The End Of Your Life Book Club

by Will Schwalbe

Knopf Canada | June 4, 2013 | Trade Paperback

The End Of Your Life Book Club is rated 4.33333333333333 out of 5 by 12.

An inspiring memoir for fans of Joan Didion, Annie Lamott, and Mitch Albom, The End of Your Life Book Club is a beautiful celebration of literature and a profound testament to the ways we remember our loved ones.

Mary Anne Schwalbe was a renowned educator who filled such august positions as Director of Admissions at Harvard and Director of College Counseling at New York's prestigious Dalton School. She also felt it incumbent upon herself to educate the less fortunate and spent the last 10 years of her life building libraries in Afghanistan. But her story here begins with a mocha, dispensed from a machine in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Over coffee, Will casually asks his mom what she's been reading. The conversation they have grows into tradition: soon they mutually agree to read the same books and share them together as Mary Anne waits for her chemotherapy treatments. Their discussions reveal how books become increasingly important to the connection between a remarkable woman whose life is coming to a close, and a man becoming closer to his mom than ever before.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 352 pages, 7.99 × 5.16 × 0.72 in

Published: June 4, 2013

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307399672

ISBN - 13: 9780307399670

Found in: Biography and Memoir

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Quite inspiring I really liked this book. It’s Will’s account of the book club that he and his mom had during her two years of fighting cancer. I liked the way they talked about books and how current choices-themes influenced future ones. Also, I respected that their love of reading was a strong fulcrum for their relationship, and for his mom’s savouring of life. She comes across as an extraordinary woman, which also makes this novel a lovely hommage by a son. I had read criticism that Will sounds unemotional and, therefore, unbelievable. However, I found him (and his mom) to be more stoic. Because of this book, I added many titles to my To Read list.
Date published: 2014-11-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The End of Your Life Book Club Outstanding... a recommended read.
Date published: 2014-09-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not as sad as one would think Great book. Brought back memories of books read and recommend s. new ones for the future
Date published: 2014-07-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not as sad as one would think My book club read this (yes, the title drew us in!) and almost universally it was felt that it was superficial and missed a huge opportunity given the topic - approach to delve into deeper perspectives on the relationship between Will and his mother Mary Anne. Yes, it was interesting to have a new list of books for us to read going forward, but that benefit was overshadowed by the idealizing of the mother by Will and the gaps in addressing the obvious strain in their relationship.
Date published: 2014-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic read Demonstrates the true meaning of life and love. Perfectly written.
Date published: 2014-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent read! This book documents what unites a son and his dying mother around their mutual love of books. Wonderful explorations of some great books, as well as a reading list for those who want to read their chosen selections.
Date published: 2013-08-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A double homage The author, who has worked in the publishing business and journalism, render a tribute to the written world; he also celebrates life and the love he has for his mother. It is a memoir of the relationship between a son and his mother and their shared passion for books. The story spans over 2 years and opens with the return of the author’s mother, Mary Anne Schwalbe, from a humanitarian mission in Pakistan and Afghanistan where a foundation she’s involved with helps establish libraries in those countries. She returns with a sickness that is first believed to be a rare form of hepatitis. As it turns out, it is much worst then first suspected. Months later, the verdict falls: CANCER. But not just any kind: PANCREATIC CANCER. Her original prognosis was 6 months and yet she managed with the help of her family and doctors, to almost quadruple her survival time. So as pages go by, we follow the story of Mary as her life comes to a close: chemo, surgery, doctor’s appointments, her involvement in the humanitarian organization she cares about, her children /grandchildren /husband and even her own birthday parties, wedding anniversaries without forgetting the “Book Club” her son and her start while she is in chemo. So although the title makes us believe that this is mainly a book about books, I perceived it as more of an homage to the woman of exception that was Mary Anne Schwalbe; a woman who faced every step of her life with courage, determination and even optimism in some ways. The books are here symbols of comfort, knowledge and guiding light, as they teach us and sometimes show us who we are and reveal sides of us we never suspected existed. And although, the book is tinged with melancholy and sadness (because we know from the very beginning what is to become of Mary Anne), Will Schwalbe does not fall into the holistic or the new age. Neither does he go for the overly dark and depressive aspect of what living with cancer imply. He treats the subject brilliantly by putting forward his mother’s resilient, yet pragmatic, nature, by depicting her as she truly was: an inspiration and an example for many to follow should we face adversity. For more on this book and others to come, come and visit my blog at : ladybugandotherbookworms.blogspot.com
Date published: 2013-03-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Book Review from The Bibliotaphe Closet: The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe is a memoir about the author and his mother, Mary Anne Schwalbe, who carry on conversations prompted by their passion for books, those they read, and agree to read together just around the time Mary Anne suffers from a rare type of hepatitis and is then later diagnosed with an advanced form of pancreatic cancer. And while the title of the book is stark and its subject matter expected to be melancholy, Will Schwalbe’s voice is anything but that. It is instead intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, keenly observant, and witty. I should know since I was the primary caregiver to my grandfather while he fought his own battle against pancreatic cancer in 1999. So, while one might expect a wallowing narrative or in the other terrible extreme, an overpowering devotion to self-help or holistic, new age, positive thinking — the book is appreciatively neither. It has instead, a quiet, but determined resilience much like Mary Anne Schwalbe herself who you learn about through the confidence Will shares with his readers about the conversational topics they have about books. Books become a lifeline through Mary Anne Schwalbe’s terminal illness, a collective repertoire of her attitudes and beliefs. They also become a lifeline in which Will Schwalbe is able to know his mother more and give testament to her leadership, passions, and ideals. Books in the process also become a comfort and solace, a way of bringing delight or instruction, and a means to communicate what isn’t always easily spoken, but absolutely required. To read the rest of my review, you're more than welcome to visit my blog, The Bibliotaphe Closet: http://zaraalexis.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/book-review-the-end-of-your-life-book-club-by-will-schwalbe/ Zara @ The Bibliotaphe Closet http://zaraalexis.wordpress.com
Date published: 2012-12-06

