Book Talk Questions

  1. Write down your thoughts–after reading the opening chapter(s) of the book. How do your impressions change (or do they) after reading half the book? Do you feel any differently after finishing the book? Would you read the book again?
  2. What emotions did the book invoke: laughter, tears, smiles, anger? Or, was the book just boring and meaningless? Record some of your reactions.
  3. Sometimes books touch you, reminding you of your own life, as part of the larger human experience. Are there connections between the book and your own life? Or, does the book remind you of an event (or events) that happened to someone you know? Does the book remind you of what happened in another book you’ve read?
  4. Would you like to be one of the characters (acquire a personality trait)? Which of the characters would you become, if you could? Why? If there’s something about the character that you’d want to change, what is it?
  5. If you were the author, would you have changed the name of a character, or altered the location of a scene? What does the name mean to you? Do you have a negative connotation associated with the name (or the place)? What would you name the character instead? What would you use as a setting?
  6. Does the book leave you with questions you would like to ask? What are they? Would you like to direct your questions at a particular character? What questions would you like to ask the author of the book? Are they questions that you may be able to answer by reading more about the author’s life and/or works?
  7. Are you confused about what happened (or didn’t happen) in the book? What events or characters do you not understand? Does the use of language in the book confuse you? How did your confusion affect how you liked the book? Is there anything that the author could have done to make what happened (or didn’t happen) more clear?
  8. Is there an idea in the book that makes you stop and think, or prompts questions? Identify the idea and explain your responses.
  9. What are your favorite lines/quotes? Copy them into your blog/forum and explain why these passages caught your attention.
  10. How have you changed after reading the book? What did you learn that you never knew before?
  11. Who else should read this book? Should anyone not be encouraged to read this book? Why? Would you recommend the book to a friend or fellow classmate?
  12. Would you like to read more books by this author? Have you already read other books by the author? Why or why not?
  13. Write a brief summary or review of the book. What happened? What didn’t happen? Capture what it is about the book that stands out (or doesn’t stand out).
  14. Write about the characters? Which one is your favorite? Is there a character you hate/detest/despise? Why? What traits could you change about the characters that would change how you think about them? Do you think that any of the characters represent real people? Does anything about a particular character seem to be related to the author’s true personality–who the writer is?
  15. Which character do you like the most and why? The least and why?
  16. What passage from the book stood out to you?
  17. Are there situations and/or characters you can identify with, if so how?
  18. Did you learn something you didn’t know before?
  19. Do you feel as if your views on a subject have changed by reading this text?
  20. Have you had a life changing revelation from reading this text?
  21. What major emotion did the story evoke in you as a reader?
  22. At what point in the book did you decide if you liked it or not? What helped make this decision?
  23. Name your favorite thing overall about the book. Your least favorite?
  24. If you could change something about the book what would it be and why?
  25. Describe what you liked or disliked about the writer’s style?

These questions are intended to help you perceive characters imaginatively – to help uncover the mysteries of motivation, personality, and interaction.

Understanding the Central Person

  1. What seems to drive this person to action?
  2. What action tells us most about this person?
  3. What action affects your feelings about this person?
  4. What are some basic character traits of this person?
  5. What is the greatest weakness of this person?
  6. How does this person relate to other people?
  7. What is special or important about this person’s moral or religious life?
  8. How does this person change or mature?
  9. What personal insights enlighten this person?

Exploring the World of Characters

  1. What other characters draw your special attention?
  2. What do they tell us about the central figure?
  3. What special relationships are formed by these less central people?
  4. What groups of people are associated in your mind?
  5. Do some of these people or groups represent values or ideas beyond themselves?
  6. Which characters provoke distaste or disdain?
  7. Which character is most mysterious and hard to understand?
  8. Which character could most easily be left out of this world?
  9. Do any of these other people seem to grow, change, or gain new self-understanding?
  10. Does any character you don’t know well play an important role?

Imagining Characters in Our World

  1. What in our world would shock the central character most?
  2. What would make anyone know this character didn’t fit in our world?
  3. What serious matters could you talk about with this person?
  4. What important values would you disagree on?
  5. What would your parents think about this character?
  6. What social causes would this person support?
  7. What television programs would be most appealing to this character?
  8. What would be the political affiliation, if any, of this person?
  9. What religious dogma would be most appealing or disgusting to this character?

More prompts…

  1. In today’s reading, did the setting or any of the characters remind you of people or characters in your own personal life? We any of the situations or events similar to your own life? How were they alike and how were they different?
  2. Does this story or its characters remind you of another story you have read? Does it remind you of a movie? How are they alike? And how are they different?
  3. If you could change the setting in this story to another setting, what setting would you choose? Would you change just the time period? Or would you change the place, the season, the actual environment-one of poverty, riches, or middle class America? Why would you make those changes?
  4. If you could change the life or lives of a story character, to make their lives more like the lives of the characters in the book or story you are reading, whose lives would you change? How would you change their lives? Why did you pick these people or that person?
  5. If you were to put this story into your own life, in the area where you live, around the people and friends that you know, how would the story have to change? How would the people change? Would the setting have to change? Why would these changes have to take place?
  6. Sometimes we are pulled toward one or two characters in the story. We identify with them or feel sympathy for them. With which characters do you identify in the book, and why do you believe you identify with them?
  7. Sometimes when we read, certain words or phrases or images stand out. Maybe they are words or phrases that make an impression because of their sound, or maybe the meaning or image they make strikes us? Sometimes we find words or expressions we just do not understand. Share those that you have come across and describe why you listed them.
  8. Now that you are this far into the story, what do you look forward to learning next? What conflicts or problems do you think the characters will face? What qualities of your character (honest, loyal, cruel, dishonest, angry, vengeful) will affect how the character handles the problems and conflicts he or she encounters?
  9. If you could ask any character a question, what would you ask? If you could ask the author a question, what might that be? Explain why you chose these questions.
  10. As you read today, what surprised you? Explain how this will affect the story or how it changed your thinking about the story.
  11. When you wish to learn when you read again tomorrow; what do you hope will happen in the story or to the characters? Why do you wish for that to happen?
  12. Are you puzzled or confused about anything in the story? What is it that confuses you, and why do you find it confusing?
  13. It is not unusual to wish that our lives were more like the lives of characters in stories. How would you change your own real life to be more like the world of your story?
  14. Why do you think the author wrote this story? Where did he or she get the idea or the characters? What message do you think that the author is trying to share?