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Irvin David Yalom (1931– ), a psychiatrist, textbook author, and novelist, was born on June 13, 1931, to Russian immigrant parents in Washington, D.C. He grew up in a small apartment above his parents’ grocery store, located at that time in the segregated African American section of inner-city Washington. His neighborhood was perilous, and as a child, Yalom sought refuge from life on the streets by turning to the inspiration, wisdom, and alternate world offered by literature. Twice a week, he biked to the library to stock up on books, where he once spent a year reading through a biography bookcase from A (John Adams) to Z (Zoroaster). During this time, he developed the notion that writing a novel is the finest thing a person ...

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