Title: Books for Living
Author: Will Schwalbe
Date Read: April 7, 2017
Will Schwalbe reached success when he talked about how he and his mother connected over books they read together as she suffered through pancreatic cancer in The End of Your Life Book Club. It was a delightful read, one that showed just how books can bond people and enhance situations even through earth shattering diseases. In his newest book that he’s called Books for Living, Schwalbe shares books that he’s read over the years that have spoken to him about different aspects of life and the people that he remembers when he thinks of these books. It’s an ode to how books can change our lives and how they can influence the way we think and feel.
I really wanted to feel strongly about this book because I think Schwalbe is a genuine person and has the gift of bringing people to the books that he loves, but I just didn’t feel it with this book. I felt like the book was haphazard, a collection of books he has come across over the years. There’s no easy flow of between the chapters, as if they were just thrown together without any kind of thought.
He always comes back to one book that he discusses in the first chapter and rarely dwells on the ones that the succeeding chapters are supposed to be about. I wanted to know more about the book and why it was important to him personally rather than pleading to society in general.
I get to choose whether remember him makes me sad or happy, whether I remember his death or his life. I try to choose happy. I try to choose life.
The parts that I did enjoy were the ones about the people he met over the years and died, and there were quite a few of them in Books for Living. There were a couple who died by accident while most died of illnesses of various degrees. Each one makes him ponder about living and how precious life can be.
My overall impression of this book is one that appeals to certain morals that people should make and giving certain books as examples. It’s one of those books that can be picked up in any chapter and you won’t have to miss anything from the rest of the book as he doesn’t have any kind of chronological sense to it. I’m thankful that I didn’t spend any money for this book, lest I be severely disappointed.