Science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction...take me away!
Will Schwalbe introduces us to his extraordinary mother, Mary Anne, through the books they choose to read and discuss as she and they face a devastating diagnosis. We learn about Mary Anne's work in refugee camps, her philosophy of life, her only regret (not being able to see her grandchildren grow up), and her drive to organize everyone and everything around her. It was an honour to meet Mary Anne through Will's memories and Mary Anne's stories. And the books! Each book opened up topics of conversation that allowed Will and his mother to discuss what truly matters in life.
I'm a nurse who specializes in care of the elderly and this book is a real gift!
I love yoga. I love cooking healthy, organic, natural, delicious food. I love reading, writing, traveling. But more than anything, I love laughing and cuddling with my Michael and our pup.
I generally enjoyed Schwalbe’s book, although I did feel it was a bit slow at times. I appreciated how the book was centered upon literary works and the connection the author had with his mother through books. His mother truly did lead an extraordinary life and it was touching to hear her thoughts about life and the way she chose to live it.
I found the narrator’s voice a bit annoying and, at times, actually obnoxious, which detracted from the story. I felt his tone projected a negative undertone to passages where, had I read them myself, wouldn’t have been perceived negative at all.
A book for book lovers, and a book that will broaden your Horizons and introduce you to an absolutely remarkable woman. I've heard of some new books that I want to read and I've remembered some wonderful books that I've already read. I've stretched my adoration for women around the world and I've been inspired. Recommend!
I really wanted to like this book. My wife has a chronic illness and found this book to be very moving. So, in an effort to bond with her, I agreed to listen to it. Hard as I tried to like it several factors got in the way. The first is the narration. Although Harding is a good narrator, I think his voice is better suited for a different type of book - not one that requires you to accompany someone with a terminal illness on their final journey. Regrettably, Schwalbe also disrupts this process by going back and forth between several different narrative themes that work at cross purposes - at least for me.
The first theme is the impending loss of his mother. This is the sweetest portion of the book and the one I expected the book to focus on. The emotional impact of this theme is significantly lessened, however, by Scwalbe's efforts to alternatingly tell his mother's life story, his story, and the story of how much the two of them loved books. As Schwalbe jumps from book to book, I was initially interested, but eventually felt irritated because I realized he was avoiding the most important theme - the loss of his mother. To the extent that you can accept that he had an intellectualized relationship with his mother, and that the books were a metaphor for elements of their relationship, it seemed to help.
Ultimately, this story felt emotionally detached and the author seemed so distracted by all of the books that are mentioned that he had trouble maintaining an emotional connection to "the end of your life" part of The End of Your Life Book Club.
I enjoyed their distraction from the painful unfolding events by sharing their respective experiences in the wider context of favourite literary pieces.
It's very human touch
The fact that they also loved some of my favourite books, and were able to navigate their experience through their shared love of great books
I am not sure I would be eager to read another book by Will Schwalbe. Since this book is likely to be very unique for him, it would be hard to judge this book against others he may write.I thought the narrator did a fine job.
I would only recommend this book to those who really love books or are perhaps coping with the loss of someone. I don't think this book is for everyone. It reads like a diary or book report. The best parts of the book are when we learn about Will's mother's life leading up to the cancer. You could also use this book as a "must read list" before you die, since it references so many great books.There are no plot twists here. No real "aha" moments. It just quietly chronicles the life of an extraordinary women.
He brought life to the individual voices in the book. I thought he did a good job.
There are a few books referenced in it that I would like to read now.
Bibliotherapy, living, dying
For the most part, the book was positive and and did not idealize or malign anyone or anything. It demonstrated that life is for the living.
The son, who devoted his time and love during his mother's experience with pancreatic cancer. The mother's voice was not pleasant, and I considered it the weakest link.
Not so much a moment, but the series of events and books that framed the process of dying from pancreatic cancer. The epilogue is memorable, and moving.
The mutual reading and sharing of books as therapy for an incredibly accomplished and tireless mother and son pair. The major source of tension, which was by no means major, was the son's tolerance and pseudo-acceptance of his mother's reliance on Christianity as a crutch at the end. Fortunately, neither character was provincial and the book club related conversations (and great list of books to read or listen to anytime) were often captivating. The use of humor elevated the quality and enjoyment of this work. No easy task within the context of death and dying from one of the most malignant and difficult to treat types of cancer. It was fortunate that her course was relatively indolent.
HIghly recommend this for anyone who likes talking about books. I bought this book on sale because I really do like to know how people choose to read the books they read and what they think about them. However, I hated the title so much I hesitated for a long time because it sounded so morbid. Also, I thought it sounded like the author was marketing his book on the basis of his mother's cancer. In fact the book is a beautiful tribute to his mother and the discussions are exactly the kinds of things I like to know about other readers and what they read. But the title was quite a put-off.
I also wasn't wild about the narration because the narrator's voice did not seem to suit either of the main characters, Will Schwalbe or his mother, although his pace and pronunciation were very clear and would otherwise have been fine. He just sounded like a professional narrator rather than someone emotionally involved in either the books he read or the relationship with his mother. Also the narrator used a vocalization for a woman's voice to signal the mother's words that was unpleasant and priggish. I admit it's difficult to portray a 75 year old woman and her son in the same voice, but I think if a vocalization had to be used it could have been done in a less irritating manner.
That said, I had no trouble listening to the entire book which discusses many books I have read or planned to read, and some books I will try because I enjoyed the discussion of them in this book. The discussions were exceptionally interesting and on target and even the mother's illness which originally made me hesitant about reading this book ultimately gave the book meaning. However the title still seems like something written by a marketing person. But this is a very good book I highly recommend to enthusiastic readers.
Still highly recommended book for anyone who enjoys discussing books.
Schwalbe and his mother read and commented on many books that I have read; their comments were short but very insightful. Even though Schwalbe's mother is dying, at no time does the book wallow in self-pity, nor does it become a downer. To the contrary, the woman is strong and positive in the face of a terminal disease and therefore doesn't allow the reader to feel sorry for her. Her son, Will, also does not provoke sorrow.
I loved the way I could almost feel like I was present at the their book club meetings.
The compassionate way he describes his mother's life and achievements - along with her illness.
No - but he is good!
At the end when he summarises what his mother taught him in life.