Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Up to 70% off Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Shop Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

123
4.2 out of 5 stars
The End of Your Life Book Club
Format: Audio CDChange
Price:£26.63+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As someone who has loved reading books all her life I knew I might fall in love with this book because it concerns two people who also love books. What I didn't know was just how much I would enjoy this book, nor how much content there is in it, I will HAVE to reread this book, possible a few times to absorb all that it is.

Will Schwalbe has written this wonderful book as a tribute to his mother Mary Ann Schwalbe and it works on so many levels.
We find out about his mother, Mary Ann Schwalbe who was a truly amazing woman. A genuinely compassionate person who cared deeply for many causes, especially for refugees and wanted nothing so much as to raise money and get a library built for the women of Afganistan.
Mary Ann had been there and to other third world countries , and seen how things are for herself, so she was able to recognise just how much so many people who are refugees around the world desperately want books to read. She also cared deeply for women's rights and in Afganistan these two issues come together.

Will and Mary Ann are spending a lot of time together at Hospital appointments as Mary Ann has stage 4 pancreatic cancer. They talk a lot about what they are reading, discussing the books and suggesting new ones to each other. They decided that this is their own Book Club.

They discuss books they are reading and share insights. Not always agreeing on what they think. There is a list at the end of all the books they mention. The range is quite wide too, as well as classics and literary novels are some non-fiction and also popular fiction.

Throughout the book are many details and insights of Mary Ann's life and her outlook "always do your best" and don't think doing a little means it's not worth it, because it is, worth it! I completely agree with her outlook.

Great book, totally recommended.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 22 August 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If anyone needed proof that reading is more than just devouring words on a page then please do point them towards this book.

Mary Anne Schwalbe, a lively sixty-something woman who has spent her working life in interesting jobs; been involved with international philanthropic causes, travelled widely; has a wide circle of friends; is a wife, proud mother of three and a doting grandmother and her great love in life is reading books. When diagnosed with pancreatic cancer she chooses to spend the hours required to received various treatments in the clinic with members of her family and a close friend or two.

Her son Will is one of most frequent companions to these dreaded appointments. Their shared love of reading sustains the conversation, time is spend discussing the works they have read. Indeed, they begin their very own 'book group', just mother and son swapping recommendations and analysing what has been read, but, quite naturally, given the circumstances they find themselves in, the conversation goes way beyond what was on the printed page.

Despite the title and subject matter, this book is anything but mawkish, indeed I think the rather overused term of 'life enhancing' can certainly be applied here. Giving your children the love of literature is such an important gift and if you are able to share that gift then you will be truly blessed.

The reason I gave this book four rather than five stars is that it really does need a thorough editing - particularly for the British/European market. Products mentioned within the text are largly unknown here and some of the American language is just a little jarring on the British ear.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 4 September 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Initially I wasn't that taken with Will Schwalbe's The End of Your Life Book Club. I think mainly because I didn't know of Mary Anne and the book revolves around her pancreatic cancer diagnosis and treatment. Having lost a few family members to cancer myself, it was hard bringing up those memories of what they and we went through knowing the pain it can cause. I also felt the start of the book was a bit rushed and didn't contain much feeling - just trying to catch the reader up while the middle/end was completely different. Although you know what's going to happen (an interesting parallel with Mary Anne always reading the end of books to find out what happens) I still found myself not really wanting to read on as I knew what was coming.

By the middle of the book I was hooked. Mary Anne was an incredible woman so I was glad to have found out who she was and the work that she did with refugees - cancer really didn't stop her doing what she wanted to do. I do love to read but have to admit I'd only read a few of the books that Will and his mother discuss in their Book Club but I was quite surprised that although books were a big feature of the book it didn't matter if you hadn't read them (I did get a few good recommendations from it though!). It was lovely having that insight into the club that only Will and his mother shared. You really understood how cancer and its various treatments can affect someone and there were some great lessons to take away from it.

Definitely a book to stick with.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I wanted to read this book because it was about books and reading but as it was also about the author's mother who was dying of cancer I wondered whether it might be depressing. I need not have worried as the book was full of life and the celebration of life even though it was also about death. The author's mother Mary Ann Schwalbe was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in 2007. She and her son had always shared a love of books and reading so they decided to concentrate on reading and talking about books when Mary Ann went for her chemotherapy.

This book is a memorial to the author's mother and the huge effect she had on everyone she met during her life and her work all over the world with refugees. She comes over as a remarkable person and someone I would like to have met. She was energetic even while she was ill and her first thought was always for other people and how so many of them were in a far worse situation than she was.

I could sympathise with the author's irritability on one occasion when his mother insisted to talking to people they saw on a beach when what he wanted to do was enjoy some of his last moments with her. But Mary Ann was someone who always talked to people wherever she went and she did not change even with impending death. I have known people like Mary Ann and I understand his occasional frustration when other people always seem more important. If you are that sort of person it is difficult to understand those of us who are not so inclined to talk to anyone and everyone.

As for the books - there are many books and authors mentioned in this book - some just in passing but others are discussed in much more depth and there is a useful list of books and authors at the end of the book itself. I enjoyed reading `The End of Your Life Book Club' and found many new books I would like to read as a result. Ultimately this is a happy book which does have poignant moments but it is still a celebration of life and of Mary Ann's life in particular.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In 2007, Will Schwalbe's beloved mother was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer, and further tests soon showed that it was "treatable but not curable". This is a moving memoir of how a mother and son who love books use shared reading experiences as a way of dealing with this terrible situation, and the impact of this on their relationship.

I was nervous of reading it precisely because it's quite close to home. I would recommend it because it is as much a story of the life of a really interesting woman, and of her relationship with her adult son, as it is about death.

