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The end of your life book club
Will Schwalbe
Adult Nonfiction RC265.5 .S39 2012

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Sharing books he loved with his savvy New Yorker mom had always been a great pleasure for both mother and son, becoming especially poignant when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2007, at age 73. Schwalbe, founder of Cookstr.com and former editor-in-chief of Hyperion, along with his father and siblings, was blindsided by the news; his mother, Mary Ann Schwalbe, had been an indomitable crusader for human rights, once the director of admissions at Harvard, and a person of enormous energy and management skills. Could a book club be run by only two people? Schwalbe and his mother wondered as they waited together over many chemotherapy sessions at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. It didn't matter: "Books showed us that we didn't need to retreat or cocoon," he writes; they provided "much-needed ballast" during an emotionally tumultuous time when fear and uncertainty gripped them both as the dreaded disease ("not curable but treatable") progressed rapidly. From Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach to Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns, William Trevor's Felicia's Journey to Josephine Tey's Brat Farrar, Geraldine Brooks's People of the Book to John Updike's My Father's Tears: the books they shared allowed them to speak honestly and thoughtfully, to get to know each other, ask big questions, and especially talk about death. With a refreshing forthrightness, and an excellent list of books included, this is an astonishing, pertinent, and wonderfully welcome work. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Schwalbe (former editor in chief, Hyperion; coauthor, Send: Why People Email So Badly and How To Do It Better) and his mother, Mary Anne, always had a bond forged with books, and after she was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, they strengthened that bond by forming a "book club" together. Throughout this memoir, Schwalbe and his mother discuss characters and themes from the books they read, and Schwalbe considers these same characters and themes in relation to his mother, who, as an administrator at Harvard and the Dalton School in New York City and a widely admired humanitarian, tirelessly strove to help others. In the process, Schwalbe shows why books were so important to him and his mother: they introduce readers to new worlds and fabulous characters while, at the same time, they help explain the world in which the readers themselves live. VERDICT This book will bring tears to readers' eyes-it is an essential title for lovers of memoir. Recommended for anyone who enjoys books about mothers and sons, books about the love of books, and books about the strength of families. [See Prepub Alert, 4/16/12.]-Ryan Claringbole, Chesapeake P.L., VA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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