Before I Die
By Candy Chang
St. Martin's Griffin, 2013. 303 pg. Nonfiction.
When a close friend of Candy Chang's died, she felt inspired to celebrate her life through an art installation on the side of an abandoned New Orleans house, one that would allow the community to reflect on their dreams and ambition. With a little chalkboard paint and some boxes of colored chalk, Chang created a collaborative display that resonated not only in her community but throughout the world.
This was really a beautiful book in every way. The photography was excellent and gave a good feel for what the "Before I Die" boards inspired across the globe. And the stories themselves were uplifting. Chang manages to record a good selection of dreams ranging from the mundane ("travel") to the touching ("meet my grandchildren") and the completely original ("eat salad with an alien"), but all of them encourage the reader to think about their own dreams and ambitions in the face of the dreams of others.