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Her answer was Wallace Stegner's novel, Crossing to Safety, about the lifelong friendship of two couples. As the novel opens, one of the women is dying of cancer.

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That novel, Schwalbe says, would give him and his mother "a way to discuss some of the things she was facing and some of the things I was facing. Both were avid readers. Schwalbe, 50, is the former editor-in-chief of Hyperion Books and founder of Cookstr. His mom was a retired teacher, a former admissions director at Harvard and Radcliffe and founding director of the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children. That day in the hospital, Schwalbe told his mom that if they read "books at more or less the same time, then it's sort of like being in a book club.

Until she died at 75, mother and son shared a broad range of new and old books -- from Stieg Larsson's best-selling mystery, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, to T. Eliot's verse drama, Murder in the Cathedral , about the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Beckett in You'll turn the last page wishing you'd met Mary Anne Schwalbe, vowing to be worthy of her incandescent example - and promising yourself to read more.

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Will Schwalbe has created a tender, moving and honest portrayal of the precious relationship between a mother and son - an ode to that beautiful thing called love. Like the printed volumes it celebrates, this story will stay with you long after the last page.

How wonderful to encounter a writer who combines erudition with great emotional honesty, and who isn't afraid of addressing life's most profound and baffling questions. Like Mary Anne, who reads the ending first, you know how this book is going to end, but while it is a story about death, it is mostly a celebration of life and of the way books can enrich it. Added to basket. The Secret Barrister. Gotta Get Theroux This. Louis Theroux. The Salt Path.


The End of Your Life Book Club | Knopf Doubleday

Raynor Winn. Tara Westover. First Man In. Ant Middleton. Permanent Record.

Will Schwalbe On The End of Your Life Book Club

Edward Snowden. The Anarchy.

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    Simon Reeve. Mary Anne and her husband, Douglas, an agent for classical musicians, read voraciously. Young Will followed suit, devouring books about Paul Revere and Alistair MacLean thrillers, and eventually rising to the chair of editor-in-chief at Hyperion. In the summer of , Mary Anne returned home to New York from yet another trip abroad — she was a frequent visitor to refugee camps in Asia and Africa — to find herself weakened by hepatitis.

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    Then the trap door opened — a terminal diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, with a life expectancy of three to five months. Talking about novels proved a springboard to talking about everything. Mary Anne elevated kindness and gratitude to cardinal virtues.