Book Club Kits Explained
What are they?
Each kit contains ten paperback copies of the same title, discussion questions, and other resources. You can check out a kit and distribute the books among your book club members. Each member now has a copy of the next book to be discussed without any extra work at all. Convenient and easy!
How long can I check out a kit?
Kits can be checked out for six weeks. They can be placed on hold. They can also be renewed for an additional two weeks, as long as no other patron is on hold. Kits may be checked out by Westfield and MURAL card holders. Fines are 1.00 per day.
Age of Innocence, By Edith Wharton.
All the Light We Cannot See, By Anthony Doerr
Becoming, By Michelle Obama
Before We Were Yours, By Lisa Wingate
Behold the Dreamers, By Imbolo Mbue
The Boys in the Boat, By Daniel Brown
Demon Copperhead, By Barbara Kingsolver
Destiny of the Republic, By Candice Millard
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, By Gail Honeyman
Evicted, By Matthew Desmond
Family Lore, By Elizabeth Acevedo
A gentleman in Moscow, By Amor Towles
The Handmaid’s Tale, By Margaret Atwood
The Husband’s Secret, By Liane Moriarty
Homegoing, By Yaa Gyasi
Horse, By Geraldine Brooks
The huntress, By Kate Quinn
The Invention of Wings, By Sue Monk Kidd
Killers of the Flower Moon, By David Grann
Lessons in Chemistry, By Bonnie Garmus
The Library Book, By Susan Orlean
Little Fires Everywhere, By Celeste Ng
Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait?, By Tina Cassidy
Orphan Train , By Christina Baker Kline
Pachinko, By Min Jin Lee
Prairie Fires, By Caroline Fraser
The Round House, Louise Erdich
Small Mercies, By Dennis Lehane
Something Beautiful Happened, By Yvette Manessis Corporon
There There, By Tommy Orange
Tom Lake, By Ann Patchett
Washington Black, By Esi Edugyan
Where the Crawdads Sing, By Delia Owens
Yellowface, By R.F. Kuang
The following general questions can be applied to any novel, and they provide a good starting point for creating your own discussion questions for a given work.
- What was unique about the setting of the book and how did it enhance or take away from the story?
- What specific themes did the author emphasize throughout the novel? What do you think he or she is trying to get across to the reader?
- Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to their predicaments? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?
- How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger such changes?
- In what ways do the events in the books reveal evidence of the author’s world view?
- Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?
- Did you like the book? If you have read any of the author’s other books, how does this compare?
- What is this book’s message?
- How did you feel about the characters? Whom did you like or not like and why?
- What did you think of the ending?
- In a movie version, who would play what parts?
- How did you feel when the character did or said….How do you think the character felt when she did or said…?
- If questions…e.g. If the characters had done this instead, how would the story have changed?
- What do book reviews say about this book or more generally the author, and her past works?
- What did you think of the plot line development? How credible did the author make it?
- What moral/ethical choices did the characters make? What did you think of those choices? How would you have chosen?
- How authentic is the culture or era represented in the book?
- Why do you think the author wrote this? What is her most important message?
- How do you think the main character’s point of view is similar or different from the author’s point of view or background?
- What is the author’s background (her style, stature and focus)?
- How does the setting figure as a character in the story?
- Are the characters’ actions the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?
- Is there any moral responsibility that was abdicated?
- Are there any symbols that may have cultural, political or religious reference? e.g. flag, tree, rose.
- What type of vision does the author use with her word choice? Is it optimistic, pessimistic, prophetic, cautionary, humourous, satirical, venomous, cathartic?
- What effects do the events (time, nationality, physicality) have on the character’s self or personality?
Keeping non-fiction book club questions simple, but open ended, will allow for plenty of opinions and encourage discussion among members.
Asking the right questions can mean the difference between a dull, lackluster book club and an inspiring and engaging one. However, non-fiction books are not yet as popular as their fiction counterparts as far as book club selections go, which means it is difficult to find a non-fiction title that has an accompanying book club guide.
Therefore, it is oftentimes necessary for a book club to create its own set of questions for discussion.
- What was the purpose of this book (eg, to teach, to entertain
- If this book was intended to teach the reader something, did it succeed? Was something learned from reading this book, if so what? If not, why did the book failed as a teaching tool?
- Was there a specific passage that had left an impression, good or bad? Share the passage and its effect.
- Was the purpose of the book to bring to light an issue? If so, did it make the group more aware and knowledgeable about the particular issue? How did earlier opinions about the issue change after reading this book?
- If the book addressed an issue, did the author cover both sides of the topic fairly and thoroughly or did the book appear to be biased, solely written to promote the author’s own agenda?
- After reading the book, has the group’s interest been piqued about the subject matter? If so, would the group consider reading more on the topic in the future?
- The way a non-fiction book is written can impact a reader’s enjoyment and understanding of it. Was the book written in a way that was easily accessible? Did the language make the group loose interest in something that would have otherwise been an exciting subject? Were unfamiliar terms and concepts explained? Were there plenty of visuals to reinforce the subject matter and were they helpful?
- Did the author provide any pertinent web links for readers to use? If so, would the group consider visiting them?
- Did the author provide a suggested reading list for further information on the topic? If so, would the group consider reading any of the suggestions?
- Was there something especially surprising about this person’s story? What was it and why?
- Memoirs can be written for a variety of different purposes, such as clearing up a misconceived notion, gaining fame and notoriety or promoting something. What category does this book fall into?
- Was there a lesson could be taken away from this person’s life? What was it and why is it important?
- Did preconceived opinions of this person change after reading their story? If so, did it change for the better or the worse? Explain.
Non-fiction books can be a great addition to any book club and offer a nice change of pace from typical reading group fiction selections. By using these simple starter questions, non-fiction books can be introduced to the club with ease and can ensure that future meetings will be filled with intelligent discussions and the exciting exchanging of ideas.
Credit: © Lisa Rufle
Comments, questions, and suggestions for future titles can be directed to Jennifer Rees Schulze, firstname.lastname@example.org, (908) 789-4090 x7951