Book clubs are more than mere gatherings of book lovers; they are judgment-free spaces where you can geek out over books—and— if you’re lucky, jockey back and forth about viewpoints that might be different than your own. Cultivating the perfect atmosphere where ideas collide and discussions unfold is what book clubs are all about.
But to take your book club up another notch, you’ll need to infuse those discussions with thought-provoking questions that delve deeper into the themes, characters, and nuances of the book club pick. Need help in crafting those questions that will spark conversations and let you take a dive deep into the literature? Look no further. Here are 7 thought-provoking discussion questions that are sure to keep your book club discussion lively:
- Fun is key. Sometimes, a heavy book needs some light-hearted fun. One of our favorite book club questions to discuss is which Hollywood actors or actresses would star if a book was remade for film/TV. It’s interesting to see everyone’s visual version of what’s being described on the pages of the book.
- Lean into questions that will lead to deeper discussion. For example, if there’s a morally grey character, maybe explore if the ends justify the means. For a clear villainous character, dive into what about the character is relatable and how their life experiences may have contributed to their dark nature. Can your book club sympathize with an awful character?
- Consider whether characters or situations may be metaphors. Is there a deeper meaning? If so, what is it? Is the story about a scientist who accidentally creates the technology to let you take on the physical appearance of anyone (Anyone by Charles Soule) a social commentary on something more than just physical appearance? Or maybe a struggling salesman voluntarily deciding to leave his family to live in the woods with a strange group of men speaks to something about our larger society (Wild LIfe by Liam Brown)?
- Consider the author’s motives. One of our favorite questions to ask when authors join our book club meetings is “ What do you hope readers will take away from the book?” Even if you don’t have a chance to speak to the author, it’s just fun to speculate on the motivations an author may have had for the book.
- Explore something new that you learned. Maybe you learned a little about what it’s like to grow up as a child deity in India (Blue Skinned Gods by SJ Sindu), or learned what it was like to be the lead in a band (The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes) or perhaps you got a glimpse of what it was like living as a gay man during AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s (e.g. All The Young Men by Ruth Coker Burks). Ask questions about what your book club learned and what surprised them about these new revelations.
- Set the scene. Did the story have to take place in the setting that it did? Could a historical fiction novel have taken place during a different era? And if it did, how might the story have been told or received differently?
- What do you imagine about the characters’ future. After the story ends, what do you think came of the characters? Challenge your book club to envision what happens 1,5 or even 10 years after the book ends. Do the characters figure it all out? Do they change? Grow? Adapt?
There you have it—these questions are sure to land your book club firmly into that sweet spot where you’re not just talking about the book, but you’re making solid connections with your fellow book lovers. Now, grab your favorite drink and let’s get the book club started.