I recently finished reading The End of Your Life Book Club. Will Schwalbe recounts the final years of his mother’s life; the chemotherapy treatments, the countless medical appointments and the many ‘lasts’ one experiences when confronting death are punctuated by the books they read. The books themselves span the gamut from humorous to spiritual, mystery to memoir, classic to contemporary.
On the last page of the book, the author sums up his mother’s feelings about the printed word: “She never wavered in her conviction that books are the most powerful tool in the human arsenal, that reading all kinds of books, in whatever format you choose – electronic (even though that wasn’t for her) or printed, or audio – is the grandest entertainment, and also is how you take part in the human conversation.”
While reading the book, I kept thinking, I’d love to converse with the author and his mother. I wanted to join in their discussions and debate. I wanted to share their love of words and books.
When I closed the cover one final time, I realized I was doing just that. Through the act of reading, I was part of their conversation. I was sharing with them their love of words and books.
Reading allows us to enter the human conversation which defies both time and distance. Reading reveals possibilities not otherwise considered, changes our thoughts, cultivates empathy and expands our experiences. Reading is one grand conversation.
As Will asked his mother, I now ask you, “What are you reading?”