Missouri River Regional Library is gearing up for an appearance by the 2017 Capital READ author Will Schwalbe, who wrote "The End of Your Life Book Club."
Schwalbe will come to the Capital City on Sept. 28 to share his love of literature.
"Ever since I was a small child, one of the greatest bonds I had with my mother was books," Schwalbe said. "The biggest lesson that I want to get across at Capital READ is that we don't have to wait until someone's life is clearly reaching its end to form this kind of bond."
MRRL announced Schwalbe's memoir in June as the Capital READ title for patrons in the adult summer book club. The local library has hosted Capital READ since 2006.
To prepare for the author's appearance, MRRL Director Claudia Schoonover said the month of September has been filled with programs focusing on the impact books can have on people's lives.
The library has hosted opportunities for patrons to video blog for five minutes or less about a book they love, craft their own book sculpture and meet with Mid-Missouri book groups to discuss the history of their clubs and offer advice to people interested in starting their own clubs.
MRRL will show "Healthcare at the Tipping Point," a documentary making a case for health care reform, Tuesday. Schoonover describes this part of the series as one that captures the essence of the issues faced by Schwalbe's mother, who advocated for health care reform despite having access to quality health care.
Schwalbe's book takes readers on a journey with him and his family as his mother gracefully battles pancreatic cancer.
"My mother used the word 'lucky' more than anybody I've ever known," Schwalbe said. "Even after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, this still didn't change her view of being a lucky individual."
Throughout the memoir, the author discusses the multitude of books he and his mother read over the course of two years. No matter what book they had assigned one another to read, they always had insightful discussions about their impressions of the book.
Schwalbe said he wrote "The End of Your Life Book Club" because he wanted to continue to carry on the conversations he and his mother had even after death.
"I wanted the opposite of closure," he said.
At times, those discussions would lead to hard conversations about death, faith, religion or even cultural boundaries, but Schwalbe attributes those conversations to growth.
For example, the author used "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson to illustrate how one can't read a book like this without discussing faith — a topic that may seem too personal to discuss in regular conversations, he said, would naturally come up.
Despite the challenges of battling pancreatic cancer, for Schwalbe's mother, reading was the opposite of dying.
"If you're reading, you're learning and growing," he said.
He said the audience should come prepared to share what books they've been reading and what book has been meaningful in their lives, because the greatest question you can ask is "What are you reading?"
"With this particular book and our programs leading up to the event, I'm excited about literature bringing people together to talk about various aspects of our lives," Schoonover said.