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Books for Living

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  4,483 ratings  ·  864 reviews
From the author of the best-selling and beloved The End of Your Life Book Club - a wonderfully engaging new book: both a celebration of reading in general and an impassioned recommendation of specific books that can help guide us through our daily lives.

"I've always believed that everything you need to know you can find in a book," writes Will Schwalbe in his introduction
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published December 27th 2016 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Will Schwalbe I'm so sorry to hear this! Just saw this message. Did you ever get your copy? If not, I'll figure out how to get one to you.…moreI'm so sorry to hear this! Just saw this message. Did you ever get your copy? If not, I'll figure out how to get one to you.(less)

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Elyse  Walters
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm about to begin my 3rd round. I kinda love this book......'lots'!!!!!!

Will Schwalbe is forever the "What Are You Reading" guy....for me.
He brought electric power to the sentence.
To quote The Washington Post....[from when he wrote "The End of Your Life Book Club"]......."Schwalbe... highlights not just how relevant but how Integral literature can be to life".

"Books For Living".....
Will says, "The BOOKS I've written about in this one are a small sampling of the works
that have been my compan
Diane S ☔
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Books about books, I can never resist them Love reading about books others love, the meanings they find in them, books to guide one and book read to gain knowledge. This book covers all this and more. Loved his The End of Your Life Book Club, though sad I found it a special read. He uncovers further relationships and the books that remind him of these. Books that he will never part with and why. He quotes extensively from The Importance of Living, seems to e the book he takes his guiding philoso ...more
Amalia Gkavea
''Reading challenges you to figure out what kind of person you want to be.''

I might as well spare you all with my boring introduction and tell you this is an astonishing book. Not simply good or well-written or interesting, but astonishing! One of the best non-fiction books I've ever read, one of the best book ''about books'' of recent times.

As you might know from my reviews, I'm not usually moved by a book, no matter how much I may have loved it. But this must have a heart of ston
May 02, 2017 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
It not so much the books mentioned but the stories told.

In the introduction of Will Schwalbe’s Books For Living he immediately begins relating those stories about books that are important in his life. On a long plane ride he sits next to a nineteen year old West Pont plebe and they are soon book talking which leads to this challenge:

”The cadet said he would trade me a genuine West Point baseball cap for a list of my favorite titles. I can’t remember most of what I wrote down. I love the cap; I

I read Will Schwalbe’s “The End of Your Life Book Club” in 2012, shortly after it was released. It is one of those books that are still very special to me; it was very close to my life then. Less than two years later my own mother’s health would decline very rapidly for a while, and then at the end she very slowly she slipped away. Reading was one of the things that we both enjoyed, some of the same books, often not, but those last two years she enjoyed being read to. Books had become too heavy
Diane Barnes
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love Will Schwalbe. I have loved him ever since reading "The End of Your Life Book Club". I love him so much that I actually bought this book in hardback the day it was released because I need it to be on my shelf. I love him because when I finished his previous book, I sent him an email about how much that book meant to me, and he emailed me back with the warmest and friendliest response you can imagine.

This is a book about reading, and loving books, and applying what you read to your life. I
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Books for Living by Will Schwalbe is a fascinating and engrossing book. In it Will list books that have meant something to him. He gives his thoughts and opinion such as napping, choosing kindness, hugging, feeling sensitive, traveling and living. He elaborates these with life lessons and memories.

This touching book has broaden my thoughts when asked "What are you reading?" I have often thought of books as elements of fiction--characterization, plot, description, voice, etc.--instead of what th
Whispering Stories
Will Schwalbe, author of ‘The End of Your Life Book Club‘ has shared with us details of more than twenty books that changed how he perceived the world and his life, in his new book, ‘Books for Living’.

In these 20+ books that have made the cut, you will find old classics, new books, and some books that you wouldn’t of thought would of made the cut, ‘Stuart Little’ springs to mind.

Each chapter/book tells you about what that particular book taught the author, from finding friends through the story
Sharon Metcalf
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
4.5 stars

A word of warning, if you're trying to limit the number of books you add to your TBR folder you should NOT read Books For Living by Will Schwalbe. On the other hand, how fantastic it is to read a book which guides you to many much loved and well respected books. I've made a conscious decision to restrict the number of books I add to my TBR yet in the space of a few days I added 23 titles (yes twenty three) as a direct result of listening to this fabulous audiobook.

