I was talking the other day with a book club participant who mentioned the familiar problem of predictable conversations that lack surprise, even when they’re about rich and exhilarating books. I think prompts help. These are some that help me when I’m reviewing, talking about, or just thinking about a book I’d like to share. It occurred to me others might find them helpful.
BOOK CLUB CONVERSATION BOOSTERS
Some prompts to move us all beyond “I loved the scene where…”
— One of the most distinctive features of this writer’s style is . . .
— One of the writer’s main objectives is to . . .
— Basically, the writer’s strategy is to . . .
— The opening paragraphs already lead me to . . .
— The kinds of detailing I remember are . . . and they work to . . .
— One lovely bit of characterization is . . .—effective because. . .
— The images that remain with me most vividly are . . .
— One line I remember verbatim is . . .
— One of the most (surprising, unusual, provocative) insights this author offers is
— One of the troubling aspects of this work is . . .
— This writer’s approach is noticeably different from . . .
— I wish the writer had developed . . . further . . . because . . .
— I found myself in disagreement with the writer about . . .
— One question I am left with is . . .
— Reading this I had to reconsider . . .
— I wonder why the writer . . .
— This is, among other things, a work about . . .
— The work’s evident limitations are . . .
— I hadn’t before realized that . . .
— I am still of two minds about . . .
— The writer . . .
explains . . .
argues . . .
describes . . .
questions . . .
discloses . . .
assumes . . .
reframes . . .
criticizes . . .
elicits . . .
distinguishes . . .
— The writer makes me . . .
rethink . . .
wonder . . .
appreciate . .
critical of . . .
uncertain about . . .
want to defend . . .
want to learn . . .
want to look harder at . . .
delight in . . .