The only way to better a reading experience is to share it with someone like-minded. Book clubs help you do just that. Here are some interesting questions to discuss at your next book club outing.
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
~ Dr. Seuss
Being part of a book club is an enjoyable experience, appreciated only by those who share a heartfelt passion for the written word. Not only does it bring together different minds and their perspectives, it also ends up refreshing your reading experience.
Discussions at a book club are, more often than not, spontaneous and lengthy. There are times when a certain aspect may be dissected for an extraordinary amount of time, leaving many other issues unaddressed.
To avoid this from occurring, it is recommended to have a list of questions drafted, so that each aspect of the book can be covered. Additionally, timing the responses will ensure that the discussions do not veer away into nothingness.
We’ve brought you a list of questions that will prove helpful the next time you’re at a book club meeting.
Questions to be Discussed at Book Club Meetings
Most readers strive to discuss as many varieties of books during club meetings. Besides the fiction genre, which is widely read, readers also like to have lengthy discussions on travelogues, self-help books, cook books, historical and political accounts, creativity books, etc. The list of questions that follow may be more suited to the fiction genre, but these questions can be modified to suit the non-fiction genre as well.
Questions about the overall perspective
✦ Did the book live up to your expectations? Why or why not?
✦ Comment on the writing style used in the book.
✦ Did you find the style of writing too erudite?
✦ How does this book compare to others in the same genre, or others by the same author?
✦ What makes this particular book stand out in comparison to others on the same subject?
✦ What is the one aspect that stood out about this book?
✦ Does this book succeed in leaving an impression on your mind?
✦ Did you find the book worthy enough to recommend it to someone else?
✦ What have you gained from reading this book?
✦ What is the significance of the title? How did you interpret it?
Questions about the plot
✦ Present your opinion about the plot. Would you describe it as unputdownable?
✦ How was the plot structured? Was it streamlined, or were there several short stories connecting the central plot?
✦ Did the author strike a balance between the plot and the characters?
✦ Were the twists in the plot intriguing enough?
✦ Did the book include creative structural devices like flashbacks or multiple narratives? If yes, how effective were they? Did these interfere with your reading experience?
✦ Was the plot clearly presented, or did it require a certain amount of interpretation on the reader’s part?
✦ Did the plot, at any time, take you completely by surprise?
✦ Did you find any aspect in the plot to be preposterous?
✦ Is there any aspect/viewpoint/development that you thought was unnecessary?
✦ Did the plot confuse you at any point? Is there any part where the author seemed to have veered away from the main narrative?
Questions about the characters
✦ Does the author manage to breathe life into the characters with his/her writing?
✦ Indulge in a brief discussion about the leading characters. Pick the one that stood out according to you, and describe the reasons behind it.
✦ Through the course of the book, did the characters develop to your liking, or did this aspect leave you unsatisfied?
✦ Were you able to identify with any of the characters; their motives or mindset?
✦ Did the actions of the characters establish a connection by being plausible?
✦ Did any of the characters outrage you in any manner?
✦ Did any character inspire you enough to emulate him/her?
✦ Does any character take a moral stance in the book? If yes, did you identify with it?
✦ Did you get the impression of the author being biased towards a character for no apparent reason?
✦ Will any of the characters stay with you in the times to come?
Questions about the conclusion
✦ What kind of emotions did the ending elicit?
✦ Did the conclusion leave you wanting for more, or was it to your liking?
✦ Did the author manage to do justice to the entire plot and the characters?
✦ Were you successful in predicting the conclusion?
✦ Given an opportunity, how would you have concluded the book?
Questions for Discussing Non-fiction Books
Non-fiction is a vast genre that includes autobiographies and biographies, memoirs, travelogues, self-help books, research publications, essays or journals, etc. Questions pertaining to each of these will vary according to the theme of the book being discussed. The compilation of questions that follow have been generalized, in order to be used to cover a few topics in the non-fiction category.
✦ Did the writing in the autobiography come across as open and honest, or did the writer seem guarded about certain aspects (especially about the ones that were controversial)?
✦ Did the biography seem like a PR exercise made by the personality?
✦ With reference to political essays, did the style of writing take the reader’s attention away from the issues mentioned in the book?
✦ While writing about current affairs, it is not easy to come up with an account that is completely free from bias. Did you get a feeling that the account of certain events, places, or people has been unduly sensationalized?
✦ Does the book make fervent attempts to rake up a controversy?
✦ Having read this historical account, are there any lessons which could be learned? If yes, what are they?
✦ Are the tips/suggestions mentioned in self-help books practical enough to be applicable in our regular life?
✦ Are the instructions in the creativity book easy to execute even by a novice?
✦ Does the travelogue paint a realistic picture of the culture and tradition of the region?
There is no doubt about the fact that book clubs are seriously enjoyable. Reading a stimulating book offers a joy that is second to none.