The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

Image“We’re all in the end-of-our-life book club, whether we acknowledge it or not; each book we read may well be the last, each conversation the final one.” 

Mary Anne, an avid reader and humanitarian, receives a death sentence of pancreatic cancer.  To cope, Will, her son, and Mary Anne begin a “book club” that changes their lives forever.  Deep and personal conversations about the eclectic books they chose helps mother and son rediscover their relationship through their love of reading. 

 If this story has a theme, it would be that reading creates a bond between people, allowing us to know one another on a more passionate and intimate level.  “When you encounter another person, when you have dealings with anyone at all, it is as if a question is being put to you.  So you must think, What is the Lord asking of me in this moment, in this situation?” (Gilead by Marilynne Robinson).  Schwalbe’s  heartfelt true story of his experience with his mother is raw, honest, and inspirational.  It is a story that you won’t forget.  

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

A haunting story of cultural arrogance and ignorance, guilt, and absolute and unambiguous justice told through the matriarch of a family and her four daughters. Over 30 years these women lived in a small African village buried deep in the Congolese jungle. “Everything you’re sure is right can be wrong in another place. Especially here,” said Leah in Barbara Kingsolver’s epic novel, The Poisonwood Bible.

The Price family moved to the village of Kilanga to be missionaries. In this remote village, Nathan, the patriarch, tries to impose his western ways of life on the natives. The women become the victims of his conquest when he is rejected by the culture. Kingsolver does an exquisite job blending these five voices into a family saga of pain, suffering, and liberation as she brings these characters to life on each unfolding page. Kingsolver’s style is eloquent and vivid, as she not only describes the characters and their emotional conundrums, but the picturesque backdrop of the Congolese jungle with all the flavors and aromas along with its native people.