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The End of Your Life Book Club Hardcover – 11 Oct 2012
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I was so moved by this marvellous book. Schwalbe has done something extraordinary: made a personal journey public in the most engaging, funny and revealing way possible. It is a true meditation on what books can do. (Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare with Amber Eyes)
Will Schwalbe gives us two love stories in one: That of his relationship with his dynamo of a mother as her horizons shrink, and that of their mutual devotion to the printed word, infinitely and insistently engaging. Tender and touching and beautifully done. (Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Cleopatra)
A perfect book-club book about books and the community they create that also portrays the love between mother and son. (Library Journal)
Will Schwalbe's brave and soulful elegy to his remarkable mother, his recollection of their sparklingly literate conversations, is a timely reminder that one exceptional person, or one exceptional book, can be a torch in the darkness. You'll turn the last page wishing you'd met Mary Anne Schwalbe, vowing to be worthy of her incandescent example - and promising yourself to read more. (J. R. Moehringer, author of The Tender Bar)
A wonderful book about wonderful books and mothers and sons and the enduring braid between them. Like the printed volumes it celebrates, this story will stay with you long after the last page. (Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays With Morrie and The Time Keeper)
At last a book that celebrates the role books play within our own story. Will Schwalbe has created a tender, moving and honest portrayal of the precious relationship between a mother and son - an ode to that beautiful thing called love. (Cecilia Ahern, author of PS, I Love You)
an astonishing, pertinent, and wonderfully welcome work. (Publishers Weekly starred review)
An extraordinarily wise, witty, and quietly wrenching book about parental love, filial love, profound grief, and literature's great consolations. How wonderful to encounter a writer who combines erudition with great emotional honesty, and who isn't afraid of addressing life's most profound and baffling questions. (Douglas Kennedy, author of Leaving the World and The Pursuit of Happiness)
This touching and insightful memoir about the slow process of dying will appeal to readers of Tuesdays With Morrie and The Last Lecture, but also to people who love delving into books and book discussions. Like Mary Anne, who reads the ending first, you know how this book is going to end, but while it is a story about death, it is mostly a celebration of life and of the way books can enrich it. (Booklist (starred review))
a moving and inspiring story (Choice Magazine)
What self-respecting reader isn't a sucker for a great book about other great books? The End of Your Life Book Club is that much and more. (BookPage)
a graceful, affecting testament to a mother and a life well lived. (Entertainment Weekly)
a tribute to a remarkable woman and an exemplary reader. (Salon)
Literature bridges generations in Will Schwalbe's thoughtful tribute to his late mother (Vogue.com)
A truly poignant read . . . a moving tribute to a wonderful-sounding mum and the power of fiction. (Good Housekeeping)
It helps of course if you are a book lover and can relate to the passion for reading, but even prolific readers will find that the book teaches them not only about life and death but about the power of a really good book to move you and peel off the onion skin layers of "what you already know" and reveal truths. (Curious Book Fans)
a life-enhancing celebration of the power of books and reading, very much in the vein of Tuesdays with Morrie (Independent)
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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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The discussions about books don't include spoilers and very helpfully, there's an appendix which lists all titles discussed. This really is what I'd call a 'readers book'. There are so many literary references; a memory lane trip if you've already read the books and an exciting taster for titles unread. For many reasons, it's one of the most powerful and thought provoking books I've read. It describes heartbreak without being mawkish or over sentimental. It's an inspired and inspiring tribute to a selfless, unassuming individual and through her experiences, I've taken a number of very positive lessons about life. Will Schwalbe has every reason to be proud of this work and I feel certain his mother will look upon it with a smile.
When I got home I was delighted to see that the Bookies Too book group had elected to read this book during the later half of December so I quickly ordered it and then sat down to read.
I suspected that I would love it and I was right! - Cancer is always a hard subject to read about, especially as many families including my own have been touched by it. Over the years when I worked in hospitals I would do ward rounds and hear that awful "rattle" and see the patients and their families. Truly shocking.
For me this book was about Will's relationship with his mother. and his final relationship with her. The conversations they had and the ones they did not have, the books they shared and simply being together, mother and son for a final time. Yes, the medical details are perhaps hard for some to bear because in the US I understand that there are funding issues and therefore some have a "financial stress free time" and others don't. Here in the UK all medication and treatment is free unless you choose to pay for private medical treatment, in which case it is expensive.
I think that this book is about how Will coped with his mother's passing, and perhaps for Will writing this book was a form of counselling and coming to terms. It also enabled Will to write about his mother, a mother he was immensely proud of.
Despite being such a sad book, alas there is no happy ending, it was a really lovely book. It is the story of reading, books and relationships.
There is also a web page and there is a Facebook page to accompany the book complete with a full list of the books and authors that Will and his mother discussed.
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