week).

Tender and heartwarming, The Bright Hour “is a gentle reminder to cherish each day” (Entertainment Weekly, Best New Books) and offers us this important perspective: “You can read a multitude books about how to die, but Riggs, a dying woman, will show you how to live” (The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice).
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501169373 | 
  • February 2018
List Price $16.00 (price may vary by retailer)
Ships on or around February 6, 2018
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Bright Hour includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Nina Riggs, a poet, mother of two young boys, and a wife of sixteen years, was just thirty-seven years old when diagnosed with treatable breast cancer—“one small spot.” Within a year, her cancer was terminal.

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 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 the way reading literature, especially Emerson and Nina’s other muse, Montaigne, can be a balm. It’s a book about looking death squarely in the face and saying: “This is what will be.”

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Discuss the book’s epigraph. Nina has included quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson throughout The Bright Hour. Why do you think she chose this passage as the epigraph? How does i see more

About the Author

Nina Riggs
Nina Riggs

Nina Riggs

Nina Riggs received her MFA in poetry in 2004 and published a book of poems, Lucky, Lucky, in 2009. She wrote about life with metastatic breast cancer on her blog, Suspicious Country; her recent work has appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times. She lived with her husband and sons and dogs in Greensboro, North Carolina. She is the author of The Bright Hour.

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