Leading a book club discussion can be quite a daunting task for some members. Their intentions are genuine and they picture in their minds what their appointed discussion would look and feel like. But when it comes to the actual facilitating, the mind boggles and the voice stutters. This is a common stage fright scenario.
It is important to remain calm. It is best not to let the group become overly aware of your intense nervousness or else the whole session may become a total bore. To help you in the flow of the discussion which you will facilitate, the following are some generic questions for your book club
How did you experience reading the book?
What were you feeling through the first few paragraphs of the book? How about the first few chapters? Did you like the way the book spoke to you regarding its story? Why or why not? Ask your members how they actually felt while reading the book. Let them detail the experience as vividly as they could. This actually adds to the appreciation of the reading material, by letting other people relay how they experienced the book.
Do the characters make sense?
Ask them how they saw the characters. Making sense does not mean they follow a logical manner. This only means whether the characters come out as convincing as possible based on how the author introduced and represented their roles and personality. Do they play their roles effectively?
Who are your favorite characters and why?
Who are your favorites? How about your least liked? Let them describe in detail why they felt that way regarding the different characters. Was it due to their personality? Or maybe because of the way the character treats others around him? How did they affect the whole story?
What are the motives of a specific character?
This question lets the readers stand on the shoes of the character and see the world through their eyes. This also lets you on the insights and vulnerabilities of the character as well as the reader.
How was the character growth?
The character development is largely noticeable within the course of a long story or a novel. For short stories, this may be manifested through a change of a principle or a definite acceptance of a circumstance. Let them discuss how that change can be related in reality.
What is the plot all about?
Is the plot a conflict between the main characters? Or is it an internal conflict that is purely psychological or emotional? Why do you think the plot makes sense? Why not?
How did the plot drive the book?
This largely depends on the actual experience of the reader. Some are more sensitive to plot development while others take more time to catch up to the situation. This allows members to view the plot as a major component of the book through different perspectives.
How did the plot progress?
Did the plot get so twisted before the last chapters that the actual ending seemed to be forced? Or did it develop so well that everything made sense in the end? What did you like about the progress and why?
What can you say about the ending?
Was the ending the way you wanted it to finish? Why not? What would you have done different if you were the author? Would you have preferred a predictable ending or one which has numerous twists?
What points did the author want to come across?
What was the whole intention of the book? Was it a profound love for the homeland? Was it the indefatigable spirit of a survivor? What point struck you the most from the book as a whole?
Just always remember to relax and enjoy the session. Let the discussion unfold as you chime in a quick question in a timely fashion. Do not force ideas to come out nor stop them so that you could go on to the next topic. Bear in mind that we have different ways and perspectives regarding the things around us. Respect and try to understand others always.