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The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

“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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  • A former member
    A former member

    Engaging conversation and insights

    June 26, 2013

  • Thomas C.

    The moderator was well prepared; and we all engaged in a lively discussion!

    June 25, 2013

  • Beverly

    I find I may not be able to make it tonight after all. Just a note to let you know. It's a great book-reading list--maybe try some of them for our group--I started reading one of them this week.

    June 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry, just realized I double-booked tonight, and I really wanted to join the discussion on this one, but...

    June 25, 2013

  • Lee

    sorry - can't make it

    June 24, 2013

  • Jonne

    Won't be able to attend after all, but enjoyed the book very much. Certainly contained many ideas for future selections. Hope to be there next month.

    June 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Loving this book. What a great and ironic choice. See you next Tuesday.

    June 19, 2013

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