Are you always struggling to come up with book club questions to help guide your group discussion? In one of my past book clubs, we literally ONLY read books that included discussion questions at the end of the book because we wanted to be certain we’d have a meaningful discussion.
My current book club group is much more casual, but perhaps too much so. Our 2-3 hour meetings are primarily a social gathering with a mere 10 minute discussion about the book snuck somewhere in the middle.
I decided to come up with a generic list of book club questions to compel us to dig deeper than “Did you like the book?” and “Why or why not?” without tying us down to traditional book club books or classic literature.
Generic Book Club Questions
The book club questions below can guide your group through a meaningful discussion about almost any book.
1. How did the book make you feel?
- Were you amused, upset, bored, angry, intrigued?
- Did you have to force yourself to get through it or were you unable to put it down?
- Are you glad you read it?
2. How do you feel about how the story was told?
- Did it start too slow or end unresolved?
- Do you wish it had been told from a different perspective?
- Did it jump around too much or hold you in suspense?
3. What did you think about the main characters?
- Did you like them? Were they believable?
- Did you approve of their decisions and behavior?
- Who did you relate to the most/least?
4. Which parts of the book stood out to you?
- Are there any quotes, passages, or scenes you found particularly compelling?
- Were there parts of the book you thought were incredibly unique, out of place, thought-provoking, or disturbing?
5. What themes did you detect in the story?
- What were the main points you think the author was trying to make?
- Did you notice any symbolism?
6. What did you think about the ending?
- Were you satisfied or disappointed with how the story ended?
- Is anything left unresolved or ambiguous?
- How do you picture the characters’ lives after the end of the story?
7. What is your impression of the author?
- Does the story seem to fit with what you know of the author?
- What do you think about the author’s writing style?
- What do you think about the author’s storytelling ability?
- Would you read another book by the same author?
8. What changes/decisions would you hope for if the book were turned into a movie?
- Which sections would you cut?
- Who would you cast to play the main characters?
- If the book is already a movie, are you happy with the representation? Do you prefer the book or the movie?
9. How does this book compare to other books you’ve read?
- Did you like it more or less than other books in the same genre?
- Is the book different in any way from the books you usually read?
10. How did this book change you?
- Do you have a new perspective as a result of reading this book?
- Did you learn something you didn’t know before?
- Has your attitude or behavior changed?
Nonfiction Book Club Questions
Some of the best book club reads are nonfiction titles. Hearing other’s perspectives on facts and how data is presented can help us absorb material in a much deeper way.
Here are some questions to guide your group through a discussion about a nonfiction book.
- What was your biggest takeaway from the book?
- Did you end up doing extra research on anything presented in the book? If so, what did you find?
- Did you detect any bias in the way the information was presented?
- Did you agree with the author’s point of view?
- Do you believe the topic was covered adequately in the book? If not, what do you wish had been explained more?
Fiction Book Club Questions
Fiction transplants us into a new world. Depending on our backgrounds, values, and belief systems, each of us is drawn to different aspects of those worlds.
When we discuss fiction with our friends, we not only immerse ourselves deeper in the story, we learn a lot about our friends. Here are some questions to help facilitate that experience.
- Did the story unfold the way you expected? If not, what surprised you?
- If the story could be told by one of the other character’s, which character’s perspective would you prefer to hear? Why?
- Which place in the book would you most like to visit?
- Which character would you most like to meet?
- Was the reality created in the book believable? If not, which aspects were hard to believe?
- Which character was most like someone you already know? How did that affect your perception of the character?
- Which event in the book was most similar to something you’ve personally experienced?
More Book Club Resources
I hope the book club questions above help you get more out of your book club discussions. Here are some other resources to make your book club meetings more meaningful.
- The Best Monthly Book Club Subscriptions
- Monthly Book Club Theme Ideas
- How to Start a Family Book Club
- Great Psychological Thrillers for Book Clubs