One of the most rewarding ways to read a book is to form a book club and discuss all aspects of the story with a group full of wide ranging opinions. Facilitating such groups requires a good list of book club questions, or topics for sparking in-depth conversation among the group. While specific book club questions will vary depending on the people in the group and the book chosen to be read, some general guidelines can help you draw up a list of strong questions to get the group thinking and discussing quickly and vibrantly.
First off, in order to form your book club questions, you must read the book carefully and outline the important plot points, characters, events, and symbols throughout the text. A great question to start with is "Who is your favorite character and why?" This question lends itself to further discussion, such as how that character affects other characters or events. While it is a broad question, it allows each member of the book club to weigh in with his or her opinion, and this may lead to disagreements or subsequent questions among the members.
Book club questions often delve into aspects of the story not otherwise apparent upon first read. For example, consider asking about metaphors throughout the story, and if any of these metaphors relate to a motif – or recurring theme. Often writers will focus their narrative on a central idea, and identifying that idea will lead to subsequent book club questions such as, "Why do you think the writer chose to tell his story in this manner?" or, "What clues do you see that lead you to believe [blank] might be a central theme?"
Book club questions also often lead to much speculation. A good book club question might be, "If you were writing the story, what would you change?" or, "Do you think the ending would have been different if X had changed?" Allowing the readers to speculate how the characters may have developed differently – or how the course of the story may have changed – gives the reader a chance to flex his or her creative muscles as well, creating a bond between the reader and the story. Whatever book club questions you ask, be sure to tailor them specifically to the story you have read, and as a general rule, start with broad questions and then narrow the focus. This will allow for a smooth and interesting meeting full of thoughtful book club questions.