Over the last few years, there have been several spooky coincidences related to my reading life. The most recent occurred when midway through "The End of Your Life Book Club" (2012) author Will Schwalbe writes movingly of "The Painted Veil" by W. Somerset Maugham, one of the books he and his dying mother Maryanne shared during the last two years of her life. Maugham's was the last novel I finished and also the subject of the last post I wrote about a book just five days ago.
Not long after, Schwalbe mentions JR Moehringer's "The Tender Bar", the subject of my August 10 post called "Memoir Moratorium". That didn't seem particularly odd or coincidental until I realized Schwalbe's book could easily be categorized as a memoir. So I was reading a memoir that mentions both the last novel I read and the last memoir I read, both of which I'd blogged about. Never mind that I'd already abandoned my memoir moratorium; this is a book club book - doesn't count.
"Reading is not the opposite of doing, it's the opposite of dying." Don't you love that? And wild coincidences aside, Schwalbe and his mother selecting Muriel Barbery's "Elegance Of The Hedgehog" to read together ensured "The End of Your Life Book Club" will remain with me. "...Hedgehog" is among my favorite books of the last five years and also the subject of still another blog post of mine. It was nice getting to know Maryanne Schwalbe through the books she and I enjoyed.