(A welcome to the New Year and) The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

The End of Your Life Book Club image

[E-book. First published 2012]

A belated Happy New Year to all of my fellow readers! The blog has been quiet owing to illness, unfortunately, and I saw out Christmas Day in hospital for an operation. I am happy to report that all appears to be well 🙂

Having my Kindle with me whilst in hospital was a godsend and it gave me the chance to finish up my reading for 2013 between pain injections. I happened to be halfway through ‘The End of Your Life Book Club’ and my family were worried that it might not be the most uplifting story to get me through my own medical whoopsy. They were wrong.

The book is about a man and his mother as they discover that she has pancreatic cancer. Having had a life measured in books, the two set up a book club to map their final time together. Will Schwalbe has written a beautiful tribute to his mother and the books they enjoyed together. I found myself often sitting back in awe of this woman who did so many incredible and meaningful things during the course of her life – the world would be a poorer place without her – and so the reader can feel the desperation, the hope, the imminence of goodbye in this special book.

Over and above this touching story of a family facing death, this is a book for booklovers. It is a reminder of the sanctuary and comfort true bibliophiles derive between the pages of a book. It is a reminder that the written word has the power to change us – to widen our life experiences through empathy and knowledge – and, through that transformation, make us more human.

Maybe I should have picked a heart-warming read for my time in the hospital bed, but I felt Will Schwalbe’s message of hope and comfort so acutely that it made for the perfect reading at the time.