In May, we will be discussing The End of Your Life Book Club  by Will Schwalbe (recommended by Sarah Watrud).

“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.


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  • Teri E.

    We rated it a 3.5!

    June 2, 2013

  • Kim K.

    Sorry not feeling well

    May 29, 2013

  • Gina

    Sorry, I'm half way through the book, but work has kept me from finishing it. Really good so far!

    May 28, 2013

  • Kim K.

    It seems like I was destine to read this. I just lost my mom in February. She was in hospice at the end. I went into the bedroom to read her a couple more chapters of the book I was reading to her and she was gone. Before her eyes had failed her she too was an avid reader.

    May 26, 2013

  • James C.

    This might be challenging for me but I have to at least try to meet one time. Lets see how it works!

    May 23, 2013

  • April C.

    I will be traveling for work. I'm really looking forward to reading this one anyway!

    May 1, 2013

  • Valerie C.

    I'm hoping I can make the May mtg, but won't know as it depends on my Mom's health.

    March 30, 2013

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