Excerpt from The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Discuss |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The End of Your Life Book Club

By Will Schwalbe

The End of Your Life Book Club
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Oct 2012,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: Jun 2013,
    352 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


I did manage to talk with my brother and sister, their spouses, and Dad (now out of the hospital and fully recovered), and David. All of us were saying hopeful things to each other: there was cause for alarm but no reason to panic. And yet the calls were exponential—every conversation was relayed to everyone else, leading to ever more calls, calls upon calls, calls about calls. We all spent time on the Web and read the same grim things about this particularly vicious cancer. But there were more tests to be done. It was still early. There was a lot to learn. No one should jump to any conclusions.

"Are you sure I shouldn't come home right away, Mom?" I asked each time when I spoke to her from the trip.

"Don't be silly," she said. "Enjoy yourself." In one conversation, she finally relayed exactly how she got the news - and talked about the first oncologist she'd visited, to whom she and my sister had taken an instant dislike when he'd asked Mom if she worked outside the home. Mom said to me, "Do you think a doctor would ever ask a man that?" She told me that Nina had been amazing - organizing, arranging, asking all the right questions. My sister had spent years working in Soviet Russia and had learned there how to push when necessary.

"The lesson of all of this ... " Mom began, and then paused. I waited. I couldn't imagine what the lesson was."The lesson is this," she continued."Relief organizations need to tell people who have gone on trips to places like Afghanistan not to assume that any sickness they get while there or after is related to the trip. It may just be a coincidence. We need to make sure people understand that."

This was the silver lining? A new protocol for humanitarian aid workers returning from overseas trips to exotic locales?

"Also, I have a favor to ask," Mom added. "Bring me back a wonderful book from the book fair. And your father could use a new book too."

I grabbed too many books to carry home and then tried to figure out which I would put in my luggage and which I would mail, but all I could think about was whether things could have been different if we'd made Mom see more doctors earlier, or whether, perhaps, she'd had an appointment in Samarra and nothing could have changed that.

Excerpted from The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. Copyright © 2012 by Will Schwalbe. Excerpted by permission of Knopf. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Women's Refugee Commission

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...
  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  143Happier at Home:
    Gretchen Rubin
  2.  254Cartwheel:
    Jennifer duBois

All Discussions

Who Said...

The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.