Friday, November 23, 2012

Shared Reading, Part 2

It often happens that book clubs develop within families. A person reads a book, loves it and passes it on to her daughter, sister-in-law or niece. Many times couples share reading tastes and both will finish a book on a single checkout! In such cases, some discussion, however brief, is sure to follow over coffee or on a long drive.

A new book shares with readers the poignant experience of a mother and son who shared a love of reading and of discussing the books they read. In The End of Your Life Book Club, Will Schwalbe tenderly describes the last two years of his mother’s life through the reading that they shared while she underwent treatment for pancreatic cancer.

While the story of Mary Anne Schwalbe and her family is inspiring in itself, Will’s book can also serve as the basis for establishing a reading list for any book club. Selections include fiction, non-fiction, biography and poetry. Titles and authors mentioned in the chapters are listed alphabetically in an appendix.

Some of the Schwalbes’ selections that I have read and enjoyed are:

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis

Howards End by E M Forster

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Some authors that are now on my to-read list are Geraldine Brooks, John Kabat-Zinn, Anne Lamott, J. R. Moehringer and Wallace Stegner.

Those of us who participate in a book group will enjoy The End of Your Life Book Club for its familiar descriptions of the pleasure of shared reading. All readers may find inspiration in the Schwalbe family’s story of love, acceptance, service and hope.

Maryellen @ Warrenton

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