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Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

Created: 07/12/12

Replies: 32

Posted Jul. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

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From the author, Will Schwalbe

The End of Your Life Book Club is a book about the books I read with my mother when she was dying of pancreatic cancer. It's also about how books can tell you what you need to do in the world and with your life. On these pages, I hope you'll share your thoughts on books you've read and discussed with people you love.

Which books have meant the most to you? Why? What conversations have you had about books have been particularly meaningful? Has a book helped you connect with someone -- a parent, a child, a stranger? Which books have given you comfort -- or changed your life?

No rules except one: Let's try to be nice to each other.

-- Will


Posted Sep. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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pennyn

Join Date: 10/21/10

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

Remembering Marjorie Morningstar brought back some memories of a summer more the fifty years ago. I read this "grownup" book from the library of a place where my gramma worked. Remembering this also brought back the reading Dr. Zhivago, Alone, and Gone with the Wind (my second reading that brought me the love story in it.) Sadly, no one read at my house - but I ran away to the library at age 4. That memory brought back The Story of Ferdinand. Most of the books discussed I had read or I am going to read. I think all mothers should read this beautiful book and act on it.

I read a lot, discuss a lot and belong to an over 50 group that has books clubs as well as other learning opportunities.

Thanks, Will the world really needed this book.


Penny
Posted Sep. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
cynthiaa

Join Date: 04/14/11

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

This is a hard question to answer. There are so many books that mean a lot to me. From THE CAT IN THE HAT to THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. I know for sure, this book belongs on my list.


Posted Sep. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
LReads

Join Date: 06/23/12

Posts: 27

RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

This is a tough question to answer. I regularly read spiritual books that have definitely had a major influence on my life. That being if choosing I would have to say that Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Sense and Sensibility are the books that I recognize as having turned me on to reading as a teenager and for that reason I would choose them.


Posted Sep. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

There's no way I can answer this completely but for the purpose of coming up with something I'll say 'Alice in Wonderland' formed much of my childhood imagination and sense of humor and I credit it with much of what I still love to read - imaginative, somewhat dark writing with an odd sense of humor.

But there are so many books... So, so many.


Posted Sep. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

I love the image of PennyN running away to the library aged four!

I don't think any book that I've read as an adult has had the impact that some of the books I read as a child and teenager did - when every idea was new and fresh. Alice in Wonderland wasn't a huge favorite, but A.A. Milne definitely. I can still quote a number of his poems and will always have a soft spot for the wisdom of The Bear of Very Little Brain (indeed I'm the proud possessor of tiddlypom.com). But my all time favorite author was Paul Gallico, particularly The Man Who Was Magic and Flowers for Mrs Harris. I say was as I've reread many of his books in recent years and they just don't resonate in the same way now.


Posted Sep. 26, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jacquelynh

Join Date: 06/14/11

Posts: 34

RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, then LITTLE WOMEN held my interest and began my life long reading addiction when I was 8-9 years old. At 12 I picked up my first real challenge GONE WITH THE WIND and was hooked for a lifetime. Those books I hold dear to my heart. My all time favorite book is TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I have read then taught that book at least 15 times. It always holds my interest as it is timeless.

Recently, I have experienced 3 book discussions with groups on THE SENSE OF AN ENDING. Wow! What fascinating discussions those were! Each discussion brings different perspectives.

It seems I have always had a book in my hand or by my side. Now, after reading of this beautiful relationship and sharing, I have added to my to be read list which is a constantly evolving security blanket of mine. I even bought a used copy of DAILY STRENGTH FOR DAILY NEEDS and, like Schwalbe, found it still applicable to life even though I am a free thinker where religion is concerned. Also, like LReads posted above, there is always some sort of spiritual book by my side.


Posted Sep. 26, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

As a very young girl, I loved Nancy Drew and wanted a red sports car like hers. Throughout my life, books have been important. I enjoyed THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB because my mother and I shared books up to the very end of her life. Like you, Mr. Schwalbe, I still find myself - for a split second- thinking: I must call Mom and tell her... As for other books, Alice Sebold's THE LOVELY BONES was achingly sad, but as a secondary teacher I used it to talk to middle school girls about listening to their inner feelings: if something seemed creepy or odd, run the other way. I love TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and also loved teaching that book. Because I knew many students were skimming pages, there were some chapters that I read out loud. When I saw some tears in students' eyes or some commented, "This is sad" during the trial scenes, I felt like i may have turned them on to the joys of reading. I also loved "THE KITE RUNNER" and urged students to read it for extra credit. It led to some good discussions about loyalty and friendship. Also, I loved THE GLASS CASTLE.


Posted Sep. 26, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
gracew

Join Date: 06/13/11

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

I definitely was a Nancy Drew series fan. As a very young girl, Madeline was near the top of my favorite childhood books. I have always liked stories with strong female characters. I guess that's why I was so taken with Will's mom Mary Ann and her clear vision to help the women of Afghanistan through the establishment of a library.


