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The End of Your Life Book Club | [Will Schwalbe]

The End of Your Life Book Club

>"What are you reading?" That's the question Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne, as they sit in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2007, Mary Anne returned from a humanitarian trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan suffering from what her doctors believed was a rare type of hepatitis. Months later she was diagnosed with a form of advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often in six months or less. This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother.
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Publisher's Summary

"What are you reading?"

That's the question Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne, as they sit in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2007, Mary Anne returned from a humanitarian trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan suffering from what her doctors believed was a rare type of hepatitis. Months later she was diagnosed with a form of advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often in six months or less.

This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother, who start a "book club" that brings them together as her life comes to a close. Over the next two years, Will and Mary Anne carry on conversations that are both wide-ranging and deeply personal, prompted by an eclectic array of books and a shared passion for reading. Their list jumps from classic to popular, from poetry to mysteries, from fantastic to spiritual. The issues they discuss include questions of faith and courage as well as everyday topics such as expressing gratitude and learning to listen. Throughout, they are constantly reminded of the power of books to comfort us, astonish us, teach us, and tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world. Reading isn't the opposite of doing; it's the opposite of dying.

Will and Mary Anne share their hopes and concerns with each other - and rediscover their lives - through their favorite books. When they read, they aren't a sick person and a well person, but a mother and a son taking a journey together. The result is a profoundly moving tale of loss that is also a joyful, and often humorous, celebration of life: Will's love letter to his mother, and theirs to the printed page.

©2012 Will Schwalbe (P)2012 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

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

"A wonderful book about wonderful books and mothers and sons and the enduring braid between them. Like the printed volumes it celebrates, this story will stay with you long after the last page." (Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Time Keeper)

"Will Schwalbe's lyrical tribute to a life well-lived and a death graced with love and literature is a precious gift bestowed on all of us. What a unique and beautiful book this is, and how privileged we are to have it." (Sherwin B. Nuland, author of The Art of Aging and How We Die)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (436 )
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4.0 (383 )
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Performance
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  •  
    mberank Lynchburg, VA 12-06-12
    mberank Lynchburg, VA 12-06-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "A classic book I will reread and recommend"
    Where does The End of Your Life Book Club rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    At the top of my list.


    What other book might you compare The End of Your Life Book Club to and why?

    Not sure.


    What does Jeff Harding bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator has a fine soothing voice making this audible book a pleasant listening experience.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes, when Will at the end read a passage about God aloud and Mary Ann smiled. It occurred to me that was her moment when she was at total peace and ready to let go.


    Any additional comments?

    Yes, I enjoyed learning about Mary Ann's refugee work throughout the world. I also enjoyed learning about the books Will and Mary Ann shared and discussed.
    Today I finished the book and paid tribute to Mary Ann by asking by siblings if they would like me to make a charitable donation in their honor rather than buying them a gift for Christmas.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Onel05 Melbourne 12-01-12
    Onel05 Melbourne 12-01-12
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    "Fantastic"

    My reading list has quadrupled, and the basic story about a love between a mother and son is touching.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenny Woodlands, Australia 12-01-12
    Jenny Woodlands, Australia 12-01-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "A Good Way to Go"
    Would you try another book from Will Schwalbe and/or Jeff Harding?

    Probably not, I listened to this one because I was especially interested in the different books that Will and his mother read and discussed.


    If you’ve listened to books by Will Schwalbe before, how does this one compare?

    This is the only one I have read


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Not at all, I could actually imagine that it was Will Schwalbe talking to me


    Was The End of Your Life Book Club worth the listening time?

    Yes, but probably only once for me.


    Any additional comments?

    I think the grace with which Will Schwalbe speaks of his mother and her manner of dying is very special.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HDJ 11-13-12
    HDJ 11-13-12 Member Since 2006
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    "An inspiring and touching tribute!"

    Will Schwalbe writes of his love and respect for his dying mother with honesty and candor. He also explores what literature means to us both as individuals and as a society. In the end, this book left me thinking about living and dying and how I would like to be remembered. It also left me with several additions to my reading list! The narration is perfectly pitched to the content. As others have said, this memoir is a book lovers book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mia 11-09-12
    Mia 11-09-12 Member Since 2012

    I am a miracle worker. Doing what I can to choose love over fear.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A privilege to listen to"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes: Those of them who enjoy "The help" and so on. Why? Because even if "The help" is fiction it deals with hard times without too many tears, but with knowledge. Just like the case is in this gem.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This is a memoir: Everyone!


    What about Jeff Harding’s performance did you like?

    He reads in a New york accent, just like Will and his mother.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes and no: The words between Will and his mom is easy to capture. The book tips: Is so important and since I do not read physical books I need to reem.-listen the tips to remember them- even if it is


    Any additional comments?

    If you are disabled or sick: Listen! Then start living and enjoy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan Burra, Australia 11-08-12
    Bryan Burra, Australia 11-08-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Heartwarmingly sad"

    An absolutely beautiful book. Warm, tender, funny and sad. I've just had my first listen and I know that I will listen to this book many times over. I couldn't stop listening. The narration is brilliant. Thank you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Valdez California 11-29-12
    G. Valdez California 11-29-12 Member Since 2011

    busy mom

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    "Turned into something different than expected"

    This book wasn't what I expected when I first read about it. I thought it would be about a mother and son reading books and gleaning insight from the books that they read. I was disappointed at first. But quickly I realized that this is a story about Mary Ann Schwalbe told through numerous conversations between her and her son Will. Their conversations happen during their two person "book club" which develops as a way to pass time while she is getting chemotherapy. The insights that are revealed in this story are not from the books that they read but from Mary Ann herself. She is an amazing woman with strong commonsense convictions and worldly life experience to back it up. I ended up really enjoying this book once I got over my preconceived ideas of what it was supposed to be about. I really think this is a must read for all because not only can you learn life lessons, but I discovered many books I now want to read!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Banff, AB, Canada 11-06-12
    Kathleen Banff, AB, Canada 11-06-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Inspirational Story of Facing the End of Life"
    If you could sum up The End of Your Life Book Club in three words, what would they be?

    Inspirational, moving, entertaining


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked that although the book club was the basis of the story, it was really about the relationship between a son and his dying mother. The honesty and candor with which Will Schwabe told the story made these two people and their experience very real. They became people that I wished I could meet. The courage that Mary Ann Schwabe showed in facing her illness and her impending death was inspirational. I also loved listening to which books they chose and what they found that inspired them about each of these books.


    Have you listened to any of Jeff Harding’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not listened to any other story that Jeff Harding has recorded but I will definitely look for other stories that he has narrated.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book made me both laugh and cry. Like any relationship between two people this srory has both its funny moments and its sad, sentimental moments. It also inspired me to find out more about the organizations that she was involved with and to research her life more.


    Any additional comments?

    I am glad that I bought this book and that I had the opportunity to listen to this story. It reminded of some of my favorite books that I hadn't read for awhile and it allowed me to share in the time that this mother and son spent together.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janna Addison, TX, United States 11-05-12
    Janna Addison, TX, United States 11-05-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Great book about family strength"
    Would you listen to The End of Your Life Book Club again? Why?

    Yes. I loved to hear about the books they were reading and how they impacted their life.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The End of Your Life Book Club?

    The strength of the family in dealing with the passing of their mother.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Sitting in the livingroom and the explanation of all the objects, people, and books in their life.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes. I know it is hard to lose a parent.


    Any additional comments?

    Well written. Loved to hear about all the books and what fascinating lives this family has.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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