Spark Some Debate in your Book Club

Mar 27 2010

"Book Addiction" by Emiline220 on Flickr

My friend Nick graciously invited me to a short-lived book club: two sessions, this coming week, discussing Craig Thompson’s graphic novel Blankets. Brilliant idea: debate one book, and we’re done. We can convene again if it goes well. Minimal pressure.

I decided I wanted some ammunition besides my memories and my hand-written notes, so I just went online to find some awesome, inspiring, deep book club questions.

I couldn’t find any.

Plenty of advice on how to start a book club, the sorts of finger foods to serve, and a few generic questions (“What did you like about the book?”).

So, I hereby propose a few questions to get people thinking about and debating a book:

  • When you think about the book, what’s the first thing that you remember?
  • What are the turning points in the story?
  • What stood out?
  • What made you uncomfortable?
  • Which was the most memorable character?
  • What do you disagree with?
  • If someone asked you why they should read this book, what would you say?
  • What was weird?  Was the weirdness effective?  That is, did it add something?
  • If you had written this, what would you have done differently?

What would you add to the list?

4 responses so far

  1. I think this list of questions assumes that the group understands what the book is saying and what images, motifs, etc it uses to accomplish that with. I'd add questions mostly pertaining to those things rather than assuming the understanding of the group.

  2. If they don't understand what the book is saying or its images, motifs, etc., then I'm not going to stay in that book club for long.

  3. What is the author trying to convey in writing this book? (Does the authors own philosophy show through too strongly?)

    Is there a moral or lesson? (Should a book ever have a lesson?)

    What assumptions does the book make, both on a cultural and interpersonal basis?

    How did you feel about the protagonist? The antagonist? Did you agree with their reasons or choices for the actions they took? Why or why not?

  4. Interesting questions; I particularly like “Should a book ever have a lesson?”

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