A great book club needs a few key elements; a fantastic list of books to read, a comfortable environment (perhaps even with wine and cheese), and stimulating conversation. While it’s easy to find great recommended reading lists online and lay out delicious drinks and snacks, creating a lively discussion can sometimes take a little more forward planning.
It’s not always easy to keep the dialogue moving, and the last thing you want is dull or stunted conversations at your book club meetings. That’s why having a list of book club questions up your sleeve is essential. These questions are designed to keep the conversation flowing and stimulate a lively discussion about the book in question.
Most of these questions are open ended and allow people to share their thoughts organically. The bulk of these questions are nonspecific, so they should work for most books, no matter the genre. But I’ve also included some questions that are designed to work with particular types of books, for example, non-fiction books and short stories.
Take a look through and choose the ones that you feel will work best for your book club and the particular book you’re reading right now. You can even print these out and take them along with you to your next meeting.
Non-Specific Book Club Questions for all Types of Books
These questions will prompt a lively discussion about almost any kind of book.
- Does this book remind you of any other books you’ve read before? If so, which ones and why?
- Are you able to connect with the main protagonist in the book?
- Which characters appeal to you most?
- Which characters appeal to you least?
- Are there any particular quotes that stood out to you in the book?
- How would you describe the overall mood of the book? How does it make you feel?
- Would you like to visit the place where the book is set? Has anyone in the group ever been there before?
- What would you say to the main character if you met them in person? Perhaps you’d ask them a question or share some wisdom with them?
- Which character would you most like to meet?
- If you were to direct a movie based on this book, who would you cast for the leading roles?
- Have you read any other works by this author? If so, how do they compare to this one?
- Would you seek out other books from this author now that you’ve read this one?
- What is your opinion on the book’s cover? Does the artwork reflect the contents of the book?
- If you could read the same story from another character’s perspective, which character would you choose and why?
- Do you think the author was trying to highlight any particular moral or message in this book?
- What were your favorite elements of this book?
- What were your least favorite elements of this book?
- Did this book change your opinion or perspective about anything?
Book Club Questions Tailored to Fiction Books
- How realistic was the main character in the book? Do you think their actions and reactions were believable?
- How realistic was the book overall? Do you think the events in the book could happen in real life?
- Do any of the characters remind you of real-life people?
- What did you think of the ending? Were you satisfied with the way it was wrapped up? If not, what would you change?
- Do you think there will be, or should be, a sequel to this book? If so, what do you hope will happen in the sequel?
- How does this book compare to other similar works of fiction you’ve read before?
Book Club Questions Tailored to Non-Fiction Books
- Did you know anything about the subject of this book before you started reading it? If so, what?
- Have you read other books on this same topic? If so, how do they compare to this one?
- Did you learn anything new from this book? If so, what’s the most valuable piece of information you will take with you?
- Does this book make you want to delve further into this topic?
- Do you think the author did a good job researching the topic?
- Did the author present the information in an easy to understand way?
Book Club Questions Tailored to Memoirs and Autobiographies
- Did you know anything about the life of this person before you read this book?
- How likable do you think this person is after reading their memoir/autobiography?
- Are there any elements of their story that you relate to on a personal level?
- Are there any gaps in the story that leave more questions than answers?
- Do you feel that the author of the book was honest in their writing? Did they leave out unsavory facts or include all the gory details?
- Are there any people featured in the book that you think might be unhappy with their story being shared in this way? How do you think they feel about it?
- Why do you think this author chose to write their memoir or autobiography?
Book Club Questions Tailored to Romance Books
- Did you think the couple in the book were a good match?
- Were you hoping they’d get together throughout the whole book or did your opinion change?
- Were there any cheesy or cliché moments in the plot?
- What were the obstacles that the couple had to overcome in order to be together?
- If the characters were a real-life couple, do you think their relationship would stand the test of time?
Book Club Questions Tailored to Mysteries and Thrillers
- Did you foresee which character was the criminal/killer etc.? If so, what gave it away to you?
- Did the author do a good job of building tension throughout the book?
- Were there any holes in the plot or any unexplained events?
- Do you think the events that happened in the book could also happen in real life? If so, do you remember any real-life examples? E.g., News stories, documentaries you have seen, etc.
- Did the ending wrap up the story, or does it leave questions unanswered?
Book Club Questions Tailored to Short Stories
- Which short story was your favorite and why?
- Which short story was your least favorite and why?
- Would you like to see an expanded version of any of the short stories in this book? Could they be adapted to a full-length novel or even a movie?
- Do any of these short stories remind you of other books you’ve read?
- Do these stories have an overriding theme that ties them all together?
These questions can be adapted to suit pretty much any book on your book club’s reading list. Why not print this list and take it along to your next meeting, so you and your book club can enjoy more exciting and engaging conversations.