From the author of the best-selling The End of Your Life Book Club, an inspiring and magical exploration of the power of books to shape our lives in an era of constant connectivity.
‘I’m on a search and have been all my life: to find books to help me make sense of the world, to help me become a better person, to help me get my head around the big questions that I have, and figure out the answers to some of the small ones while I’m at it’
‘Inspiring and charming’ New York Times
‘Books for Living is a gift, and one that keeps giving’ USA Today
‘It should convince even reluctant readers to pick up a book’ Boston Globe
Why is it that we read? Is it to pass time? To learn something new? To escape into another reality?
For Will Schwalbe, reading is a way to entertain himself but also to make sense of the world, to become a better person, and to find the answers to the big (and small) questions about how to live his life. In this delightful celebration of reading, Schwalbe invites us along on his quest for books that speak to the specific challenges of living in our modern world, with all its noise and distractions.
In each chapter, he discusses a particular book-what brought him to it (or vice versa), the people in his life he associates with it, and how it became a part of his understanding of himself in the world. These books span centuries and genres (from classic works of adult and children’s literature to contemporary thrillers and even a cookbook), and each one relates to the questions and concerns we all share. Throughout, Schwalbe focuses on the way certain books can help us honour those we’ve loved and lost, and also figure out how to live each day more fully.
Rich with stories and recommendations, Books for Living is a treasure for everyone who loves books and loves to hear the answer to the question: “What are you reading?”
Books covered include:
The Importance of Living
Bird by Bird
The Girl On The Train
‘In Books for Living the brilliant Will Schwalbe takes us on a personal journey through a life of reading. But like any great journey, it is far more than an accumulation of miles, or words. Books for Living is a map, a chart, to the places deep inside ourselves where books can take us. It’s about how stories, how characters, inspire us, guide us, reveal us. This is a beautiful, powerful, warm, funny, awe-inspiring odyssey’
‘There are many folks we love, but the first are in books we took to bed when we were sneaking our flashlights under our blankets to enjoy the last few words. Books for Living encourages us to pull those quilts up to warm us and to teach us to express our hopes and dreams’
‘Will Schwalbe’s Books for Living is a scintillating look at the places books take us. A profound, engaging exploration of the uses to which we put the books of our lives’
Thomas C. Foster, author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor
‘Why do we read and what is to be found there? Reading itself is Will Schwalbe’s great topic, and there is no one better to bring alive the nourishing, challenging intimacy of entering the worlds that books offer us. Along the road we get an accidental memoir with the storied Schwalbe a quietly compelling hero at the centre’
Elizabeth Alexander, author of The Light of the World
‘Books for Living by Will Schwalbe lives wonderfully up to its title. He reminds me of a diviner who walks the open fields, taps, and reveals something rarely talked about, or perhaps never noticed, in one story or another, but is important. I can’t imagine a person who loves books not being grateful. Any season of the year, this book is a gift’
‘In this warmly engaging, enlightening, and stirring memoir-in-books and literary celebration, Schwalbe reminds us that reading “isn’t just a strike against narrowness, mind control, and domination; it’s one of the world’s greatest joys”’
Booklist starred review
‘Schwalbe’s tremendous experience with reading and his stellar taste make for a fine guide to the varied and idiosyncratic list of books for which he advocates’
Publishers Weekly starred review
‘Schwalbe’s “manifesto for readers” is not about his favourite books but those that helped him when he had a need. In an age when the number of readers is declining, a delightful book like this might just snare a few new recruits’
Will Schwalbe has worked in publishing for many years.
He is the author of the international bestseller, The End of Your Life Book Club and co-author (with David Shipley) of Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better.
He has also worked in digital media, and was the founder of Cookstr.com. As a journalist he wrote for the New York Times and the South China Morning Post.
He lives in New York City.
Find out more about Will’s internationally bestselling book THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB here.