Posted Oct. 01, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kateg

Join Date: 04/28/11

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is my all time favorite and I have reread it numerous times , especcially with my older son who has had it assigned twice in school. Luckily, he loves it as much as I do. I read THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB while we were on a vacation at the end of the summer and after finishing, I was a little bereft. In the car on the long ride home the whole family listened to Sissy Spacek reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD which we all loved and discussed. I think that was the take home message from your book: If you are a reader, share what you love and discuss with those you love.


Posted Oct. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

I want to add a P.S. to my previous entry. I recently read TO HEAVEN AND BACK. Picked it up while browsing in a book store, thinking of my mother (missing her), and was hoping maybe there'd be a comforting thought or two in this book. I found this book sad and inspirational at the same time and have told many people to read it.


Posted Oct. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
debracoley

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

I just love to read and have not met many books/ stories that I could not finish...your novel just won't let me go! Literally beside my bed and always a thought or two away in my mind. Thank you for sharing your private thoughts and heart felt story with us. The Caldecott and Newbery Award winners are most meaningful to me now as I have collected and shared them with grandchildren as a means of insuring that their futures will always include some of the most memorable and inspiring words ever published.


Posted Oct. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
rebec

Join Date: 07/25/12

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

This is such a difficult question! There have been so many important books in my life.

I have vivid memories from early childhood of sitting on my mother's lap and listening to "A Child's Garden of Verses" by Robert Louis Stevenson. I still love that book. Clearly, books facilitate a parent/child bond from a very early age.

I read "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame for the first time as a grad student. The pure delight I got in reading that book probably led to my study of children's literature.

"The Big Sky" by A.B. Guthrie, a novel that focuses on the early days of settling the American West, especially Montana, help to foster a life-longinterest in that part of the country.

I was extremely pleased to see the inclusion of "Olive Kitteridge" in "The End of Your Life...". That book prompted one of the best discussions my book group of 20 years has ever had.


Posted Oct. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dorothyt

Join Date: 04/10/11

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

I had to smile when I read how many posted here about reading Nancy Drew; I liked those books, too. However, my first love was the Laura Ingalls Wilder LITTLE HOUSE series, and I still enjoyed them as an adult when I read them aloud to my children. I also must join the chorus singing the praises of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. GILEAD by Marilynne Robinson and the follow-up HOME gave me much to think about regarding my spiritual life. I was also blessed to find DAILY STRENGTH FOR DAILY NEEDS free for my Kindle, and I have been reading it everyday since.

I know there are many more, but these came to mind immediately.

THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB made me think, what would I spend my time reading if the time I have left to read is limited?


Posted Oct. 04, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lizzy2299

Join Date: 10/04/12

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

Gargoyle...Redemption, love


Posted Oct. 06, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Lea Ann

Join Date: 04/20/11

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

I agree with those who say this is a tough question. But, it got me to thinking. Two that made a particular impression on me are THE EIGHT by Katherine Neville and THE SPARROW by Mary Doria Russell. Both books are "heavy," i.e. they actually force the reader to think, to closely follow the plot lines, and esp. with the Russell, book to not only think with the brain, but with the heart and soul as well. These are not, IMO, books to be rushed through in an afternoon or evening, but books to be read carefully, to be savored and then to be read again.


Posted Oct. 06, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Lea Ann

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

Many of you have mentioned books from your childhood, so, if I may, I'll chime in again. Yes, I too was born apparently clutching a book in my little hand as I don't recall ever not reading/being read to. But, my favorite book for children was/is A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. It's still a favorite source for remembered poems and to pass along to my now great-grandchildren. Thank goodness for parents, teachers, anyone who encourages children to read.


Posted Oct. 07, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sherrillb

Join Date: 02/16/12

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

I liked your book very much and have read some of the books you listed. I too escaped to the library at an early age as one of your readers said. I have always had a lot of books available for my children to read. When my daughter was 13 she had to have eye surgery . her favorite books were Nancy Drew. as she wasnt allowed to use her eyes for awhile I had to read every Nancy Drew book I had and had to buy more. oh well, it meade her happy and we were very close during this stime and always will be. Also my great granddaughter buys books through her school and she thinks of grandma always. I have a lot of books about dogs and cats. ( 3rd grade level.


Posted Oct. 07, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sherrillb

Join Date: 02/16/12

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

I forgot to mention I had to read the nancy drew books to her.


Posted Oct. 08, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marionc

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

My mother was a great reader and introduced the library to us at an early age. When we got to be school age, the trips were twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We had as many as ten books each and would return what we had read and add new ones. My memorable books are The Good Earth, Gone with the Wind, The Little Prince, The Secret Garden, Atlas Shrugged, and the list goes on. These books bring deep messages of the human condition and better ways to handle life. Being kind always brings better results. Marion C


Posted Oct. 14, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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kimberlyb

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

There are so many books that have touched me. And as you stated it wasn't as much as what i read as opposed to WHEN I read it.
I got married young and when the reality of such a drastic choice hit me, I struggled with severe guilt because daily I wanted to abandon ship! I no longer wanted to be a mother or a wife and while they are women praying to all kinds of gods to have those very roles, here I was ungrateful and depressed about my own domesticated role. During that time I read book called "Acting Out" by Benilde Little that helped eliminate my guilt and put things in perspective for me.


