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Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

Created: 11/25/12

Replies: 18

Posted Nov. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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Will Schwalbe answers questions about "The End of Your Life Book Club"

Will Schwalbe will be joining us this week to answer questions about "The End of Your Life Book Club"; so, if you have a question for him please post it below.

He will reply to the questions in this same thread so, if you post a question, you might want to click the button above to subscribe to this thread - so that you receive an email each time a post is made.


Posted Nov. 27, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

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RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about "The End of Your Life Book Club"

With many of my women friends who have recently lost their aged mothers, I have discussed the feeling that life seems so different without our moms that we can't help but wonder if this bit of emptiness and sadness that can come and go - sometimes at the least expected moments- will linger with us for the rest of our lives. It doesn't matter that our lives are good or fulfilling or busy - or any of those other qualities. Do you feel the same way or do you think this seems to apply more to the mother-daughter relationship?


Posted Nov. 27, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Dolena

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 8

RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

Are there books you have read since your mother's death that you wish you could have shared with her?
I imagine there are several, but I would be interested in knowing which books and what you think your mother might have thought of them?


Posted Nov. 27, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
willschwalbe

Join Date: 11/13/12

Posts: 7

RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

Thanks for the great question, Rebeccar. This is such a great question. I do think that many women have a very different experience than many men when it comes to the death of a mother, with a very particular kind of lingering sadness just as you describe. But I also think men can also have a similar kind of lingering sadness, even if it's somehow different. I would love to hear from other people following this thread to get their thoughts on this.


Posted Nov. 27, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
willschwalbe

Join Date: 11/13/12

Posts: 7

RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

Thanks, Dolena, for the question about books I've read recently. Definitely THE HEADMASTER'S WAGER by Vincent Lam. This is a novel set in the 1960s in Saigon. It's about war, family, loyalty, and the kinds of wagers people make to try to ensure the happiness of their children. It also becomes a book about refugees and the choices people are forced to make. Mom would have loved it. THE PATERNITY TEST by Michael Lowenthal is another -- a book about trust, betrayal, and families. It's a very rich book and a very surprising one, too. I rushed out and got Mary Oliver's new book of poems -- Mom loved Mary Oliver so we would have read that together for sure. I'll ponder this more and add more to the thread later!


Posted Nov. 27, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
eileenp

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 33

RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

I loved "The End of Your Life Book Club" and it is just the kind of book my 104-year-old book-reading grandmother would enjoy, but I feel a little hesitation about giving her the book for Christmas because of the title. Did you pick the title? Do you have any advice on how to give it graciously to someone who is probably near the end of their life?


Posted Nov. 27, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
willschwalbe

Join Date: 11/13/12

Posts: 7

RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

Hi, EileenP. I'm so glad you liked the book! And I've actually had a few people ask me this. I did pick the title, and I did realize that it might inhibit some gift-giving -- but I figured that it was best to be totally up-front about what the book is about. I also liked that it was a little startling. More than anything, for me that was just always what the book was called.

What I've suggested to people with your quandary is this: some time before Christmas you can casually say, "Oh, I'm reading this book called THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB." Then explain what it's about. If your grandmother says, "Oh, I'd like to read that," then you have your answer! And I have to say -- how wonderful to have a 104-year-old book-reading grandmother!


Posted Nov. 27, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dorothyt

Join Date: 04/10/11

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RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

There has been much discussion here about your mother's habit of reading the end of a book first. Did she often give up on a book without reading it based on the ending?


Posted Nov. 28, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
willschwalbe

Join Date: 11/13/12

Posts: 7

RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

Thanks, dorothyt. I do recall that Mom would occasionally abandon a book after reading the ending, and maybe a little bit of the start. One such book was THE SHACK which a lot of people told her to read -- she read the end and a few opening pages and decided it wasn't for her. In her last months we was much more inclined, understandably, to abandon a book if she didn't think it was for her.


