Thursday, September 5, 2013

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe


"I will never be able to read one of my mother's favorite books without thinking of her - and when I pass them on or recommend them, I'll know that some of what made her goes with them; that some of my mother will live on in those readers, readers who may be inspired to love the way she loved and do their own version of what she did in the world."

"That's one of the amazing things great books can do - they don't just get you to see the world differently, they get you to look at people all around you, differently."

" 'Everyone doesn't have to do everything,' she told me.  'People forget you can also express yourself by what you choose to admire and support.  I've had so much pleasure from beautiful and challenging things created by other people, things I could never make or do.  I wouldn't trade that for anything.' "

"Of course you could do more - you can always do more, and you should do more - but still, the important thing is to do what you can, whenever you can.  You just do your best, and that's all you can do."

"We're all in the end-of-your-life book club, whether we acknowledge it or not; each book we read may well be the last, each conversation the final one."

This book was wonderful!  There were so many good quotes - it was very hard to pick my favorite.  Or as you can see above, even a couple of favorites.  I'm not sure if it was because of the writing, the story, or that this was written about books, but I've never been able to get through a non-fiction this fast.  I got this book last Christmas and I've been meaning to read it since then.  I kept putting it off - too busy and too many other books to read - but I'm so glad I finally got the chance to finish it!

This is a beautiful story about Will Schwalbe and his mother.  A wonderful tribute to both his mom and the books that they read together.  Will and his mother have always shared a love of books and reading.  When his mom is diagnosed with cancer, they spend a lot of time together during frequent trips chemo treatment.  They share books they've read or always wanted to read and begin to talk about them.  After awhile, they begin to realize that they have formed a sort-of two person book club.  

I wish that they book had focused a little more on the books that they read and less on all of Will's mother accomplishments and political aspect.  She was a great person did a countless number of things to help others - both the people around her and people in other countries - but, she was one of those people I both admire and get a little annoyed with at the same time.  I'm glad that there are people like her who can do all those wonderful things for others and still have time for themselves, work, and their family because I sure can't! 

I love that the book focused on not only books, but the connections that people have with each other through the books they read.  This book brought up a lot of connections to the relationship that I have with my mom.  She doesn't run all over the world helping people in her spare time and, thankfully, she's very healthy and will hopefully be in my life for many, many years to come, but I while I was reading the book, I found myself thinking a lot about her.  My mom and I have always been avid readers, but in the last few years, we have started to share the books we're reading and talking about them.  She joined a book club about a year ago and we are constantly swapping books and recommending them to each other.  Whenever I finish a really good book, she's always the first person I call to rave about it!  This book got me to think a lot about the bonds that books create and made me appreciate the connect that I have with my mom and the other people in my life through the books we read.

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