So, you've started a book club, have called in a bunch of bibliophiles to join you, and have assigned everyone the first book to read. A month goes by, and its finally time to indulge in the most crucial part of the entire exercise, getting down to dissecting your selected novel.
The ideal way to commence a book discussion is by having the host quickly summarize the story. If looking for a little more interaction, they can do research on the author prior to the meet, and share any interesting facts they might come across with the club. Often, this information can add another layer to the discussion as readers get to better understand the nuances and origins of the plot or the story's characters.
An important aspect of learning how to start a book club is to be prepared for every book meet. An integral part of that is having a set of book club questions ready to guide the dialogue in the correct direction.
However, there is a particular art to listing down the right book club discussion questions. They need not be literary or academic all the time. Instead, they should mirror the mood of the book and create an atmosphere that encourages both a profound and enjoyable interaction.
By striking the right balance with your book club questions, you'll find that more members participate in the conversation, thus making your book meet a collaborative experience that is educational and entertaining.
We do understand that it isn't always easy to come up with questions after having read a book. However, there are specific book club questions that you can ask irrespective of a book's genre. Others might work better with certain themes, but you can still use them whenever there is a gap in the conversation.
Here are 70 such book club discussion questions that are ideal for getting bookworms started on talking about their latest read.
1. What was your initial expectation from the book? Did it rise to the occasion?
2. What do you like the most about the book?
3. What do you like the least about the book?
4. Which character do you relate to most? Why?
5. Who is the most fascinating supporting character in the story? Why?
6. Which character annoyed you the most? What do you not like about them?
7. What were some of the themes the book covers beautifully?
8. How important a part does the location and time play in the story? Is the author able to successfully create a scene that is believable and realistic?
9. What do you think of the book’s title? Does it justify the story?
10. How did you feel immediately after finishing the book?
11. Do you find the language and style of the book easy to comprehend?
12. Do you like how the book is structured? Were you able to follow the story effortlessly?
13. Which character’s transformation in the story do you particularly find interesting?
14. If you could change one thing about the book, what would it be?
15. Is there any particular instance in the book that really stands out?
16. Did you find any inconsistencies in the story; plot holes you wish were not there?
17. Do you think the story has a hidden or philosophical element to it? What could the author be saying?
18. Did the book’s ending feel right to you?
1. Did you actually read the book, or did you just skim through the summary on Google?
2. Did you smell the book before starting to read it?
3. Does the book feature any specific tropes that you particularly like?
4. If you could date a character from the book, who would you pick?
5. Which characters have the best, worst, and funniest names in the book?
6. If you could be a part of the book, which character would you like to be?
7. Which actors would you cast in the film adaptation of the book?
8. Do you think the book would work best as a movie, television series, or a Broadway play?
9. Is there a destination in the book (real or fantasy) that you would love to visit?
10. Share a favorite quote from the book? (You can ask members to keep a note of this beforehand.)
11. Were there any particularly cringe-worthy moments or sentences in the book?
12. Did you make any footnotes or highlight paragraphs in the book? Care to share any?
13. Who is the one person you would like to gift this book, and why?
14. Did someone else in your house also read the book? If yes, what was their opinion about it?
15. Summarize the book using only five words.
1. How long did it take you to finish the book?
2. What format (hardback, paperback, audio, or eBook) did you read the book on, and did it make any difference?
3. Have you read any other book by the same author? How does this book stand in comparison to their other works?
4. Do you plan on reading another book by the same author? Why or why not?
5. If you could ask the author one question, what would you like to know?
6. Is there any book similar to this one that you would like to recommend?
7. What do you think of the book’s cover?
8. Do you plan to re-read the book in the future?
9. Do you think, in general, the book is underrated or overrated?
10. How would you rate the book out of five stars?
Mystery and Horror
1. Were you able to guess who the killer was before the end?
2. Did you enjoy all the twists in the story?
3. Did the book scare you?
4. Did you read the book during the daytime or at night? Did it have any effect on your reading experience?
5. Do you think the author created enough suspense and drama?
6. What could the author have done to make the story more interesting for you?
1. Do you think the author has created a realistic novel?
2. Do you think any events in the book were inspired by real life?
3. Was there any moment in the book that really surprised you?
4. At what point in the book, according to you, the story drastically changes its course?
1. Do you find the world created by the author fascinating enough?
2. Which non-human characters did you particularly like and why?
3. Would you like to see the book turn into a series (if it hasn't already) ?
Non-fiction and Memoir
1. Did you know anything about the theme of the book or the author before reading it?
2. Did you relate to the story on a personal level? How?
3. Was there any new information you learned from reading the book?
4. Will you be reading more books on the same topic soon?
5. Are there any aspects of the author’s life they left out in the memoir that you would like to know more about?
6. Did the book have a lasting impact on the way you think or act?
1. Which short story amongst the collection did you like the most?
2. Which short story can be easily turned into a proper novel?
3. What are your thoughts on short stories, in general, as a genre?
1. Do you think the couple in the book was realistic enough?
2. Would you have dated any of the book’s protagonists?
3. Which Hollywood couple would be perfect for the title roles?
4. What do you think happens in the story right after the book ends?
5. Can you think of a few songs that would complement the story?
The above list of book club questions is simply a guide to get you started. You can always add more to it by listing questions specific to the book you have read.
Moreover, there will be times when a single question leads to intense and lengthy debates. It is okay to leave out a few questions that you might have initially planned in such instances.
The idea is to have a meaningful discussion, as quality always trumps quantity, especially when it comes to talking about books.