Last week I wrote a post 10 Tips to Start Your Own Book Club and one of the tips, tip 10, is all about adding structure to your book club. What I mean by adding structure is simple… just ask some questions to get the group talking about the book. It can be very easy to get distracted when you get a group of people together. Everyone starts talking about all the things going on in their lives that have happened since the last time you got together. Bringing everyone back on topic can be a struggle and the conversation about the book only goes for 5 minutes because of the side conversations and the lack of direction for the book discussion. If that is the kind of book club you want, great… You do you. But if that isn’t the kind of book club you want, and instead you want to have a slightly deeper conversation about the story structure, the character development, and all the things I highly recommend having questions as part of your book club.
Last week I shared that my girlfriends used to make fun of me for bringing a list of typed questions. But honestly, now the girls look forward to the question and answer portion of the book club. The discussions have led us down different paths of right and wrong, good vs. evil, love, and heartbreak, we have had some deep and some shallow conversations but they’ve all stemmed from the discussion questions. A big reason why I started bringing questions and why we continue to bring questions is pretty simple. We have different personalities in our book club, some are more introverted than others. But going around the table and asking open-ended questions about the book gives everyone a chance to chime in with their personal opinions.
I am going to put the list of questions here on this post because I know how hard it can be to find book club questions. I have googled “book club questions for __________________”(fill in the blank with whatever book you just read.) and come up with literally NOTHING! If the book the group read wasn’t on the New York Times Best Sellers list it can be really hard to find questions to ask. This list of questions has all kinds of questions designed to get people talking. Keep in mind that some of these questions might be better than others depending on what type of book you read (fiction, nonfiction, etc.) I recommend just picking and choosing the discussion questions that work best for you and your book club to get the conversation going.
Oh, one more tip. Now that everyone is so busy we ask the book picker (host) to bring the list of questions. So feel free to share the link to this post with your book club and let them pick and choose the questions they want to ask at your next meeting. We use our phones, but you could easily print them out too.
Book Club Questions – General
What was your initial reaction to the book? Did it hook you immediately, or did it take some time for you to get into it?
What did you like best about the book?
What did you like the least about the book?
Do you think the story was plot based or character driven?
What characters in the book did you like the best? Why?
Which characters did you like the least? Why?
How did the characters change throughout the book? Did your opinion of them change? Why or why not?
What made the setting unique or important? Could this story have taken place anywhere?
What did you think of the length of the book? If it was too long, what would you cut? If it was too short, what would you add?
What do you think the author’s purpose was in writing this book? What ideas were they trying to get across? (Theme)
What do you think of the title of this book? How does it relate to what the book is about? What other titles might you have picked?
What do you think of the cover of the book? Does it convey what the book is about? If the book was published with different covers, which one do you like best?
Have you read any other books by this author? How do they compare to this book?
Would you read another book by this author? Why or why not?
If you could ask the author one question about this book, what would it be?
Were there any strong feelings this book evoked in you? What were they and why?
How original and/or unique is this book?
What other books did this remind you of?
If this book was going to be made into a movie, who should the cast be?
If you could hear the same story from another person’s perspective, whom would you choose?
How credible/believable did you think the narrator was? Do you feel like you got the “true” story?
How did the structure of the book affect the story?
What did you think of the ending? What did you like, what did you not like, and what do wish had been different?
Book Club Questions – Fiction
Did the characters seem believable to you? Did they remind you of anyone?
Did this book seem realistic?
How well did the author build the world in this book?
Was the pace of this book too fast, too slow, or just right?
Book Club Questions – Non-Fiction
Before you read this book, what was your previous knowledge about the subject matter of this book?
What new things did you learn from this book?
What questions do you still have about this subject?
Have you read anything else about this topic? Would you recommend any of them to others?
What do you think about the author’s research? Do the sources seem credible? Was it easy to see where the author got his/her information?
Book Club Questions – Memoir
How honest do you think the author was being?
Were their gaps you wished the author had filled in? Were there points where you felt they shared too much?
What aspects of the author’s story could you relate to most? Why?
Think about the other people in this book. How would you feel being depicted this way?
Why do you think the author chose to tell this story?
Book Club Questions – Short Stories/Essays
What short story/essay did you like the best? Why?
Which short story/essay did you like the least? Why?
Were their similarities to the stories? If so, what were they? How did they tie together?
This list of questions is a great place to start any good book club discussion. You can still google some questions if you want, and sometimes I do because I want to see if there are more in-depth questions geared specifically to that book. But this is a great resource to get those conversations started. Is there a question you love to ask about a book you’ve just finished? Is there a question you hate to answer? Let me know in the comments.