The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.
-Abraham Lincoln

Posted Oct. 14, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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kimberlyb

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

I like books that impact my life in a meaningful way, I always want to walk away having learned something or wanting to DO something for the better. Another profound read for me, where I felt like I had a kindred spirit via fictional character was "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert.


The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.
-Abraham Lincoln

Posted Oct. 14, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Dolena

Join Date: 06/13/11

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

The book that has meant the most to me was one I read as a child- Little Women. I lived and breathed that book. I felt I was part of that family of women, suffering on so many different levels. I think this book was so meaningful because I wanted to have a strong mother figure who would guide me through the difficulties of life and who would model how to live and treat others. The morality of this book was impressed on me, primarily through the example of the mother and Beth. To this day I can see inside the little house I imagined these four girls and their mother lived in and how it was for them to have to sew up old clothes to look presentable to those who had so much.


Posted Oct. 16, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
djn

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

FIVE SMOOTH STONES It was a book of my time...the news was full of desegregation,violence, and peace marches. This book went right to my core and has been a five star ever since..

I have had many books that are meaningful to me and have created great discussions in our family. I think it is amazing what you and your Mom had. I think that would be a marvelous way to end my life...Thank you


Posted Oct. 16, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
laurag

Join Date: 04/16/12

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

GONE WITH THE WIND was the first historical novel I ever read and fell in love with the genre. I think I read it about 3 times as a young woman.

THE NOTEBOOK was another favorite. Unfortunately, dementia is prevalent in my family and the everlasting love of the husband was inspirational.


Posted Oct. 17, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lmaslenikov@wildblue.net

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

I have read most of Wallace Stegner's books, and love his writing. Angle of Repose was my first to read, and it remains my favorite, partly because one of the locations in the book is an area in which my mother grew up, so I was able to identify with the story. All of his books are written beautifully.


Posted Oct. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sharalynnep

Join Date: 12/04/11

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

The first books I ever remember reading were The Boxcar Children and then Nancy Drew. I think this is when my love of reading began. Reading Sue Barton, the nurse series, was my first introduction to the career I would choose. Later, I read Gone With the Wind which is my favorite book of all time. I've read it so many times I can't count. I read alot but those books are a part of my history.


Posted Oct. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
paula

Join Date: 10/13/12

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

For the longest time, my favorite book was To Kill A Mockingbird. Then a few years ago, I read The Secret Life of Bees. I think TKAM is still my all time favorite. I saw the movie first and loved it then read the book and loved it, too. The thing that really stuck with me, I hope it changed me for the better, was the theme of empathy and never harming the Boo Radley's and Tom Robinson's that we encounter in our own lives.


Posted Oct. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Angela

Join Date: 10/20/12

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

I can honestly say that YOUR BOOK has meant a lot to me!! I read 2-3 books a week and do reviews for two different venues. I haven't had a book affect me quite the way this one has in a very long time. Your personal story very much mirrored my own experience with my grandmother and your writing reignited my emotions and love for her. Reading is a gift we can all share in and it's so important to remind ourselves it need never be a solitary hobby. Bravo, Mr Schwalbe!!


Posted Oct. 21, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Gin

Join Date: 10/21/12

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

A favorite book from my childhood is Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter. My family moved all over the US when I was growing up but my grandparents and great grandparents were pioneers in South Dakota. That book gave me such a sense of identity that I went on to read every one in our litttle mobile library that she wrote. Many years later, I read them to my children during an especially difficult winter. Their simplicity and and good will rang true all those years later.

As an adult, The Color Purple helped me to understand the deep power of love especially in the face of great trials and injustices. Two books I recently finished before your wonderful book continue to haunt me and cause me to rethink my assumptions. The are The Book Thief and Mornings in Jenin. Others have mentioned the difficulty of chosing which books meant the most, and I couldn't agree more. The amazing thing to me is that so often the perfect book finds its way to my hands at the perfect time. Your book helped me following the death of a special aunt. Love of family and books shine in every chapter.


Posted Oct. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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kimberlyb

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

Dolena,

Oh how you brought back memories!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Little Women. I have read that book at least 10 times!!! You brought back some fond memories!!!

My other childhood favorites were HARRIET THE SPY by by Louise Fitzhugh and The Little House on the Prairie series.


The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.
-Abraham Lincoln

Posted Oct. 25, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

I've read GWTW twice and one of these days I'd like to read it again. This summer I went to a signing of an author who wrote a bio of Margaret Mitchell and the process of publishing her novel. The little I've read is fascinating. It took her so long because she kept putting it away, thinking it had no merit. I need to get back to that book. Oh, to have the time to read all I'd like to!


Posted Nov. 14, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lynnw

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RE: Will Schwalbe asks which books have meant the most to you and why?

I have been giving the same answer to this question for so many years, "To Kill A Mockingbird". This is written so beautifully and the characters are so alive and the story is just as important, even today, that it just never gets old or irrelevant. Much like Will's mother I find that there are certain books that I have to read again every few years. This is also one of the few books that you can cheat and watch the movie. I fell in love with Gregory Peck and he will forever be Atticus.


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