Whether you’ve long been a member of a book club or you’ve recently started an online book club during quarantine, you’ve likely realized that reading the book is only half the work. Next, you need to have a thoughtful discussion. And believe us—it can sometimes be tricky to come up with book club questions, especially while chatting with friends.
Of course, half the fun of having a book club is hanging out and catching up on each others’ lives. But we always feel better if we thoroughly discuss the book at hand before everyone refills their drinks and starts talking about their love lives, work dramas and Netflix recommendations.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of general book club questions that can be applied to any novel (and most of these questions also work for memoirs, biographies, short story collections, or any other work you’ve chosen), plus some extra tips for keeping the conversation going.
Book Club Questions to Kick Off the Meeting
1. Did the story pull you in immediately, or did you have a hard time getting into this book?
2. What did you think of the author’s writing style?
3. How did this book make you feel?
4. Did this book make you think differently about anything? Did it introduce you to a new point of view, or any new concepts?
5. Was this book what you expected it would be, based on the summary?
Book Club Questions to Keep the Conversation Going
1. Did any passages in particular stand out to you?
2. Were there any characters in the book you related to?
3. Did any of the characters make you upset or angry?
4. How did the story’s setting and time period affect the story? Why do you think the author chose that time and location?
5. Do you think the author created believable characters?
6. What did you think of the book’s pacing?
7. Was the story original? What makes this book different from other books in the same genre?
8. What was happening in the world when this book was published? Did that affect the book?
9. Do you think the author’s age, culture or upbringing had a big impact on the book?
10. Why do you think the author chose to narrate this book the way they did (first person, third person, one viewpoint, multiple viewpoints, etc.)? Was the narrator reliable?
Book Club Questions to Wrap Up Your Thoughts
1. Why do you think the author wrote this book? What do you think they wanted readers to get out of it?
2. What do you think the biggest theme or message was?
3. Do you agree with the book’s message?
4. Would you recommend this book to someone else?
5. Would you want to read another book by this author?
6. Was the book the right length? Were there any parts you wanted the author to expand on, or sections you thought should be shorter?
7. What kinds of questions do you have for the author?
8. Could you imagine the same story being told by a different author? Who would you want to write their version of this book?
9. Did you feel satisfied by the book’s ending? Do you think the author wanted you to feel satisfied?
10. Did anyone else’s thoughts change the way you felt about the book?
Extra Book Club Tips
1. Take notes as you read! Whenever you have a big reaction to something on the page, make a note of it. This is extra easy with ereaders—you can simply tap on a passage and make a quick note for later.
2. It’s usually easy to say that you do or don’t like a book, but it can be more difficult to pinpoint why a book made you feel the way it did. Before your book club meeting, spend some time thinking about what exactly it was about the book that made you love it, hate it, or anything in between.
3. Choose a book that’s worthy of discussion. We all love getting sucked into twisty psychological thrillers or light romance novels, but it can sometimes be difficult to have an in-depth conversation about them. Need help finding a good book club book? We’ve got you covered.
Keep Reading: 35 Fun and Funny Book Club Names
Featured photo: Fabiola Peñalba / Unsplash