How to Read a Book for a Book Club
Reading a book to discuss it is different from reading for pleasure. Ask yourself questions, read carefully, and imagine yourself in the story. Think about the style and structure of the book.
- Make notes and mark pages [with post-its] as you go. This may slow your reading, but saves time searching for key passages later.
- Ask tough questions of yourself and the book.
- Analyze themes. What is the author trying to say in the book?
- Get to know the characters. Consider their faults and motives and what it would be like to know them.
- Notice the book’s structure. Do the chapters begin with quotes? How many people tell the story? Is the book written in flashbacks? Does the order make sense to you?
- Compare to other books and authors. Themes often run through an author’s works. Comparing one author’s book with another’s can help you decide how you feel about the book.
From the Seattle Public Library
Questions for Consideration
- What did you like best about this book?
- What did you like least about this book?
- What other books did this remind you of?
- Which characters in the book did you like best?
- Which characters did you like least?
- If you were making a movie of this book, who would you cast?
- Share a favorite quote from the book. Why did this quote stand out?
- What other books by this author have you read? How did they compare to this book?
- Would you read another book by this author? Why or why not?
- What feelings did this book evoke for you?
- What did you think of the book’s length? If it’s too long, what would you cut? If too short, what would you add?
- What songs does this book make you think of? Create a book group playlist together!
- If you got the chance to ask the author of this book one question, what would it be?
- Which character in the book would you most like to meet?
- Which places in the book would you most like to visit?
- What do you think of the book’s title? How does it relate to the book’s contents? What other title might you choose?
- What do you think of the book’s cover? How well does it convey what the book is about? If the book has been published with different covers, which one do you like best?
- What do you think the author’s purpose was in writing this book? What ideas was he or she trying to get across?
- How original and unique was this book?
- If you could hear this same story from another person’s point of view, who would you choose?
- What artist would you choose to illustrate this book? What kinds of illustrations would you include?
40 Great Book Club Discussion Questions from Book Riot by Teresa Preston