The End of your Life Book Club

The End of your Life Book Club

Large Print - 2012
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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.
Publisher: Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, 2012
Edition: Large print ed
ISBN: 9781410452245
Branch Call Number: LP 616.99 Sch


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IndyPL_MicheleP Dec 04, 2018

I enjoyed reading the book. The many book titles referenced were intriguing and I loved his mother's attitude toward life.

Nov 27, 2018

Like the previous reviewer I too found this book focused far too much on the author's mother who was so perfect to be rather insufferable. I wanted to be moved by, inspired by and be sentimental about books, but I wasn't. Interestingly, I felt that one of the author's other books "Books for Living" accomplishes this. In that publication the books ARE the main characters. Reading Books for Living I really felt like I was encountering a number of old beloved friends and meeting some potential new ones. Reading "The End of your Life Book Club" did not inspire me in my reading. However kudos to a family for being so close knit and being each other's cheering squad.

VaughanPLDavidB Nov 20, 2018

I looked forward to this book as a son who lost his mother to cancer. Beyond that I knew nothing about the main characters, and I otherwise did not identify with the relationship described in this book. I also looked forward to it because I run a book club at my library, and this is the chosen book for the month. There was everything to like about this book, but there was something nagging at me the whole time I was reading it that might not seem like a rational complaint: I so wished that the author's mother was just an ordinary person who loved reading. But Mary Ann Schwalbe was anything but ordinary, and it irked me. This woman had it all and did it all, and had praise heaped on her for her entire life, and now this book. It just seems like piling on. A straightforward biography would have been better. I wanted the books to be the stars of this memoir, but they weren't. As I said, not necessarily a rational complaint. This isn't a novel where you can justifiably complain about the characters. This is real life.

Apr 19, 2017

I couldn't even get half way through this book. It was embarrassing to read. It is poorly written and badly edited. It's a glaringly obvious vanity piece written by a privileged kid who has a job in the publishing industry because his "family" had "connections".

A young man has been desperate for his socialite mother's attention all his life. She is an ivy league educated narcissistic control freak who traveled the world gaining fame & fortune and notoriety through her charitable work.

Finally, she's her child's captive because she's dying so he's milking her for all the attention he can get before it's too late. This guy needs a therapist and his negligent self indulgent mother will have some karma to deal work off next time around.

Mar 17, 2017

The book's very title gives away the ending. It's ironic that the author's mother always reads the end first. But she doesn't convert her son to her method of book reading, or even try. Much as he loves her and applauds what she's accomplished with her life, he recognizes that she's a controlling person and not a saint. For him, that's part of what he admires about her--she's the hub of the family. The family takes turns sitting with her through appointments and treatments, and the book club evolves for the two of them. What are two readers going to do while sitting in doctors' waiting rooms and though hours of chemo? They start talking about the characters, which leads them in multiple directions, sometimes not very relevant to the book. They choose books because they apply to her situation, or their family, or the refugee work she's done, or because one of them has loved it before. The book list at the end is an added bonus.

Oct 16, 2016

A beautiful tribute of a child to a parent, with a different twist to "living through the dying"process. Picked up several titles of books I now want to read. Would make a very good book club selection.

Mar 08, 2016

Well written and touching story of a family confronting their Mom's terminal illness. Remarkable family, remarkable story.

Jul 23, 2015

an enjoyable read but definitely the product of a US family privileged to have health care, the money to travel, and the ability to take time off work.

a loving portrait of a woman who dedicated her life to working for others, particularly with refugees; and a tale of a son who loves and respects his mother and is able to spend many hours with her in the last 2 years of her life.

and the importance of books

bibliotechnocrat Dec 31, 2014

How does one talk to the dying? Schwalbe, waiting with his terminally ill mother through interminable doctor appointments and chemo sessions, begins a 'book club' to give their enforced inactivity a focus. They read and discuss a huge range of books, the circumstances lending a poignancy to what might otherwise be casual conversation. In part, this book is an homage to the mother bordering on hagiography. Nonetheless, it is a thought-provoking read, well worth your time.

forbesrachel Nov 10, 2014

The title says it all. This is the account of the moments, and the books shared, between a mother and son as she approaches the end of her life. Even while undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer, Mary Anne Schwalbe continued to fight to make the lives of others better. Her spirit and wisdom permeate every inch of this book as her son Will, narrates their precious time together. Their tale speaks to the universality of books. Books bring us together through their internal humanity. We experience them, share them, and integrate their messages into our lives. They tie us with invisible threads, binding us to those we talk about it with, the author who wrote it, and even to the real or fictional characters who inhabit the pages. While the backdrop of a mother dying is certainly sad, the tone never reflects this. It is in fact more commemorative. Will remembers his mother fondly, and he strives to impart her philosophies. She sees her glass as half-full, accepts her fate, and only regrets not being able to do more. Both of them learn lessons and take solace in the books they read, and so too does this book do the same for us.

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Mar 12, 2013

Page 128 -
" I realized then that for all of us, part of the process of Mom's dying was mourning not just her death but also the death of our dreams of things to come. You don't really lose the person who has been; you have all those memories. ..... I was learning that when you're with someone who is dying, you may need to celebrate the past, live the present, and mourn the future all at the same time."

Jan 04, 2013

“One of the many things I love about bound books is their sheer physicality. Electronic books live out of sight and out of mind. But printed books have body, presence. ... I often seek electronic books, but they never come after me. They may make me feel, but I can't feel them. They are all soul with no flesh, no texture, and no weight.”


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