Book Club Discussion: Circling the Sun

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for Circling the Sun by Paula McLain. 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!

  • Beryl is forced to be independent from a very young age. How do you think this shaped her personality (for better or for worse)?
  • How would you describe Beryl and Denys’s relationship? In what ways are they similar souls?
  • Why do you believe the author chose the title Circling the Sun? Does it bring to mind a particular moment from the novel or an aspect of Beryl’s character?
  • While it is clear he loved his daughter, do you feel Beryl’s father was a good parent? Do you think Beryl would have said he was? Did you sympathize with him at any point?
  • How would you describe Beryl and Denys’s relationship? In what ways are they similar souls? How does their first encounter–outside, under the stars at her coming out party–encapsulate the nature of their connection?

Questions from author’s website.

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Book Club Discussion: The Simplicity of Cider

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert. 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!

  • What kind of a father is Isaac? What is his motivation by withholding the truth from Bass regarding his mother’s death? Is Isaac trying to protect his son, or himself, from the difficult reality? Can you understand his choice?
  • Is there a proper way to grieve after tragedy? Like Isaac, have you ever taken a trip to escape from your troubles? Was it cathartic? Do you think going on an adventure to somewhere new helps the healing process?
  • Why is Bass the only person who’s able to soften Sanna? How does Bass change her impression of children?
  • Describe Sanna and Thad’s friendship. Why does Sanna keep him around? Are you surprised by Thad’s disloyalty to the Lunds?
  • Discuss the role Eva plays in the novel. How are she and Sanna similar? Were you surprised by their ability to come to an understanding? How does their new business deal benefit both of them?

Questions from publisher’s website.

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Book Club Discussion: Delicious!: A Novel

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for Delicious!: A Novel by Ruth Reichl. 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!

  • Billie eventually writes about Sal’s as if it’s “a way of life.” Do you have a favorite establishment that you would describe similarly? What is it like, and how does it make you feel?
  • Diana and Sammy’s friendships help the formerly-contained Billie become more confident. Has a friend ever given you the courage to be more fully yourself? What did you reveal?
  • If you had a victory garden, what would you grow?
  • Do you have friends or family who remember what it was like to eat during World War II? What stories have they shared with you?
  • As the book closes, what does Billie discover she owes Genie?

Questions from publisher’s website.

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Book Club Discussion: The Hopefuls

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close. 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!

  • Who are the “hopefuls” in the title?
  • In the Washington, DC, of the novel, most people are from elsewhere—away from home and family. How does this contribute to the intensity of their relationships?
  • As a spouse who’s not particularly interested in politics, Beth feels like an outsider. What should she have done to find her own tribe—or does that seem impossible in the atmosphere the novel describes?
  • The theme of friendship also weaves through the story. Is Beth a good friend? Who is a better friend to her, Ash or Colleen?
  • On page 248, Colleen tells Beth, “ ‘I mean, every person expects something from the other one when they get married.’ ” What point is she making? Do you agree?
  • Discuss the final section of the novel, the postscript set in DC. Was it the ending you expected?

Questions from publisher’s website.

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Book Club Discussion: Big Magic

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. 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!

  • Can you think of a time you were courageous in your creative life? What did that look like for you? How did you feel? What inspired you to be courageous?
  • What do you think your daemon of creativity would look like? Grab some pen and paper and draw away!
  • Who, in your heart of hearts, are you? Who have you always secretly wanted to be? How does it feel to say it outloud?
  • Write down four fiercely creative goals and hang them up on your fridge!

Questions from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic Inspiration Guide. 

 

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Book Club Discussion: The Nightingale

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. 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 war change the way these characters love? How does love influence their actions in the war? On a personal level, has love affected your life choices? Have those choices affected who and how you love?
  • Why do you think Kristin Hannah chose to keep the narrator’s identity a secret in the beginning and end of the novel? Were you surprised by who it turned out to be? Did you go back and reread the beginning of the novel once you finished? Were you satisfied when you discovered who was narrating the novel?
  • The sisters Isabelle and Vianne respond to the war in very different ways. Isabelle reacts with anger and defiance, risking her life to join the resistance against Nazi occupation. Vianne proceeds with caution and fear, avoiding conflicts for the sake of her children. Who do you admire—or relate to, or sympathize with—more, Vianne or Isabelle? Discuss your reasons.  
  • Take a moment to talk about Beck. Is he a sympathetic character? Did you believe he was a good man, or was he just trying to seduce Vianne. Did he deserve his fate?

