Book Club Discussion: The Last Days of Night

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore. Below is a list of discussion questions to get the conversation started. We are excited to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Feel free to answer all the questions, or pick and choose a few questions to discuss!

  • Talk about the role of the lightbulb, that small pear-shaped device, in changing the face of civilization. Can you imagine life without it?
  • What do you think about the two great giants of American science and manufacturing: Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse? Are you surprised at the manner in which Moore portrays Edison, an American icon? How do the two men differ?
  • Does Graham Moore do a credible job in breaking down the science of electricity, especially the differences between AC and DC current?
  • Do you think it possible/probable in real life that Edison might have made an attempt on Tesla’s life? Or did Graham add that plot point to build fictional suspense?
  • In the end, is it possible to actually say who invented the light bulb? What role did each of the three men—Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse—play in its development?

Questions from Litlovers

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Book Club Discussion: The Dollhouse

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis. Below is a list of discussion questions to get the conversation started. We are excited to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Feel free to answer all the questions, or pick and choose a few questions to discuss!

 

  • Why was Darby attracted to Esme as a friend? What characteristics did Esme espouse that Darby de- sired? Is Esme a foil for Darby? If so, then what does Stella represent? Which one of these three characters would you rather be in the story and why?
  • What did you think of young Stella’s plan to nd the wealthiest, handsomest man she could? Do you think it was a mark of codependence or independence? Why or why not? Did your impression of Stella change from the 1950s to 2016? If so, how and why?
  • What did you think about how The Dollhouse portrays the darker, seedy underbelly of the New York City jazz scene in the 1950s? Does it still retain its glamour? Why or why not?
  • Do you think Rose is justi ed in her skewering description of the modern startup workplace and startup CEO? Do you think it accurately re ects the modern culture of these workplaces?

 

Questions from publisher’s website.

 

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Book Reveal: The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

The second book choice for the April “Garden Party” box is The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan!

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidently left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.

Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.

As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?

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Book Reveal: Perennials by Julie Cantrell

The first book choice for the April “Garden Party” box is Perennials by Judy Cantrell!

When two estranged sisters reunite for their parents’ 50th anniversary, a family tragedy brings unexpected lessons of hope and healing amid the flowers of their mother’s perennial garden.

Eva Sutherland—known to all as Lovey—grew up safe and secure in Oxford, Mississippi, surrounded by a rich literary history and her mother’s stunning flower gardens. But a shed fire, and the injuries it caused, changed everything. Her older sister, Bitsy, blamed Lovey for the irreparable damage. Bitsy became the homecoming queen and the perfect Southern belle who could do no wrong. All the while, Lovey served as the family scapegoat, always bearing the brunt when Bitsy threw blame her way.

At eighteen, suffocating in her sister’s shadow, Lovey turned down a marriage proposal and fled to Arizona. Free from Bitsy’s vicious lies, she became a successful advertising executive and a weekend yoga instructor, carving a satisfying life for herself. But at forty-five, Lovey is feeling more alone than ever and questioning the choices that led her here.
When her father calls insisting she come home three weeks early for her parents’ 50th anniversary, Lovey is at her wits’ end. She’s about to close the biggest contract of her career, and there’s a lot on the line. But despite the risks, her father’s words, “Family First,” draw her back to the red-dirt roads of Mississippi.

Lovey is drawn in to a secret project—a memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise. As she helps create this sacred space, Lovey begins to rediscover her roots, learning how to live perennially in spite of life’s many trials and tragedies.

Years ago, Lovey chose to leave her family and the South far behind. But now that she’s returned, she’s realizing things at home were not always what they seemed.

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Book Club Discussion: Along the Infinite Sea

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for Along the Infinite Sea By Beatriz Williams. Below is a list of discussion questions to get the conversation started. We are excited to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Feel free to answer all the questions, or pick and choose a few questions to discuss!

