If you’re leading a book discussion
- Choose one question at a time and toss it out to the group.
- Select a number of questions, write each on an index card, and pass them out. Each member (or a team of 2 or 3) takes a card and answers the question.
- Use a prop ( or object) related to the story.
• maps, photographs, paintings, food, apparel, a music recording, a film sequence
- Pick out a specific passage from the book description, an idea, a line of dialogue—and ask members to comment on it.
• How does the passage reflect a character…or the work’s central meaning…or members’ lives or personal beliefs?
- Choose a primary character and ask members to comment on him or her. Consider:
• character traits, motivations, how he/she affects the story’s events and characters.
- Play a literary game. Use an Icebreaker activity to loosen you up and get your discussion off to an enthusiastic start.
- Distribute hand-outs to everyone in order to refresh memories or use as talking points. Identify the primary characters and summarize the plot.
If you’re taking part in a book discussion
- Avoid “like” or “dislike.” Those terms aren’t very helpful for moving discussions forward, and they can make others feel defensive. Instead, talk about your experience, how you felt as you read the book.
- Support your views. Use specific passages from the book as evidence for your ideas. This is a literary analysis technique called “close reading.”
- Take notes as you read. Jot down particularly interesting passages: something that strikes you or, maybe, that you don’t understand. Take your notes to the meeting.