Monday, March 6, 2017

Review: Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Pages: 288
Received: Purchased my own copy

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of the beloved New York Times 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.

Why is it that we read? Is it to pass time? To learn something new? To escape from 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 cookbooks), and each one relates to the questions and concerns we all share. Throughout, Schwalbe focuses on the way certain books can help us honor 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?”

My Review:

My love for Will Schwalbe happened very quickly after reading The End of Your Life Book Club. As soon as I found out he had another book coming, I knew that this book needed to be on my shelf. Will's writing has a very special place in my heart and on my bookshelf because of how he is able to equate each book with a special time in his life. Books for the Living truly takes that and runs with it.

Each chapter is based off one specific book and as Will writes about this book, he talks about how the book has shaped his life or how he is able to equate a certain situation to situations in the story itself. Will Schwalbe's books are truly written for lovers of books like himself. I found many times while reading this book that after finishing a chapter I would need to put the book down and think about what Will spoke about and the things he felt while reading these books. Will truly makes you think, and he makes you want to read these books to see what you get, but even more than that, Will makes you think about what books you have read and which ones have touched your life in the way these books have touched his.

Reading this book reminds me of why I love books so much, sometimes I love books because they take me on a journey and yet I also love books that truly make me think and that change the way I may look at life after finishing it. This book truly makes me think of the conversations I have with people, one of the great things for me is that at my work I get to have a lot of conversations with people and many times while these people are walking around I get to have a lot of conversations with them about what they are reading. And I have learned that by talking about the books we are reading we get to know each other that much more, just like Will discusses in this book.

Honestly there are just so many great pages and quotes throughout the book, if I was one of those people who hi-lighted my books, I believe that there would not be a part of this book that would be left bare. That is the type of book that Will writes, every word absolutely touches you and leaves you thinking about what you just last read. I truly hope that Will continues to write about the books that he has read and what they mean to him. He is absolutely an author for those that truly love books and want to read about books.

I will end this review with the quote that stuck out to me the most, and it is how Will ends his book "When I read, I'm reminded to be more thoughtful about how I approach each day. And that's not just important for living: it's the least I can do for the dead. I read to live. I read for life." Those last few words truly hit home for me.

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