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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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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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I didn't want this charming book to end. A lengthy illness turns into a blessing as the son spends time with his mother, getting to know her in a different way. Discussing books helps them talk to each other and approach subjects that might be painful to talk about otherwise. ( )
  Luke_Brown | Sep 10, 2016 |
A must read for book lovers! This book will only enhance your appreciation for reading and give you some reccomendations on what to read to boot! Great gift for any book lover you know or a gift for your mother. ( )
  masteryoda716 | Aug 31, 2016 |
A moving memoir about a two person book club that is formed when a son's mother is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. To pass the time during chemo they form a bond reading literary novels both modern and classic, the novels help open up discussion about his mom's childhood, spirituality, world issues, and more. Inspiring and sure to give readers a longer reading list, this book will remind you to have those talks with loved ones, treat others with respect, and make the world a better place. Told from the son's perspective, he is candid and honest about his relationship with his mother, his fears, and overprotectiveness. His mother was a very awe inspiring person who led a rich life helping those less fortunate than herself and her son does a great job keeping her memory alive with this memoir. ( )
  ecataldi | Jul 26, 2016 |
The End of Your Life Book Club is Will Schwalbe's loving tribute to his mother, Mary Anne, organized around the books they read together during her treatment for terminal pancreatic cancer. Each of the twenty seven chapters is titled for the book that figured prominently in their discussions at that point in her illness but the number of titles covered is virtually countless. The authors, books, plays, scriptures and poems mentioned are listed at the end of the book - and the list is several pages long. Even so, this is more biography than bibliography. I have to say it became a little maudlin at times but not to the point that it was hard to read.

( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
I have tried to read this book several times. I finally ended up listening to it at work. This is a heart-felt memoir of a son coping with his mother's diagnosis with cancer and the book club they end up forming while going to chemotherapy and doctor appointments. Schwalbe talks a lot about his coming to terms with his mother's cancer and her coming death. He mixes this in a little heavily with the talk of the books they read together. Sometimes he would pick them, sometimes she would, sometimes the choices were made together. I think the reason I had such a hard time getting started with this book, is that when I read it on my own, I would stop and read a book they read. Which made it hard to make any progress. I listened to this at work, and it made it easier, I wasn't tempted to stop during the middle of reading to read a discussed book, instead, I would pause and write down the books I found interesting. Will's mother, Mary Ann, had an extraordinary life and I was just as fascinated by her story as I was about the books mentioned.

There are a few topics they discusses that left me thinking long after I read the book. The first idea was that technically, we are all in the end of our lives book club. The book we're currently reading could very well be our last. This was a shocking statement to me, but at the same time, made me very grateful for all the books I have read, all the friends I've made over the love of books and who suggest and lend books. It also made me think about all of the books I want to read and those that I will never get around to reading.

The second idea that struck me was that this mother and son would talk about their favorite fictional places down to the minute details. If they liked a particular house or apartment a character lived in, they would discuss which of them would live in it. Who would live down the street, how long it would take for a friend to come over, what the furniture would look like, etc. It made me want to have that type of discussion the next time I get together with friends. Overall, I enjoyed this book. It gave me a lot to think about. ( )
  pennylane78 | Jun 6, 2016 |
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This book is dedicated with love and gratitude to Nina, Doug, and Dad —
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:08 -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.

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