I really need to start keeping a pad of paper next to me when I read. It seems that whenever I finish a book there is always something I want to go back to, some quote or reference or thought, but it can be hard to find or the book is due back at the library or I am already on to the next book, and the thought is lost. Why don’t I just keep a notebook and a pen nearby when I read? I’m not sure. I think it feels too much like work, like reading a book for some college course where I will need to be ready to answer questions later. Taking notes in the middle of reading seems to somehow distract from the total absorption that I have come to know and love and associate with books. And then there’s the extra paraphernalia required, the notebook, the pen, a place to set them down, the awkwardness of reaching for them and balancing them on my lap while not losing my place. I know, I know, taking notes while reading is much easier to do with e-books. But while I gratefully own a Nook Tablet, and use it extensively whenever I travel, all of my reasons for preferring the real thing are a subject for another day and another rant…
The End of Your Life Book Club is due back at the library, tomorrow, but I am going to have to take the time today to skim back through it and capture a few things. Mostly, all of the titles of the wonderful books that I want to add to my “to read” list (which is already impossibly long, not to mention my “to re-read list!). The book tells the true story of the author and his mother and the relationship that they share through books. His mother, Mary Anne, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and for the time they have remaining, they share books, their thoughts on books, and how they relate to life in the midst of chemotherapy appointments and hospice care. Their conversations cover a wide-range of topics, both global and intensely personal, giving them the opportunity to know and understand one another more fully.
The ending is no surprise, and leaves you wishing you had been given the opportunity to know this amazing woman. She believed that “books are the most powerful tool in the human arsenal, that reading all kinds of books… is the grandest entertainment, and is also how you take part in the human conversation… books really do matter: they’re how we know what we need to do in life, and how we tell others… that books can be how we get closer to each other, and stay close, even in the case of a mother and son who were very close to each other to begin with, and even after one of them has died”. I could not agree more.
I cannot count the number of times I have reached for the phone to call Dottie, my dear friend and mother-in-law, about tell her about something, anything, a book, a day at the library, something the kids have done, only to remember that she is gone. And like the author, many times I tell her anyway…
Now back to the book to add to my “to read” list!
Title: The End of Your Life Book Club
Author: Will Schwalbe
Publication: Knopf, October 2012