Books for Living

  • by Will Schwalbe
  • Narrated by Jeff Harding
  • 7 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the author of the beloved New York Times best-selling The End of Your Life Book Club, an inspiring and magical exploration of the power of books to shape our lives in an era of constant connectivity.
Why is it that we read? Is it to pass time? To learn something new? To escape from 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 cookbooks), and each one relates to the questions and concerns we all share. Throughout, Schwalbe focuses on the way certain books can help us honor those we've loved and lost and 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?"


What the Critics Say

"In this warmly engaging, enlightening, and stirring memoir-in-books and literary celebration, Schwalbe reminds us that reading 'isn't just a strike against narrowness, mind control, and domination; it's one of the world's greatest joys.'" (Booklist)
"Schwalbe's tremendous experience with reading and his stellar taste make for a fine guide to the varied and idiosyncratic list of books for which he advocates. By the end of the book, all serious readers will have added some titles to their to-read lists." (Publishers Weekly)
"Schwalbe's 'manifesto for readers' is not about his favorite books but those that helped him when he had a need. Written in a chatty, conversational style, the book is thematically organized by a wide variety of needs: slowing down, searching, trusting, napping, praying, etc.... In an age when the number of readers is declining, a delightful book like this might just snare a few new recruits." (Kirkus Reviews)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Such a comforting book

This book is so comforting, like hot tea on a cold day, or a cozy blanket when you're cold. Mr. Schwalbe takes about many books in this book, and the life lessons he learned, and shares many personal stories. This book is very comforting if you are stressed. I also recommend his first book, The End of Your Life Bookclub.
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- tjh

Good, but the first one was better

Would you consider the audio edition of Books for Living to be better than the print version?

Wouldn't know. I didn't read the print version.

What other book might you compare Books for Living to and why?

The End of Your Life Book Club is his first book. This one is similar in tone and skill, but I listened to them back-the-back, which may not have been the best idea. The first book was much better.

Have you listened to any of Jeff Harding’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, he narrated Scwalbe's first book, too. He's a good reader.

If you could give Books for Living a new subtitle, what would it be?


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- Mollie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-27-2016
  • Publisher: Random House Audio