Borrow eBooks and Downloadable Audiobooks directly from our catalogue! It’s now possible to check out and place holds on most downloadable titles from within the library catalogue. Digital and physical titles will be integrated on your "checked out" and "holds" lists. To get started, find a downloadable title and click on "Request This Title". You will be prompted to check out or place the title on hold.

The End of your Life Book Club

Schwalbe, Will (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The End of your Life Book Club

Item Details

"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.nbsp;
Authors: Schwalbe, Will
Title: The end of your life book club
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: viii, 336 p. :,21 cm
Local Note: Also : Toronto : Vintage Canada, 2013
20121025 ba / 20140218 al (020, 593)
ISBN: 9780307594037
Branch Call Number: 616.994 S398e1
More » MARC Display»

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Report This Mar 31, 2014
  • Liber_vermis rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

An incredible memoir of the last two years of the life of a woman who achieved so many things. Was it cruelly ironic that her final accomplishment was a library in Kabul, Afghanistan, where book clubs may not be widely tolerated? Most readers will not be able to put this memoir down until finished!

Report This Feb 09, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

As others have said, this is a hard book to rate because of the personal subject matter. It's also mostly a son transcribing and sharing the words of his mother. She is an admirable woman and her good work is given its moments but the book is mostly about a mother and a son's relationship with books and with each other. It's also about our own relationships with books and how that helps us relate to others, known and unknown

Report This Nov 01, 2013
  • modestgoddess rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I've been recommending this to everyone too. Think the mother is definitely Type A - she gets so much done, even while terminally ill! Love her deep and powerful faith and the way it colours everything she does. Definitely uplifting and enjoyable. Unfortunately my holds list at the library just got a lot longer....So many books, so little time!

Report This Oct 12, 2013
  • ser_library rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

i would have liked more info on the books discussed and less on the activities and meals of the family.

Report This Sep 09, 2013
  • zedea rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

How books bring people together...in the most unusual circumstances. A mother and son get even closer through the passages of "the end of your life book club" Very enlightening!

Report This Aug 18, 2013
  • mpfickes rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

By the time I finished it, my copy was festooned with yellow post-it notes, flapping like flags to remind me of authors to explore, books to find, and quotes to note or share with others. In writing his mother's end of life journey through an account of the many books they read together in a 2-person "book club," Will Schwalbe memorializes his extraordinary mother and the life lessons she shared, often writ large in the literature relished by a family of indefatigable readers.

Report This Aug 06, 2013
  • gracindaisy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A touching story of a mother dying of cancer and her son. The added bonus is that both people love reading and create their own book club, discussing and reading the best books of their life. This is a book junkie's bonanza; final bibliography contains more than 150 books - some you've read and others you'll want to read.

Report This Jul 29, 2013
  • amodolo rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This was such a beautiful book. Have a box of tissues next to you when reading it though. I love how Will Schwalbe has this bond with his mother through reading. Also love the long list of books on my to-read list after reading this book!

Report This Jul 17, 2013
  • Malca rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Amazing memoir. Have recommended it to everyone.

Report This Jul 13, 2013
  • nicole1104 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Beautiful. Highly recommended.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

Page 128 - " I realized then that for all of us, part of the process of Mom's dying was mourning not just her death but also the death of our dreams of things to come. You don't really lose the person who has been; you have all those memories. ..... I was learning that when you're with someone who is dying, you may need to celebrate the past, live the present, and mourn the future all at the same time."

Report This Jan 04, 2013
  • becker rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

“One of the many things I love about bound books is their sheer physicality. Electronic books live out of sight and out of mind. But printed books have body, presence. ... I often seek electronic books, but they never come after me. They may make me feel, but I can't feel them. They are all soul with no flesh, no texture, and no weight.”


Add a Video

Report This Jan 04, 2013
  • becker rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

End of Your Life Book Club

Find it at VPL


Powered by BiblioCommons.