So you’ve started a book club! The book is selected, the meeting date is set, and the treats (and wine!) are prepared. There’s just one thing left to do: Have a great discussion about the book. If you’re not lucky enough to have chosen a book with a reading guide, it can be daunting to determine where to begin. We’ve rounded up a list of book club questions to help focus your meeting and create a lively, thoughtful discussion. We’ve compiled questions for both fiction and nonfiction book clubs to help you start the conversation or nudge a stalled discussion. Take a look below at our list of book club questions to encourage even more engagement at your next meeting!
Book Club Questions for Fiction Books
Whether you’re reading the latest blockbuster or a timeless classic, you can engage your group with good questions to make them think about what they’ve read. These book club questions intended for novels will get your discussion started, and remember: The best questions are open-ended and the best answers are much more than a simple “Yes” or “No” response.
1. Are you new to this genre? If so, what did you enjoy (or not enjoy) about it?
2. If you’re not new to this genre, how does this novel compare to others you have read in the genre?
3. Are you familiar with this author’s work? Did you have any expectations going into the book? Were those expectations met? Why or why not?
4. Did it take time to get into reading the book or were you immediately drawn into the story? Why or why not?
5. Was the setting one that felt familiar or relatable to you? Why or why not?
6. What was the overarching theme of the novel, and how well did the author convey the theme? If there were multiple themes, how did they relate to each other and to the plot?
7. Were there any elements of the story structure (such as the point of view or the timeline) that you enjoyed or found distracting?
8. Did the characters seem authentic and believable in their roles? Which characters experienced growth and change over the course of the story, and which remained static?
9. In what ways were you able to identify with the characters? If you were a character in the book, with whom would you most relate?
10. Did you find the ending to be satisfying and meet your expectations of the plot and/or the genre? Why or why not?
11. Were there any plot points that were left unresolved or not resolved to your satisfaction?
12. Which quotes or scenes that you liked best?
13. Did you want to (or need to) go back and reread certain passages in order to clarify a character’s motivation or have the resolution make sense?
14. Did you come away from this book wanting to read more by this author or in this genre?
Book Club Questions for Nonfiction Books
Nonfiction books can teach us about a different culture, historical event, or a person’s perspective on life. Whether your book club is reading a poignant memoir or an intriguing tale of World War II, these thought-provoking nonfiction book club questions will keep the conversation flowing and encourage your members to dig deeper.
1. What is the purpose of this book, and who do you believe is the intended audience? Does the book have wide appeal?
2. Have you read much written about this topic before? If so, does the author bring something unique to the subject? If not, did this book pique your interest in the subject?
3. Was there a specific message or theme?
4. How does this book relate to your life or experiences?
5. Do you think the book presented a balanced viewpoint of the topic or was it one-sided? Did how the topic was handled affect your overall impression of the book? In what way?
6. Did the author include background and research as part of the book and, if so, did it help your understanding of the subject?
7. Did you connect with the subject matter? Did it make you want to read more? Did it make you uncomfortable?
8. Was there a chapter or passage that stood out for you or gave you an “a-ha!” moment about the topic?
9. Did this book change your perspective — or maybe even your life?
10. What did you learn from this book that you didn’t know before?
11. Would you like to read more about this particular subject? Why?
12. Would you have read this book if it hadn’t been a book club selection? Why would you recommend read this book?
If you’d like more information about facilitating a book club discussion, your local library may be able to help with reading guides for specific genres and popular books. You can also visit ilovelibraries.org, an initiative of the American Library Association, which has all kinds of resources for book lovers.
What book club questions does your group use to facilitate discussion? Share in the comments!