In a most engaging a
Carol (Bookaria)
Apr 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction, 2017
This is a book about books.

Those books that have inspired the author throughout his life and about the books he was reading during certain periods or events.

I enjoyed some of the books he mentions such as Rebecca, Wonder and The Girl on the Train but also spaced out when he described some books I do not care about or have not read such as 1984, Mobydick and A Little Life.
Kaitlin S.
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"A book doesn't need to be thick enough to stop bullets. It doesn't need to lower your cholesterol. It doesn't even need to be a force for social good, though it's tremendous when it is. It just needs to be 'an affirmation of life against the transience of life, an essential defiance.' It just needs to be the book you need when you need it." ...more
Clif Hostetler
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: current-events
Will Schwalbe has provided readers in this book a series of personal reflections on his reading life and the roles that those books played in his life. Thus it's a combination of memoir, sociological/historical commentary, and multiple book reviews.

Perhaps a descriptive alternative title for this book is "Zen in the Art of Book Selection." I'm not sure I can defend the use of the word of "Zen" in this case, but it's a thought I had while Schwalbe was discussing the book, Zen in the Art of Arche
Connie G
Will Schwalbe shares his love of books in a thoughtful, personal way in "Books for Living." He chose a group of books that spoke to him when he needed them, or opened his eyes to see the world and life a little differently. The book that he turns to most often is "The Importance of Living" by Lin Yutang which was written in 1937. It showed him the importance of slowing down, enjoying periods of contemplation, and appreciating literature and nature. He highlighted an essay on the enjoyment of lay ...more
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Author Will Schwabe previously had a huge success with his moving memoir, “The End of Your Life Book Club,” about books he shared with his terminally ill mother. In this volume, he looks at the place of books in the modern world. He is not anti social media, but he says he still feels that reading – that ‘solitary activity that connects you to others’ – is the best way to examine your life and answer all those big questions about life. Here he examines books of importance to him; books that mean ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sometimes I do the right thing. Often by accident, but I take righteousness wherever I can find it.

In this case, I led off 2017 with a book about books. And it was a good book about books. Nothing meaty. Light. Each chapter dedicated to a different book, and even then discursive at times such that some books get talked up more than others in their allotted chapters. Also, Schwalbe's not above circling back to talk again about a previous book. I like that too, though. By then, the gentle reader
Linda Quinn
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"I used to say that the greatest gift you could ever give anyone is a book. But I don't say that anymore because I no longer think it's true. I now say that a book is the second greatest gift. I've come to believe that the greatest gift you can give anyone is to take the time to talk with someone about a book you've shared." -Will Schwalbe. I couldn't agree more. And I look forward to sharing this book with friends so that we can take the time to talk about it together. ...more
(2.5) Such a mixed bag. A couple of these chapters are top-notch autobiographical essays worthy of standing alone: the one about Giovanni’s Room telling of how his boarding school librarian helped him accept that he was gay through the books she left out for him reminded me of the best bits of John Irving’s In One Person; another about The Gifts of the Body by Rebecca Brown gives a short history of how AIDS shattered his innocence in the 1980s. I also liked pieces about Gift from the Sea and A L ...more
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I am moderating a session with Will Schwalbe at the Newburyport (MA) Literary Festival in April, so this book was read in preparation. But to be honest, I would have picked it up anyways, because I love books about books, and also one of my top five favorite books read in 2012 was The End of Your Life Book Club, Will's memoir and tribute to his beloved mom and the "book club" they form in the last years of her life. His latest book, Books for Living is just that, the life lesson ...more
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I became a fan of Will Schwalbe when I read his book The End of Your Life Book Club, a book he wrote as a tribute of sorts to his mother, who had inspired and encouraged his love of books. This particular book came about as a result of the many hours Will and his mother spent reading together while she was undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer. The books they read together provided encouragement to talk about difficult subjects.. subjects their hearts yearned to talk about but for which ...more
Steve Sarner
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was pretty skeptical about this book.

