Writer. Reader. Reviewer. Resource Maven.

Thursday’s Post-Publication Post: Book Clubs, Reading Guides, and Another Call for Suggestions

I’ve already mentioned the wonderful news that my story collection, Quiet Americans, has been selected as the next title for the Jewish Book Council’s Twitter Book Club. We’ll be chatting online on Tuesday, April 12 (12:30, U.S. Eastern time), and you are all cordially invited to attend!

What I haven’t yet shared is that last week, I learned that two more clubs have chosen Quiet Americans to read and discuss. These are groups that meet face-to-face. They happen to be located in different parts of the country (and not in any state I’ve lived in, which for some reason I find remarkable).

With this happy development, I have turned my attention to a project I know I should have managed awhile back: writing a reading guide/discussion questions. (Again, remember, Last Light Studio is a very new and very small press. It’s not as though there’s an employee whose responsibility it is to write the questions.)

This really shouldn’t be so difficult, right? Especially for me, with years of teaching experience behind me. After all, how many times have I created and circulated questions to help guide my students’ reading?

But, of course, this set of questions is different. I’ve been looking at reading guides and questions for other authors’ books for some guidance. But, as usual, I’m again turning to all of you. Especially those of you who participate in book clubs. How many questions do you like to have on hand? If there’s a “type” of question that seems to work well (or badly), might you share it here? This inquiring mind wants to know! Thank you very much!

(Oh, and when I’ve completed this project, I’ll be sure to post the questions/guide on the website.)

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  1. Hi Erika- I honestly haven’t spent too much time looking at discussion questions for reading groups, but he few I’ve looked at tend to have an academic feel; they often focus on themes, conflicts etc.

    But that got me to thinking that one of the purposes of book groups (esp those that meet in person) to become closer to your fellow readers. Maybe you can offer some “Get to know your fellow readers better” types of questions that almost feel more like a game (I know that would be a bit odd in light of Quiet Americans’ oft sober tone).

    Maybe something like: Explain which character you feel the closest connection to? Make a list of reasons why you feel this way and share it with the group if you feel comfortable.

    What moment in the book made you feel happiest?

    Also, most serious readers also like to write, so you could appeal to that too, in terms of sharing. for example: Write a poem inspired by your favorite story in the book and share it with your group (if you feel comfortable doing so)

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