Questions from author’s website.

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Book Club Discussion: Invincible Summer

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for Invincible Summer by Alice Adams. 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!

  • To what degree do you think the friends’ lives and aspirations are shaped by their social class?
  • We follow Eva, Benedict, Sylvie and Lucien across twenty years and through some of the most formative experiences of their lives, including redundancy, divorce, prison and having a disabled child; do you think their characters responded to these challenges in a convincing and interesting way?
  • One of the central themes of the novel is finding the hope and courage to carry on despite life’s disappointments and tragedies. Did you come away feeling that although the characters do not find simple solutions to their problems, the overall message is redemptive?
  • Invincible Summer takes place over twenty years and takes in a number of historical events. How much did you feel the characters were masters of their own fates, and how much were they buffeted by forces of economics and history far greater than themselves?
  • Did you feel comfortable with the book’s not having an unequivocally happy ending?

Questions from publisher.

 

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Book Club Discussion: The Summer Before the War

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for The Summer Before the War: A Novel by Helen Simonson. 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 author presents two strong women in the characters of Beatrice Nash and Agatha Kent. How are they similar and different? Why do you think the author chose to present both voices?
  • Who is your favorite character and what draws you to him or her in particular? Whom do you dislike in the book, and does he or she have redeeming features?
  • The author has said she thinks the whole world can be explained in a small town. Did she succeed at that in this book? What do you think can or cannot be described and explained within such a setting?
  • Why are books about war so compelling? Do you agree with Beatrice that no writer can ever write about war in a way that will prevent it? Is it a valuable topic anyway?
  • Did The Summer Before the War change what you knew or how you thought of the First World War? How so?

Questions from publisher

 

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Book Club Discussion: The Woman in Cabin 10

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. 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!

  • What’s the effect of having Lo’s e-mails and various news reports interspersed throughout Lo’s narration? In what ways do they help you better understand what’s happening aboard the Aurora?
  • Describe Carrie’s relationship with Lo. Did you like her? Why or why not? In what ways, if any, are the two women alike? How do Lo’s feelings about Carrie change as Lo gets to know her? Did your opinion of Carrie change as you read?
  • When Nilsson challenges Lo’s claim that she’s seen something happen in the cabin next to hers, she tells him, “Yes, someone broke into my flat. It has nothing to do with what I saw” (p. 141). Did you believe her? Did you think that the break-in made Lo more jumpy and distrustful? Give some examples to support your opinion.
  • In what scenes did you think the deception and violence that occurred were justified? In what scenes did you think it not justified?
  • Lo tells Judah, “You don’t know what goes on in other people’s relationships” (p. 333). Describe the relationships in The Woman in Cabin 10. Did you find any particularly surprising? Which ones, and why?
  • Describe Lo’s relationship with Ben. Did you think that Ben had Lo’s best interests at heart? Why or why not? Were you surprised to learn of their history?

Questions from Simon and Schuster.

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Book Club Discussion: The Nest

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for The Nest  by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. 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!

  • Just how dysfunctional is the Plumb family…and why? Why do the siblings allow Leo to have such power over them? If you could advise any or all four of them, how would you counsel them about living their lives?
  • At the beginning of the book, each of the siblings has a drink at a Manhattan watering hole before meeting the others. What do those moments reveal about them?
  • Melodie, Beatrice, Jack and Leo all have behaved somewhat (or very) irresponsibly. Is there one of them with whom you sympathize more than the others? Or are they all caught up in a sense of their own entitlement?
  • How would you live your life if you knew you were to receive a fair amount of money down the line?
  • Talk, too, about the secondary characters and the roles they play in the story: grandchildren, Jack’s husband, Melody’s husband, Leo’s girlfriend, and Bea’s boss.
  • Ultimately, this book is about defining ourselves as individuals within a family (or even a career). How does each character learn who he or she is and what ultimately makes for a fulfilling life?

Questions from Lit Lovers.

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