Books for Living by Will Schwalbe – Book Review
Books for Living by Will Schwalbe – Book Review
Publisher – Two Roads
Pages – 288
Release Date – 12th January 2017
ISBN-13 – 978-1444790771
Format – ebook, paperback, hardcover
Reviewer – Stacey
I received a free copy of this book
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‘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’ Will Schwalbe.
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?”
Will Schwalbe, author of ‘The End of Your Life Book Club’ has shared with us details of more than twenty books that changed how he perceived the world and his life, in his new book, ‘Books for Living’.
In these 20+ books that have made the cut, you will find old classics, new books, and some books that you wouldn’t of thought would of made the cut, ‘Stuart Little’ springs to mind.
Each chapter/book tells you about what that particular book taught the author, from finding friends through the story of ‘The Little Prince’, to feeling sensitive via ‘Bird by Bird’.
The book is totally fascinating, and I can honestly say that I have never really looked at the way books can affect you beyond giving you that escapism, or that heart pounding moment, and even those times that you feel the need to sleep at night with the lights on after reading a particularly scary story.
I was intrigued by what Will had to share, and the way that he looks at books in the same manner in which people look at the real world. Unfortunately, I hadn’t read any of the books on Will’s list, so I couldn’t look back and see if, subconsciously, the same book had made me feel the same way.
If you are a book lover then I would thoroughly recommend you read Books for Living. It will open your eyes and make you understand that a book can give you so much more than just a wonderful plot with believable, interesting characters, it can change the way you look at the world, and quite possibly yourself.
Book Reviewed by Stacey
I’ve put a lot about myself in my books, but here are some of the basics. I was born in New York in 1962; grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts; went to boarding school in New Hampshire, and to college in New Haven, Connecticut. So I consider myself a New Englander, even though I’m not one by birth.
I’ve worked as a journalist, in the television business, and even (briefly, in college) as a substitute teacher. But I’ve spent most of my life in publishing: at William Morrow, and then at Hyperion, where I was Editor in Chief. In January 2008, I left Hyperion to found a startup called Cookstr.com and ran that for six years. It’s now part of Macmillan Publishers, where I’ve worked since 2014.
Books have been the constant in my life. From those my mother read me when I was too young to read, to those father read us when we could read but still liked to be read to. From books I read under the covers, long after I was supposed to be asleep—including every single thriller by the magnificent Alistair Maclean—to books that I found in my teens that helped me imagine all different kinds of lives, and see the world through others’ eyes.
I’ve written three books. The first — SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do it Better – was written with my friend David Shipley. The second, THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB, is about the books I read with my mother when she was dying. And the third is BOOKS FOR LIVING, about the role books can play in our lives and how they can show us how to live each day more fully and with more meaning.
I live in New York City with my husband. We’ve been together since way back when I first moved to Hong Kong in 1984. We have one African violet, that’s a bit lopsided; books everywhere; and are obsessed with our neighbor’s adorable dog, Oliver, a Havanese. We also have five godchildren, one niece, and four nephews.
I love meeting fellow readers and hearing from readers about all different kinds of book. I answer everyone, though sometimes it can take me a bit of time. My favorite question to ask or be asked is a simple one: “What are you reading?”