Posted Nov. 29, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

I'm very close with all three of my kids (one daughter, two sons). My bond with my daughter is partly shared gender, as we can commiserate on a lot of female issues. With my boys, it seems there are less competitive, if you will, issues of the sort only psychology (and, perhaps, anthropology) can explain. Not that I openly battle with my daughter - not now that's she's 18 and away at school, at least! But my boys are more forgiving of me, more protective, in a way. All three bonds are close but my relationship with my sons seems a bit more tender, for lack of a better word. My daughter's very mature and self-assured, maybe that's it, while my boys are less driven and stick closer to home. All this is individual, of course. Every situation is different. I'm not even sure I answered the question (!) but these are my thoughts.

Lisa


Posted Nov. 29, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

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RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

Will, have you ever thought about keeping a journal about what you've read since your mother's passing and what you think you'd have discussed with her? Since you wrote the blog on her behalf, I wonder if that would be somewhat a consolation and a preservation of that special bond.


Posted Nov. 29, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

As far as the title, if you think about it it's not really that different from '1001 Books to Read Before You Die.' It doesn't suggest death is near but it acknowledges the inevitability of it. My kids don't like the title, though, I have to admit, as it applies to my eventual mortality. But they're still teenagers. I'm very cavalier on the topic of death, I'll admit, and not at all frightened by what I see as the natural extension of life. So maybe I'm a bad person to ask?!


Posted Nov. 29, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

Will - I'm starting to collect "Best Books of 2012" lists. I've seen OFYLBC on a few of them. Congrats! That must feel so gratifying. Your mother would surely be very proud of you. :::-)::


Posted Nov. 30, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
willschwalbe

Join Date: 11/13/12

Posts: 7

RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

Thanks for all three messages, Lisag. You spread a lot of light on the mother/son question. That's fascinating. I love your use of the words "forgiving" and "protective." Those are wonderful qualities in anyone. As for the journal, I'm a sporadic journal-er so I keep up entries for weeks and then go for months without. But maybe a New Year's resolution will be to do better. Love the idea of the books I've read. I'm grateful, too, for your reminding people (including me) that "end of your life" is really no more scary than "before you die." They are the very same things! I'll remind people of that. And thanks so much for the congrats on the Best Book lists. I'm incredibly grateful to all the wonderful people, booksellers, and journalists who have done this! And I've gained so many books to add to the TBR list from the other books that appear alongside.


Posted Dec. 11, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
debracoley

Join Date: 08/11/11

Posts: 69

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RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

I just want to thank you, Will, for sharing such an emotional and personal experience with me. Your words
have truly changed my reading life as well as my everyday attitude/actions. I have expanded my reading
choices, and every novel suggested by you or your mother has been just a pure blessing to read. Without your words, I wouldn't have found the likes of MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR, CROSSING TO SAFETY, and THE UNCOMMON READER. From your experiences with your momma and family, I have come to love,
appreciate, and hug my family and friends more. I have often written that the mark of a truly GOOD novel is that it never leaves you once you have left it...such is the case with THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOKCLUB. Again, I thank you for your wonderful work. Deby Coley


Posted Dec. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
willschwalbe

Join Date: 11/13/12

Posts: 7

RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

Thanks so much Deby (debracoley) for your message. It really means more to me than I can say. I just can't think of a nicer message for any author -- and, in particular, this one -- to receive. It makes me particularly happy that the book helped you discover MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR and CROSSING TO SAFETY and THE UNCOMMON READER, three of my favorite books, and all books that never leave me. Thank you -- and huge thanks to BookBrowse for giving us such a great forum to connect. Happy Hols and Happy Reading! Will


Posted Dec. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

For no real reason I keep putting off Stegner. I'm aiming to put it on my 2013 list.

Lisa


Posted Dec. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

So great having the chance to chat a bit with Will! What a cool guy.

Lisa


Posted Dec. 14, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
willschwalbe

Join Date: 11/13/12

Posts: 7

RE: Will Schwalbe answers questions about The End of Your Life Book Club

Thanks, Lisa! It's been really fun chatting with you and some of your fellow BookBrowsers! You gave me a lot to think about. And I promise to keep that journal in 2013 if you promise to read Stegner! I have a very, very strong feeling that you will love it.


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