What are You Reading?
“Books are uniquely suited to helping us change our relationship to the rhythms and habits of daily life in this world of connectivity”.
During the time his mother was dying, Will Schwalbe read books with her. Each book they read together led into another book and then another and so on. These books guided their conversations, influencing him while learning life lessons from his mom before she died. From this experience, he wrote The End of Your Life Book Club.
I never read The End of Your Life Book Club, but I did read his latest book, Books for Living. Right from the start, you can feel his love for books, but more importantly what they represent. Books provide us with a way to share, converse, learn, grow, and change. He encourages us to ask each other “What are you reading?”
“When we ask each other ‘What are you reading?’ sometimes we discover things we never knew we shared: other times we open ourselves up to exploring new worlds and ideas. ‘What are you reading?’ isn’t a simple question when asked with genuine curiosity; it’s really a way of asking ‘Who are you now and who are you becoming?”
Will Schwalbe gives us a great example of how important that question can be. The story is about a grandmother and her grandson. They were separated by distance and also by generations. Noticing how her grandson didn’t have much to say during their phone calls, the grandmother asked him what he was reading. She then bought the book, read it, and as a result, was able to engage him in a conversation not only about the book, but about other important life issues.
What first drew me to this book was the style in which he wrote it. Infusing different books into his personal experiences and life challenges was a clever way to write a book. Each chapter is a new story, and at times introducing a new book or two. And the books range from classics such as David Copperfield, to children’s literature such as The Little Prince, cookbooks, and everything in between.
What draws me to the book now is the message of the power of books and what they can do for us. Think of some famous authors, both old and new, and what effect they had on you. They captivate us, they influence and inspire us, and can even stir up our creativity.
When I read a book, I just read for pleasure. Some books were more memorable than others, but I didn’t really think much more about them after I read them. Now as I read a book, I think more about how is this book is changing me? What of the experiences or the emotions in the book can I relate to in my own life? Thanks to Will Schwalbe, I will forever read books with a different view.
So tell me “What are you reading?