I mean, a book about books? Will this be the usual clichés on reading? You know, "opens new worlds", "let’s you live other lives", yada yada yada.

Sure there was a little of that (not much) but, there was so much more and within the first few pages I was hooked.

Reading Books for Living was like sitting in Will Schwalbe’s living room with a nice glass of wine and talking books and how they relate to life with an extraordinarily well-read and respected close
Mar 21, 2017 rated it liked it
3 stars

Using Will Schwalbe's genuinely moving and heartfelt The End of Your Life Book Club as a yardstick, his second offering of books that have inspired him, Books for Living, doesn't quite measure up. There's nothing inherently bad about his commentaries on this motley assortment of books (ranging from children's picture books to classics (Dickens' David Copperfield and Homer's Odyssey), middle grade charmers (RJ Palacio's Wonder) to contemporary fiction (Yanagihara's A Little Life and H
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Books for Living is a thoughtful book about the power of reading and how books have added meaning to the author's life. Schwalbe is a likable, enthusiastic writer and I related personally to several of these essays, enjoying each of them. ...more
In "Books for Living", we are offered another look into the personality, preferences and personal history of Will Schwalbe with his latest memoir. Where in his warm and moving first book, "The End of Your Life Book Club", the books he shared with his dying mother were a touchstone in their relationship, "Books for Living" has a more cerebral tone, a sense of careful analysis and Will's self-taught philosophy of life, found in the books he goes on to describe.

He's chosen a motley arrangement to
Every time you read, you are learning how to read.

Each book - each new author - is a refining of this process of learning how to read.

I've been mulling over this concept, from Schwalbe's essay on Zen and the Art of Archery and "mastering the art of reading", since I read it last night. I know it's true for me, and I presume many of you as well.

One of my friends read this book last year and I enjoyed her review, putting it on my hold list at the library. It came in and I flipped through it, happ
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I started this book in audio and knew I needed to switch to print. Too many book titles to take note of, too many pages I might need to mark.

I appreciate that this book on books does not to be comprehensive and catalog every book Will Schwalbe has ever written, nor does it mention Proust, not even once! He examines books that had particular meaning to him from the perspective of examining literature to reflect on life.

My favorite chapter is on Giovanni's Room, and is one I will have my reading
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm sorry I waited as long as I did to read this inspiring book. Also, my TBR list is much bigger now! ...more
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kevin by: Carol
I really enjoy books about books. Will Schwabe had a recurring nightmare for people who love to read...having to board a flight with no reading material!

I personally tend to overpack books for travel. "I know I have the e-reader but what if something goes wrong with it? I better pack a book? I know it's only one night. Maybe two books?"

A few years back I was lucky enough to go on a cruise with my family. One of the family members who doesn't read said he was bored (the rest of us were just layi
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved The End of your Life Book Club and also really enjoyed this book. Will Schwalbe is a wonderful writer and I have a hard time putting his books down; I just want to keep reading. This book is a compilation of books that have influenced his life, helping him to be a better person through lessons learned in literature. It also helps to explain life and parts of every day life that we don't always understand. I added several books to my TBR, especially after Will explained how relevant they ...more
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
This was a delightful read - it was like chatting with a friend about all your favorite books. My TBR grew with almost every chapter.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My head is swirling with so many thoughts right now having just finished this wonderful book! First let me say that I love books about books. I considered books my friends, I have bookshelves crammed full, not willing to part with them! I also have books stacked on nightstands, coffee tables and yes the floor! When reading this book I found myself thinking I do this too! I take great pleasure in reading and napping on leisurely Sundays, enjoying that pause to close my eyes and ponder the story w ...more
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Play Book Tag: Books for Living by Will Schwalbe 4 20 Aug 14, 2017 11:44AM  

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Greetings! Since we are both here, I’m guessing you are probably a fellow book-lover. Always great to meet other members of the tribe!

I’ve put a lot about myself in my books, but here are some of the basics. I was born in New York in 1962; grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts; went to boarding school in New Hampshire, and to college in New Haven, Connecticut. So I consider myself a New Englander, e

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