Also, it's about books, reading them and talking about them, what's not to love about such a book? Schwalbe himself writes that like any bookclub, he and his mum discussed the books they shared in different levels of detail, and sometimes the conversation shifted away from the book entirely.

The End of Your Life Book Club didn't necessarily make me want to try all the books discussed, but it is a very moving memoir, and I think the "end of your life bookclub" might well be an idea that others who have a life limiting or condition, or who love someone who does, could borrow.

All the books Will Schwalbe and his mother read and discussed for the bookclub are listed in an appendix at the end.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Will Schwalbe has written a book about the period when his mother was dying of pancreatic cancer. Will's mother Mary was a remarkable woman having a great concern for Afghanistan and even in her last days working hard to establish travelling libraries to go round the villages encouraging reading habits. As lifelong readers Will and his mother spent much of their time together discussing books and The End of Your Life Book Club describes both the books themselves and also the progress of MAry's disease and the various treatments and procedures she has to go through (I thought these were a little too detailed at times).

I enjoy reading "books about books" and am always on the look-out for book recommendations from people I respect. Some of the books recommended here are titles I had never heard of before such as

Karen Connelly - The Lizard Cage
Russell Banks - Continental Drift
Patricia Highsmith - The Price of Salt.

Other are more familiar including Lewis Carroll, Alexander McCall Smith and Somerset Maugham.

This is an unusual book which I would only recommend to book lovers. The "cancer diary" aspect of it is not really the sort of thing I like but no doubt will interest some people.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
"The End of Your Life Book Club" is a moving memoir and tribute by Will Schwalbe to his amazing mother Mary Anne Schwalbe. It's also a love story.
Mary Anne, an educator, philanthropist, wife and mother of three children and five grandchildren was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in 2007. While sitting in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and sometimes at the hospital Will and Mary Anne shared their hopes and concerns and rediscovered what is important in life while discussing their favorite books over the next two years.
Will says he learned when you're with a loved one who is dying, you may need to celebrate the past, live in the present and mourn the future all at the same time.
Mary Anne's passion, compassion and accomplishments could fill a book. Will says she was always introducing, scheduling, weighing in, guiding, advertising and raising money for the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children (she was the founding director), the International Rescue Committee and other organizations including her church. Also for the many refugees she met in her travels around the world and with whom she kept in touch. One of the organizations she was busiest with was a foundation to help establish libraries in Afghanistan. She fell in love with the people in 1995 and returned nine times, always for the International Rescue Committee. When she returned to America she'd advocate for policies to help the women and children. Her trips on behalf of the refugees took her to some of the most dangerous places in Afghanistan and around the world, including Southeast Asia and West Africa. She was given an honorary doctorate of laws by Marymount Manhattan College alongside Elaine Pagels a religious historian and Theresa Lang a philanthropist. At the commencement ceremony Mary Anne was introduced by a refugee she had helped attend Marymount. During her acceptance speech Mary Anne told the audience about a Bosnian family who insisted on walking ahead of her through the field of land mines to get to their polling station.
Will said his mother taught him that you can make a difference in the world and that books really do matter. He learned from her not to look away from the worst, but to believe we can all do better. She said, "Do you best, and that's all you can do."
Two years after Mary Anne's death Will learned that the U.S. Government had committed three million dollars to build a library in Kabul, Afghanistan. The library is now finished. Will says he'd like to believe his mother knows that.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is of course a loving tribute by a son to his mother, clearly a rather remarkable woman who lived well, and used her gifts and her privileges well, making a difference.

It is also a loving tribute to the difference that books, written after all, by people, make to our lives. A book can be as much the opener of new horizons, and a teacher by example as can the real people we meet who influence and change our lives. Fictional characters may teach us as much about the depth and complexity of being human as the words and actions of real people do. In fact 'real people' also take fictional characters as aspirational role models, for good or ill.

This is a book with few surprises but many recognitions. We know where the book is heading, and the more we learn about Mary Ann Schwalbe and Will Schwalbe, the more it seems as if the journey the book is making is just towards the home of something being what it is, and what might matter - kindness, relationship, art, compassion, empathy, connection, imagination, integrity.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The End of Your life Book Club The End of Your Life Book Club by Schwalbe, Will Published by Two Roads (2012) had me captured from the first page.

Will Schwalbe's mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer and whilst undergoing chemo treatment. So you know that before you begin reading, it is not going to be a "happily ever after ending".

I must confess that I had only read one or two of the books that they had discussed. But it really doesn't matter. It's the way they talk of books in the past and books they agree to read that makes this so readable.

Obviously it's a welcome distraction for both son and mother whilst treatment is taken.

It's a lovely memoir to his mother, Mary Ann: humanitarian; fund-raiser; a really good person.

I thought he End of Your Life Book Club was going to be a really sad story. However, the book showed the lasting impact one woman can have upon all her family.

RECOMMENDED
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2014
Having made some bad choices recently, I thought it might be useful to read another "recommendations" book. As I'm a bit long in the tooth, I though this might be a good one to read for material to take me through my twilight years. But I'm afraid it did nothing for me. As the mother was such a commendable person, I broke my "fifty pages rule" and read on for another fifty. But I shouldn't have broken my rule. If a book is doing nothing for you in the first fifty pages it's unlikely to get any better. Life's too short to read books that don't spark any interest in the first few chapters. This book generated no inspirations about what I should read next, and the book itself wasn't a great read. It was too slow, Christian, and sentimental for me. So I gave up. I think I'll dig into J. Peder Zane's "The Top Ten" again, which *is* a good recommendations book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed

Crossing to Safety
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner (Paperback - 5 Sept. 2013)
£7.19

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (Paperback - 27 Feb. 2012)
£6.39
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.