‘A heart-warming and heart-wrenching love letter; honest about illness and death, inspiring in the comfort and the lessons they took from books they read.’

The Times


A book for every book lover – to remind us of the joy, comfort and companionship of books…


When New York publisher Will Schwalbe’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, he went with her to her treatments. To while away the time in the hospital they distracted themselves with talk of the books they’d read and shared and recommended and, in Will’s case, sometimes pretended to read.

But while you might pretend to a bookseller you’ve read a book you don’t pretend to your mother who is dying of cancer.  So they read and re-read and explored that particular bond of books they’d always shared.  Thus was born a very special book club with just two members: a mother and a son. The ones they choose range from classic to popular, from fantastic to spiritual, and we hear their passion for reading and their love for each other in their intimate and searching discussions.



‘I was so moved by this marvellous book. Schwalbe has done something extraordinary: made a personal journey public in the most engaging, funny and revealing way possible. It is a true meditation on what books can do.’ 

Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare with Amber Eyes


Will Schwalbe & Jamie Oliver at the launch of The End of Your Life Book Club in London, October 2012.


Read the first chapter here

Read the New York Times article “Reading Together – Knowing the Ending” written by Will for Mother’s Day


Will discussing The End of Your Life Book Club at a special Two Roads book club meeting


…and a lovely video from our colleagues in Australia



Here are the books that Will and his mother read and shared and loved, which we’ve been  reading  as part of our Two Roads book club:

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe – A Book Club Companion by Two Roads Books


Mary Anne Schwalbe was the Founding Director of the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, which is affiliated with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and founder of the IRC/UK.
 As part of her work with refugees she travelled to 27 countries, often during wartime. She spoke at conferences all over the world and received several major humanitarian honours.

She attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 1955 and worked in the theatre for ten years.  She and her husband spent much of their time in the UK from 1976 to 2007.

Mary Anne died in September 2009.

Will Schwalbe, The End of Your Life Book Club

Photo of Will Schwalbe courtesy of Michael Lionstar

Will Schwalbe is the founder and CEO of Cookstr, a recipe site that features great chefs and authors.  He is the former senior vice president, editor in chief of Hyperion.

Prior to that he was the senior vice president and editor in chief of William Morrow.  Bestselling authors Will has worked with include Mitch Albom, Linda Greenlaw, and David Halberstam.  He is the co-author of Send a book on email etiquette.


8 responses to “THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB – Will Schwalbe”

  1. […] End of Your Life Book Club will be published in October in the US by Knopf, in the UK by Two Roads/Hodder, and in translation in eight languages around the world. This entry was posted in News by jon. […]

    • Irene Rose says:

      One of the best books I have read.I am of a similar age as the late Mary Anne Schwalbe and shared so many of her favourite books including Gone with the Wind and Marjory Morningstar when I was a teenager. I disagree about the “Elegance of the Hedgehog” which I thought was silly and pretentious> Loved “Crossing to Safety”

  2. […] – “The End of Your Life Book Club” Amazing book. Yes, it’s about a sad situation but it is not in the least bit morose or tragic. One of the best books I have read all year. […]

  3. LINDA MAKRIS says:

    Your mother was lucky and (I know wherever she is) must be very proud to have such a son. I live in Athens Greece and my own mother – who was an avid reader – died suddenly and due to advanced pregnancy I could not travel to the US to her funeral. So you also were lucky to have that time with her, painful as it was. This is a wonderful book, one that I will definitely tell everyone I know put on their list of must-read books.

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