Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The End of Your Life Book Club

Title: The End of Your Life Book Club

Author: Will Schwalbe [Website][Facebook][Twitter]

Publisher: Knopf

ISBN: 9780307961112

Length: 326 pages

Obtained: Library book club kit copy AND library Kindle ebook version

Why this book?:

I already had the ARC and planned to read this someday.  But then it was a book club selection, so I actually started it for that.  I also checked it out on ebook and have been slowly (very) been working my way on with it since then.


My feelings for the book are very mixed.  I was sure I would love it, but it wasn't what I expected at all.  I highlighted tons of lines and sections to note but I don't know that I can intelligibly speak about all of them, especially without this post becoming a book of it's own. But here are some quotes that caught my attention (All quotes were taken from the ebook version):

I found this line interesting and was a little amused at the imagery.
I often seek electronic books, but they never come after me.  They may make me feel, but I can't feel them.  They are all soul with no flesh, no texture, and no weight.  They can get in your head but can't whack you upside it. 
This would never have happened in my house, or I would never have had any chores.
There was one sure way to avoid being assigned an impromptu chore in our house - be it taking out the trash or cleaning your room - and that was to have your face buried in a book. 
I would totally have agreed with this quote... before I read this book.
Also, how could anyone who loves books not love a book that is itself so in love with books?
So now we move on to some of the quotes that bothered me.   If she was only referring to truly absurd books it might be okay.  But no, based on the tastes shown throughout the book not to mention the context of the quote, I couldn't help but suspect she would apply this to the majority of the books I read...those "genre" books.
I think it's much harder for me now to read very silly things when there are so many wonderful things to read and reread.  And if the book is too silly, I find that it's often because the writer doesn't really have anything to say - or because there are no values.  Or because the whole book is just a lead-up to a trick at the end.  If you read the ends first, you have much less patience for wasting time with that kind of book.  Even a well-written book can be silly and a waste of time.
But wait! There is more!
I'm talking about those novels where the characters aren't really interesting and you don't care about them or anything they care about.  It's those I won't read anymore.  There's too much else to read - books about people and things that matter, books about life and death.
Why I should be reading the books that make me feel sick to my stomach and give me no enjoyment...
"So you don't mind if we read depressing books?" I asked.
"No- not at all.  It's cruelty that gets to me.  Still, it is important to read about cruelty."
"Why is it important?"
"Because when you read about it, it's easier to recognize.  That was always the hardest thing in the refugee camps - to hear stories of the people who had been raped or mutilated or forced to watch a parent or a sister or a child be raped or killed.  It's very hard to come face-to-face with such cruelty.  But the people can be cruel in lots of ways, some very subtle.   I think that's why we all need to read about it. [...]"
Anyway, there were many more, but it all amounts to...

I read the book.  But in trying to show how wonderful his mother was, he put her on a pedestal.  She became this high and mighty figure, so much better than the average Joe (or Jo as the case may be), that I felt much in the way of resentment rather than inspiration.  And the same happened with the book/reading aspect.

I wanted so badly to love this book.  It just didn't happen.  That's me personally.  For you, well, it could be (or might already have been) a different story.

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