Book Club Discussion: Winter Garden

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for Winter Garden 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!

 

  • This novel explores a complicated and strained relationship between two sisters. Do you think Meredith is justified in being so angry with Nina? In what ways are the sisters different and in what ways are they alike?
  • Anya Whitson is color blind and cannot see the colors in her winter garden. Why do you think the author gave the character this particular trait? In what ways is it a metaphor for what Anya has gone through in her life? Do you believe it is a physiological blindness or a psychological one?
  • Food is an important element in this novel. Obviously, Anya loves to cook. Why doesn’t she teach this to her daughters?
  • Winter Garden teaches us that it is never too late to say “I love you.” Meredith and Nina waited all of their lives to hear it from their mother. Sasha waited until his death for Anya to return. What has this novel taught us about the bonds of family and the strength of love?
  • How did you feel about the ending? Why do you think the author chose the surprising meeting in Sitka?

 

Questions from author’s website.

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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 Bookshop on the Corner

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan.  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 Nina: just how socially and/or professionally unprepared is she to face a world outside of a library?
  • Are library closings a growing trend, or will they be several years from now? What is happening in your own community; are funds being cut to libraries, hours shortened, books not bought, staff not hired? What does the future hold for libraries, and how are they coping with the digital age?
  • What are some of the struggles Nina undergoes to get her dream library off the ground? Talk about the decisions she has to make. Does the van seem like an overly risky venture for someone like Nina?
  • Describe the village of Kirrinfief, including the characters who populate it. Whom did you find most intriguing? What was village life like without books?
  • Did you predict the ending?

Questions from litlovers.

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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: Lilac Girls

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. 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!

  • In what ways do you think the alternating points of view helped to enrich the narrative? Was there ever a time you when you wished there was only one narrator? Why or why not?
  • The primary settings of this novel are starkly different – Caroline’s glamorous New York world of benefits and cultural events, and the bleak reality of life in a concentration camp. In what ways did the contrast between these two settings affect your reading experience?
  • Caroline’s relationship with Paul is complicated, taboo even, was there ever a time when you didn’t agree with a choice Caroline made with regards to Paul? When and why?
  • Many of the themes explored in Lilac Girls – human rights, political resistance, survival – are a direct result of the historical WWII setting. How are those themes relevant to current events today?

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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