– More About This Product –

The End Of Your Life Book Club

The End Of Your Life Book Club

by Will Schwalbe

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 352 pages, 7.99 × 5.16 × 0.72 in

Published: June 4, 2013

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307399672

ISBN - 13: 9780307399670

From the Publisher

An inspiring memoir for fans of Joan Didion, Annie Lamott, and Mitch Albom, The End of Your Life Book Club is a beautiful celebration of literature and a profound testament to the ways we remember our loved ones.

Mary Anne Schwalbe was a renowned educator who filled such august positions as Director of Admissions at Harvard and Director of College Counseling at New York's prestigious Dalton School. She also felt it incumbent upon herself to educate the less fortunate and spent the last 10 years of her life building libraries in Afghanistan. But her story here begins with a mocha, dispensed from a machine in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Over coffee, Will casually asks his mom what she's been reading. The conversation they have grows into tradition: soon they mutually agree to read the same books and share them together as Mary Anne waits for her chemotherapy treatments. Their discussions reveal how books become increasingly important to the connection between a remarkable woman whose life is coming to a close, and a man becoming closer to his mom than ever before.

About the Author

Will Schwalbe has worked in publishing (most recently as senior vice president and editor-in-chief of Hyperion Books); new media, as founder of Cookstr.com; and as a journalist, writing for such publications as the New York Times and the South China Morning Post. He is on the board of Yale University Press and the Kingsborough Community College Foundation. He is the co-author with David Shipley of Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The End of Your Life Book Club:
"[A] touching account of the life of letters Schwalbe shared with his inspiring mother.... Extraordinary."
—Kirkus Reviews

"A graceful, affecting testament to a mother and a life well lived."
—Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A)

"A tender, beautiful, life-affirming book that all book lovers will embrace."
—Vincent Lam, author of The Headmaster's Wager

"With a refreshing forthrightness and an excellent list of books included, this is an astonishing, pertinent and wonderfully welcome work."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)