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What readers think of The End of Your Life Book Club, plus links to write your own review.

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The End of Your Life Book Club

by Will Schwalbe

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe X
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2012, 352 pages

    Paperback:
    Jun 2013, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker
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Reviews

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There are currently 7 reader reviews for The End of Your Life Book Club
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Power Reviewer
Cathryn Conroy

A Lovely, Deeply Felt Tribute to the Joys of Reading and Living—Even While Dying
This book should come with a warning label: It will inspire you to read many, many books. It could cost you some big bucks if you're not careful!

But even with all these wonderful book suggestions lining the pages, this is far more a loving account of a mother's life after her diagnosis of advanced pancreatic cancer—her dying months and eventual death—than it is a compendium of excellent books to read and why. Just know that going in.

That said, author Will Schwalbe, a former book publishing executive and avid reader since childhood, offers more than 150 titles and authors that will likely fill up your "to be read" list for months to come. As his 73-year-old mother, Mary Anne Schwalbe, was undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, he and she started an informal book club of just the two of them. For years, they had recommended books to one another. But now they read the same book at the same time and then discussed it during her hours-long chemo sessions. He recounts what they both thought of the books, which I found to be the most fascinating and fun part. She is an older woman, he a younger man. So naturally, their views are different. And often, the discussion of the book was also a way to discuss the great tragedy unfolding before them.

A helpful appendix at the end lists all the book titles and authors cited, whether it's a short analysis/review of the book or just a mention of the author. They're all here!

Interwoven between the book recommendations are lessons for living, courtesy of the wise Mary Anne Schwalbe. The advice ranges from always saying "thank you" for even the smallest of courtesies to thinking of others before yourself.

Bonus: This love letter to reading and the woman who first introduced Will Schwalbe and his siblings to the magic of books is also a bit of a parenting guide for those who wonder how best to turn their children into readers.
Ricardo Scalice

Lição de Vida
Este livro nos motiva a termos esperança, valorizar os livros - cada livro é uma história que deve ser refletida e não apenas descartada - principalmente, nos mostra que cada instante de nossas vidas deve ser valorizado.
Quando estava lendo este livro, minha mulher me perguntou: Por que você lê tantos livros? Porque tenho pressa, a vida é curta - e não querendo ser pessimista - mas tenho histórico de velhice precoce, e por vinte anos ainda estarei lúcido, depois, só o destino dirá.

(This book motivates us to have hope, and appreciate books - each book is a story that should be reflected not just discarded - and mainly shows us that every moment of our lives should be valued.

When I was reading this book, my wife asked me "Why do you read so many books?" Because I must hurry , life is short - and I do not wish to be pessimistic, but have a history of aging early; perhaps in twenty years I'll still be lucid, only time will tell.)
Power Reviewer
Louise Jolly

The End of Your Life Book Club - You'll Love It!!
Will Schwalbe has done a remarkable job with this novel, touching on the real feelings and issues surrounding the process of a close family member dying. They way in which this mother and son chose to deal with the heartbreak was truly amazing and worked well. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and will be recommending it to all my family and friends.
Power Reviewer
Diane S.

The End of your lilfe book club
A book about a dying woman could be extremely melancholy and I will admit to having teary eyes at various points in this book. Yet, this book is so much more, it is a celebration of a life that was lived well, a life that helped other people, the love of a son for his mother and a love of books, stories and the belief that they can make a huge difference. In this book the author relates exactly how and why books have made such a huge impact on his life, the life of his family and his mother in particular. A celebration of reading and all it entails, how his mother will live on in her love of books and especially in the books that were her favorites and the love of reading she passed on to the rest of her family. A very poignant and heartfelt read.
Power Reviewer
Dorothy T.

More than a book about books
“How could anyone who loves books not love a book that is itself so in love with books?” (page 125).

I was intrigued by the title of this book and expected that it would deal with reading and books, and since I love books and reading myself, it seemed to be just the thing for me. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is much more—it is a memoir and tribute to Mary Ann Schwalbe, the author’s mother, who died of pancreatic cancer a few years ago. As well as adding several volumes to my to-read list, I felt my own passions for reading good books renewed. Why should I waste precious time with poorly conceived and executed material? In other words, what would I spend my time reading if I knew that I only had a short time left to read? That is the idea I came away with, and I also grew to respect and admire Mary Ann Schwalbe.

Don’t think that this memoir is sad or maudlin; it is far from it. The author cleverly uses various books to connect with what is happening in his mother’s life, with her relationships with her family and friends, and her battle with cancer. It is thoroughly enjoyable and would be a great selection for book clubs and for people facing cancer or other serious illnesses as patients or those close to them.
Nathalie

Well written and touching
I was not looking forward to reading this book for my own book group: I just lost yet another family member to cancer.

However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the way it was written. The author has written a beautiful inspiring tribute to his mother. (What an amazing woman!) And yet it's an easy read. I couldn't help running down the list of books at the end to see which I've already read.

I'm off to book group!
JeanT

Disappoining Book Club
I approached this book with much anticipation after having read all the reviews. Perhaps it's just me, but I found the book interesting, but not compelling. I would have hoped for more depth in the discussion of the various books' relevance to the situations in the mother's and son's lives. At times the discussion seemed too brief and superficial to carry much emotion or significance. Overall I was disappointed and probably would not recommend it, even if I did note some of the books I will want to check out for my own future reading.
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