How to Talk About Books with your Reading Group
- To give structure to the discussion, it is best for one person to do some initial preparation, such as notes on significant passages, themes and characters. This may be the person who suggested the title.
- Try to give everyone an opportunity to contribute if they want to.
- Round the table questions are a handy way of getting quieter people to say something if they would like to.
- Don’t put anyone on the spot - some people are content to be passive listeners and do not have the confidence to talk about a book.
- Opinions differ and it often makes a more interesting and stimulating discussion if there is disagreement. However, remember that everybody’s opinion of the book is equally valid.
Ideas of questions to ask
- Did the cover of the book appeal to you?
- What did you find interesting or uninteresting?
- What did you enjoy most about the book?
- What irritated you?
- What were the main themes and issues?
- Did you feel sympathetic towards the characters, dislike them or feel indifferent towards them - why?
- Could you relate your own experience to any described in the book?
- When did you feel you had become fully involved or did you decide to give up?
- How effective was the author’s use of language?
- Was there anything unusual about the structure and pace of the book?
- If so, was it effective?
- Were the beginning and ending satisfactory?
- Where did you read the book?
- Did this have any influence on your enjoyment of reading the book or otherwise?