  • The novel alternates between Pepper’s story in 1960s America and Annabelle’s story in 1930s Europe in the days leading up to World War II. Did one woman’s story resonate more strongly with you?
  • Discuss Pepper’s relationship with her family in comparison to Annabelle’s relationship to her family. How do these familiar relationships impact each woman’s understanding of romantic love?
  • Each character in Along the Infinite Sea hides a major secret. Discuss how the presence of a secret radically shifts each character’s life. In your opinion, which secrets should have been revealed? Which should remain hidden?
  • Throughout the novel, the author keeps her own secret—the identity of the man with whom Annabelle escaped to America. Were you surprised by the reveal? Why do you think the coda is told from Stefan’s point of view?
  • How does Annabelle’s character change over the course of the novel? How does her evolution compare to Pepper’s? What role do you think Annabelle will continue to play in Pepper’s life?

Questions from publisher’s website.

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Book Club Discussion: My Not So Perfect Life

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella. Below is a list of discussion questions to get the conversation started. We are excited to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Feel free to answer all the questions, or pick and choose a few questions to discuss!

  • Describe Katie Brenner. Are there aspects of her life you relate to…as someone unsure in her job…or worried about social acceptance…or dissatisfied with the path her life has taken?
  • What does the title suggest in terms of one of the book’s central themes. How is life never quite so perfect as we would wish? Whose life is not so perfect in the novel?
  • Describe Demeter. What do you think of her? Does she remind you, say, of Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada? Is she overly stereotyped, or have you known people like her?
  • Consider the “big-sister” talk that Katie has with Coco. What do both Coco and Hal learn about their mother. What, in fact, does Katie learn about Demeter?
  • Ultimately, what does Katie learn about herself and the things that matter most in life?

Questions from Litlovers.

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Book Reveal: The Dollhouse

The first book choice for the March “City of Mystery” box is The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis!

Fiona Davis’s stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City’s glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where in the 1950s a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side by side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon’s glitzy past.

When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren’t: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn’t belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she’s introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that’s used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.

Over half a century later, the Barbizon’s gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby’s involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman’s rent-controlled apartment. It’s a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby’s upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose’s obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.

Book Reveal: The Last Days of Night

The second book option for the March “City of Mystery” box is The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore!

From Graham Moore, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and New York Times bestselling author of The Sherlockian, comes a thrilling novel—based on actual events—about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America.

New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history—and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?

The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it?

In obsessive pursuit of victory, Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric, brilliant inventor who may hold the key to defeating Edison, and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he’ll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem.

Book Club Discussion: A Man Called Ove

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Below is a list of discussion questions to get the conversation started. We are excited to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Feel free to answer all the questions, or pick and choose a few questions to discuss!

  • How does the opening scene, in which Ove attempts to purchase a computer, succinctly express the main points of Ove’s ongoing battle with the stupidities of the modern world?
  • As readers, we get to know Ove slowly, with his past only being revealed piece by piece. What surprised you about Ove’s past? Why do you think the author revealed Ove’s past the way that he did?
  • What do you think of Ove’s relationship with the mangy cat he adopts? What does the cat allow him to express that he couldn’t otherwise say?
  • On page 246, the author muses that when people don’t share sorrow, it can drive them apart. Do you agree with this? Why or why not?
  • Ove and Sonja’s love story is one of the most affecting, tender parts of the book. What is the key to their romance? Why do they fit so well together?

Questions from publisher’s website

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Book Club Discussion: Homegoing

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Below is a list of discussion questions to get the conversation started. We are excited to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Feel free to answer all the questions, or pick and choose a few questions to discuss!

  • Why do you think that the author chose the word Homegoing for the title? What is a homegoing and where does it appear in the novel?
  • What role does marriage play within the cultures represented in the novel and how are the women treated as a result?  In its depiction of the collective experiences of the female characters, what does the book seem to reveal about womanhood?
  • Why do you think the author assigned a chapter to each of the major characters? Does any single point of view seem to stand out among the rest or do you believe that the author presented a balanced point of view?
  • What significance does naming have in the book? Why do some of the characters have to change or give up their names?

 

Questions from publisher’s website.

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