Will Schwalbe has always been a book person. Both an author and publisher (Schwalbe was Editor in Chief at both Hyperion and Avon Morrow before leaving to launch Cookstr.com), he grew up in a household of book lovers, where the question “What are you reading?” was as prevalent as “What’s for dinner?”

But the full beauty of books and the power of reading—or perhaps more importantly, of making time for reading—was never more apparent than when his mother, Mary Anne, was diagnosed in 2007 with advanced pancreatic cancer, one of the most uncompromising forms of the dreaded disease.

What began as conversations to pass the time during visits to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center blossomed into a full-fledged mother-son book club, the words and stories bringing the two even closer together as Mary Anne’s accomplished and purposeful life moved closer towards its inevitable end.

For the next two years, while Mary Anne battled for time, she and Will discussed their favorite books (the long list of which Schwalbe kindly includes for readers), along with their hopes and worries. Behind their conversations though, was a shared passion for the written word and its ability to create meaningful human connection in even the darkest times.

The End of Your Life Book Club is a moving narrative of a mother and son, but also a celebration of the lifelong desire to learn, discover, and find escape in the stories between the covers of the books in our lives. In Part 1 of our exclusive Bibliostar.TV interview, Schwalbe discusses how the idea for the book came to be, and the comfort his mother received from books at the end of her life.

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Bibliostar.TV Part 2: Will Schwalbe Discusses The Etiquette of Illness

 

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