Idarah's Reviews > The End of Your Life Book Club

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
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it was amazing
bookshelves: read-2014, favorites, memoir-biog, literary-criticism

“We're all in the end-of-your-life book-club, whether we acknowledge it or not; each book we read may well be the last, each conversation the final one.”

This is one of the most beautifully written memoirs I have ever read. When Schwalbe’s 73-year-old mother, Mary Anne, is diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, she determines to continue living her life at the same wistful speed despite grim life expectancy statistics. A retired teacher and active humanitarian, her son graciously introduces readers to this magnificent woman by means of their two-person book club, spontaneously contrived during Mary Anne’s lengthy chemo therapy sessions in hospital.

Both avid readers and lovers of literature, their book selections are never haphazard, and make for deep, philosophical discussions about death, living a meaningful life, and leaving the world better than you found it. In the process, the two form an even stronger bond, each using books as both teachers and healers on Mary Anne’s journey to death, and Will’s journey after her death.

I love books about books, and reading about people who are just as fond of literature warms my heart. It reminds me that in ancient times and even far into the future, there have and will always be people who are in love with the written word. Reading is how we can relate to each other and take part in the human conversation. It’s a huge responsibility, but so necessary!

The way Schwalbe paints Mary Anne’s final moments, surrounded by family and countless volumes of much loved books, was so elegant and beautiful. I still have a rock in my throat thinking about it now. I appreciate having gleaned a bit of her wisdom—for having met her, if only briefly.
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Quotes Idarah Liked

Will Schwalbe
“We're all in the end-of-your-life book-club, whether we acknowledge it or not; each book we read may well be the last, each conversation the final one.”
Will Schwalbe, The End of Your Life Book Club

Will Schwalbe
“Reading isn't the opposite of doing, it's the opposite of dying.”
Will Schwalbe, The End of Your Life Book Club

Will Schwalbe
“All readers have reading in common.”
Will Schwalbe, The End of Your Life Book Club


Reading Progress

May 1, 2014 – Started Reading
May 1, 2014 – Shelved
May 1, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
May 1, 2014 –
16.0%
May 3, 2014 –
44.0%
May 5, 2014 –
68.0%
May 6, 2014 – Shelved as: read-2014
May 6, 2014 – Shelved as: favorites
May 6, 2014 – Finished Reading
June 5, 2017 – Shelved as: memoir-biog
April 12, 2019 – Shelved as: literary-criticism

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Alejandro (new)

Alejandro Wonderful review!!!

"I love books about books, and reading about people who are just as fond of literature warms my heart."

Wonderful sentence!

I have no doubt that must be an engaging book!


message 2: by Alejandro (new)

Alejandro Eve wrote: "Thank you so much, Alejandro! It really is. I was a little afraid that it would be a depressing book, but it wasn't at all!"

Truly glad. I think that's the strenght of the novel. Usually books about dying people are expected to be depressing. Excellent call to take a positive angle to the book.


Suzy I loved this book for all the reasons you mentioned and as a beautiful tribute to a mother from a son! It made me think of the deaths of my own parents and what kinds of things we had that bound us in the years before their passing.


Suzy oh, did you listen or read in print. I thought the narrator was marvelous.


Suzy I just looked the narrator, Jeff Harding, up on Audible. He has 84 books, about 80% of which are westerns. Not my cup of tea, but he is an outstanding narrator.


Suzanne Great review, Eve. I remember how amazing she was, but I was lost on s lot of the books he talked about. She was such a great lady.


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