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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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1,2671266,234 (3.92)189
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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Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
Interesting for end of life issues and for inter-generational reading. Not something I would re-read
1 vote earthreader | Oct 26, 2015 |
Strong. Passionate. Mesmerizing. This memoir is written by an adult son who spends time with his mom who is 73 and undergoing cancer treatments when the book begins. They both love to read and create their own book club of two, each suggesting books to read and discuss. Many of their discussions are done in waiting rooms before doctor appointments and then in the 2 to 7 hour drug infusions. They pick spectacular books that speak to them and to me. His mother turns out to be a passionate fighter for refugees and visited Afghanistan and refugee camps there nine times. She was shot at once. She also visited refugees in south east Asia and north Africa. Her Christian faith sustains her at all times. During her fight for her life against cancer she raised money and planned for a library to be built in Kabul, Afghanistan. His mother is a woman who is all about giving and who finds great joy in life and in her family. The book deals with tender tough questions about what do a mother and son say to each other as the mother nears the end of her life. ( )
  hangen | Oct 1, 2015 |
I'm so happy I picked up this book when I did. It came to me at just the right time. My dear Auntie Prudie passed it on to me on a recent visit. We have shared a life long love of books and talking about books. In fact, I give her credit for making me a reader. So many of the books referenced in Will Schwalbe's book are titles we've shared. I just can't get over it. I am so thankful for this book. And I am truly inspired by the life of Mary Ann Schwalbe and this beautiful book by her son. ( )
  rgustafson | Sep 13, 2015 |
This wasn't a depressing book at all. A good read for anyone who loves books and the joy you can have sharing that love with someone else.

There are difficult sections that the author shares about abuse that his mother witnessed in her work with refugee camps, but I don't think those sections take away the positive message the author tries to share. I think he shared more than he may have wanted in regards to his relationship with his mother. I do feel he painted her in a glowing light that may shine a little bright, but who wouldn't do so for a parent they love.

The one thing in the book that struck me was the lack of his father's presence throughout the book. Sister and brother made small appearances, but it seemed more about his fixation on himself and his mother.

This sounds negative now that I write it, but it really was much more about the books they read and his memory of their discussions. If nothing else, any ""uncommon reader"" will walk away with a longer ""to read"" list. ( )
  wvlibrarydude | Sep 6, 2015 |
As Will Schwalbe's mother is dying of pancreatic cancer, mother and son decide to start a book club, which often takes place during the mother's cancer treatments. Schwalbe tells some stories from his mother's life and also relates the discussions they had about the books they read. The book reads like a eulogy, chronicling many of the positive things his mother did during her lifetime. She was an amazing women, devoting a lot of energy to humanitarian causes up until her death. However, I got tired of reading about how generous and selfless she was. I felt very cold-hearted about this thought, but someone in my book club brought up the fact that she felt that way, and everyone else agreed. I liked what the book had to say about the importance of books and reading, and got several good book recommendations from it (hopefully), but overall I wouldn't recommend the book. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
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This book is dedicated with love and gratitude to Nina, Doug, and 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 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.

(summary from another edition)

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