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The End of Your Life Book Club by Will…

The End of Your Life Book Club (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Will Schwalbe

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1,0071128,479 (3.96)175
Title:The End of Your Life Book Club
Authors:Will Schwalbe
Info:Knopf (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

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The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe (2012)


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Why did I wait so long to read this book? Maybe I was put off by the title. I shouldn't have been. What a tribute Shwalbe has written to his mother in a guise of a two person book club that meets while his mother is waiting for chemo to treat her pancreatic cancer. I learned that even as much as I read there are a lot of books I haven’t read! But the books aren't the main attraction, they are the vehicle for letting the reader know what an amazing person Mary Anne Schwalbe was. Her thoughts and beliefs should be guidance for all of us. ( )
  brangwinn | Jun 15, 2014 |
This book will no doubt resonate with me for many months. I agree with Mitch Albom when he says, "A wonderful book... This story with stay with you long after the last page." I wish I had someone in life in to discuss so many similar books as this mother and son did. Lovely story, wonderful woman, and a very lucky son! I must add that I listened to this book while in my car, and it may have enhanced it a bit, as the reader did an excellent job! ( )
  patsaintsfan | May 23, 2014 |
This book will no doubt resonate with me for many months. I agree with Mitch Albom when he says, "A wonderful book... This story with stay with you long after the last page." I wish I had someone in life in to discuss so many similar books as this mother and son did. Lovely story, wonderful woman, and a very lucky son! I must add that I listened to this book while in my car, and it may have enhanced it a bit, as the reader did an excellent job! ( )
  patsaintsfan | May 23, 2014 |
I really loved this book. It is deceptively simple but very genuine and very moving. As any book lover will know already, books enrich and expand life, in all directions and in so many ways. The best way I can express this is to quote from Will Schwalbe's final paragraph of the book:

"...She never wavered in her conviction that books are the most powerful tool in the human arsenal, that reading all kinds of books, in whatever format you choose - electronic (even though that wasn't for her) or printed, or audio - is the grandest entertainment, and is also how you take part in the human conversation. Mom taught me that you can make a difference in the world and that books really do matter: they're how we know what we need to do in life, and how we tell others...that books can be how we get closer to each other, and stay close..." ( )
  jessibud2 | May 16, 2014 |
I do commend Mr. Schwalbe on his ability to write so openly and honestly about the death of his mother. It is remarkable that he uses such a personal topic to illustrate the power of reading and how books can connect individuals and teach lessons across the generations. The style of the author really holds the narrative together; it is frank, simple and avoids sending the story into melodrama, yet it is reflective when the author imparts wisdom that he has discovered in his journey...and there are many of those moments through this book. The reason I did not rate the book any higher is probably a fault of my own expectations - - I was really thinking this was a book solely about the books that he and his mother shared, however it goes into a lot more detail about his mother's life and the events leading up to her death, with the books as one aspect of their lives together rather than the entire focus. I personally would have enjoyed it more if they actually did go into more detail about the books they shared and the conversations between mother and son about them, as I found those portions to be the most engaging (not to mention enlightening) aspect of the book. Still, as said before that is only a criticism of the work, and not of the author or of the experience that he graciously shared with us. This books comes recommended. ( )
  abolton01 | May 2, 2014 |
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This book is dedicated with love and gratitude to Nina, Doug, ad Dad --
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We were nuts about the mocha in the waiting room at Memorial Sloan-Kettering's outpatient care center.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307594033, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2012: Tissues at the ready, I braced myself for The End of Your Life Book Club, Will Schwalbe’s memoir of his mother’s death from pancreatic cancer. But Mary Anne Schwalbe is such a fierce, unsentimental heroine--and her son such a frank and funny storyteller--that what could have been an emotional roller coaster turns out to be a beautifully paced ride. Mary Anne loves a good book as ardently as she loves her kids and her causes, chief among them a campaign to build a library in Afghanistan. When her health starts to fail, Will joins her for hospital appointments. They wait, they talk, and they read together--everything they’ve ever wanted to discuss. As much an homage to literature as to the mother who shared it with him, Will’s chronicle of this heartrending time opens up his captivating family to the rest of us. We should all be so lucky as to read along with the Schwalbes. --Mia Lipman

Amazon Exclusive: An Essay by Will Schwalbe

Will Schwalbe

For twenty-one years I worked in book publishing, mostly in editorial, acquiring the rights to manuscripts, working with authors to help shape their works, and trying to convince the world to pay attention to the various, wonderful books we were publishing. I learned from some of the all time great editors and publishers. But part of my publishing education went way, way back – to before I could read a word myself.

When I was a young child, before I went to sleep, my mother, like so many parents, would read me a book. My brother, eighteen months older, got his own book read to him. Later, my sister, four years younger, would have her own.

My mother was a working mother (a phrase she always disliked, as she rightly pointed out that no one talks of “working fathers”), so she wasn’t always home at night. She sometimes worked late, and she travelled for business, and, even when she and my dad were in town, they occasionally were out for dinner. But if she was home, she read us each a book before bed.

My early favorites included The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Harold and Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. I loved that there was a bull who liked to smell flowers and wouldn’t fight, and I was amazed by the boy who could draw himself out of any jam. But the experience was far more than the books themselves. First, there was the comfort and security of being tucked into bed. (Is it coincidence that we use the phrase “tuck into” before three of my favorite things: food, bed, and good books, or is it because the pleasures of each have so much in common?) Then, there was the happy, selfish knowledge that, when it was my turn, I would be able to monopolize my mother’s attention just by sitting and listening.

But what I remember most is the way Mom made us feel that she was sharing something she loved with us, not completing a chore or performing a ritual. (Though I’m sure there were many nights when she was exhausted and would have loved to be in bed herself and fast asleep.) And when we shared the books, we also shared discussions about them. Why didn’t the men understand that Ferdinand just didn’t want to fight? There’s no one answer, but it’s a question Mom and I explored together time and again.

Later, I would start to read to myself of course. But it was the nightly reading with Mom that helped me become a reader – and probably pushed me toward the career in book publishing. From Mom, I learned that there’s a public pleasure in books as well as a private one; that sharing books you love and getting others to read them can create a powerful bond, not just between a parent and child, but among thousands or millions of strangers.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:50 -0400)

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The inspiring story of a son and his dying mother, who form a "book club" that brings them together as her life comes to a close.

(summary from another edition)

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