Thought-Provoking Book Club Questions that Work for Any Book

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Have you ever been in a book club meeting and the discussion just completely stalled?

Compare those meetings to the ones when the discussion flows and you just know that members will be eager to return.

If you want to have a successful book club, you need meetings that keep your members engaged.

Your first step in doing that? Ensuring that you bring excellent, thought-provoking book club questions to every meeting.

It may seem like a difficult task to prepare discussion questions for book club, but it doesn’t have to be! Starting with a list of questions that work for almost any book will make it easy to prepare for book club.

Read on to learn how best to use your list of book club questions, the best kind of book discussion questions, and how to find good book club discussion questions.

Also, grab a list of printable questions for book club and get ready to have a great conversation at your next meeting.

How to Use Book Club Discussion Questions

Use book club discussion questions to kick off a conversation about the book. General questions might be more helpful at the start of a discussion, while more detailed, specific questions might feel more appropriate as the group warms up.

Having a list of pre-written questions helps members get inspired, prompts questions and ideas that may not have been on their minds before the meeting, and makes for a more meaningful discussion.

Book club discussion

Don’t be wedded to completing your list of book discussion questions; some meetings will flow without needing much prompting. If everyone is engaged, allow members to follow the conversation’s path; they may arrive in unexpected and wonderful places.

If the conversation stalls, however, that’s when your prepared list of book club questions can help get things moving again.

Questions can also help ensure that you are having a whole group discussion; if one book club member monopolizes the conversation, try directing a question at another member to ensure you’re getting different perspectives.

The Best Discussion Questions for Book Club

The best book club discussion questions are the ones that get members talking. Open-ended questions that require readers to dig into the book’s content–and their reactions to it–are the type of questions that will get people thinking, participating, and engaged in lively discussion.

The worst kind of questions? Rehashed versions of questions everyone has heard before that don’t get at members’ true thoughts and feelings about the book.

People sitting around a table discussing a book

If you ask the same questions at every book club meeting, you run the risk of your conversations becoming tired and uninsightful. So even if you start with general questions every time, try to add some variety across meetings.

It’s always a good idea for the leader to prepare questions specific to the book. As a result, you’ll have a much more nuanced discussion, and members will likely be more engaged when discussing particular events, characters, and themes.

That said, some general questions work for almost any book, and some genre-specific questions can also help when crafting your plan. These questions can get the discussion going and lead the group into a deeper conversation about a specific book.

How to Find Book Club Discussion Questions

There are several ways to find discussion questions when preparing for a book club meeting. If your book includes a reading guide, you may find questions ready for you as soon as you finish the book.

Your most obvious next step might be to Google the book and add “discussion questions” at the end of your search.

An online book club having a discussion

You could also try searching Pinterest for book club questions, look on Goodreads, or check the publisher’s or author’s site–sometimes they offer resources for book clubs.

Your local library may also have book club resources, including discussion questions for popular book club books.

Author interviews may be an excellent source of questions; a quick search may unearth some interesting facts that shed new light on the book. Jot these down, share them with the club, and ask their thoughts.

If you need some inspiration before brainstorming your questions, check out the lists below for some of the best book club questions that work with many different books.

While these are general questions, use them as a jumping-off point to develop questions specific to your book and your book club’s interests.

PRintable Book Club Discussion Questions

Get a free printable list of book club questions that work for any book…

Printable book club discussion questions

PLUS 40+ more genre-specific questions when you subscribe to email updates.

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General Book Club Questions that Work for Any Book

These book club questions will work for almost any type of book and can be adapted to be more specific to what your book group is reading.

Mix and match the questions to create a list of book club questions just for your meeting–you don’t have to use them all. 

Remember, if your group is engaged and having fun, you don’t have to get through your entire list.

Book Club Discussion Questions that Work for Any Book

  • Was there anything in the story that particularly surprised you, either in a good or bad way? What about it made it so surprising?
  • What do you think the book’s title means? Can you think of a different title that would also work for this particular book?
  • If you could ask the author one question about their writing, what would it be?
  • What are some themes in this story? Were there any that stood out to you?
  • Was this book easy or challenging to read? Why?
  • How did you react to the author’s writing style?
  • Do you think this book deserves to be as popular as it is now?
  • Would you want to reread this book? Why or why not?
  • Would you recommend this book to your friends and family members? Why or why not?
  • What were your favorite parts of the book? Your least favorite parts?
  • How does this book make you feel? Do you think it was supposed to make you feel a certain way or not make you feel anything at all?
  • What is your favorite quote from the book? Why does it stand out?
  • Have you ever read a book similar to this one? What about this book reminds you of it?
  • Have you read other books by the same author? How do they compare?
  • Would you read more books by this author, or in the same genre? Why or why not?
  • What did you expect when you first saw the cover? Did the book’s contents fit with the book’s cover?

Book Club Discussion Questions for Fiction Books

General book club questions can be a great way to get a book club discussion rolling. Here are a few questions to use with fiction books:

Book Club Discussion Questions for Novels

  • What are some themes in this story? Were there any that stood out to you?
  • Did the book remind you of any other books, movies, or stories? Which ones, and why?
  • Were there any characters you felt personally connected to, even if only a little bit?
  • How do you interpret the end of the book? Is there more than one way it could have ended?
  • What did you like most about this book? What was your favorite part of the story?
  • When did your opinion of the protagonist change in the novel? What changed it?
  • Did you find yourself having a favorite character in the story, and if so, who was it? Why did they stand out to you more than any others?
  • Were there any specific characters you disliked? Why?
  • Was the book more character-driven or plot-driven? Which do you prefer, and why?
  • Were any of the main characters more likable towards the beginning or end of the novel? Why do you think that was so for this character over others in the story?
  • Did any of the characters change significantly throughout the book? How so?
  • Were there any parts of this novel that didn’t seem believable?
  • How would you feel if you were in any of the characters’ positions?
  • How would the book be different if told from another character’s point of view?

Book Club Discussion Questions for Nonfiction Books

Book Club Discussion Questions for Nonfiction Books

  • What is the main idea of the book? Why does it matter to you (or others)?
  • What is your takeaway from reading this book? Do you have a new perspective on the topic after reading it?
  • What is the overall thesis of the author?
  • Why was this book written? How can it be applied to your own life or the world at large?
  • What does the title mean? Does it have anything to do with what’s inside?
  • Were you surprised by anything in the book, good or bad?
  • Did any of the author’s thoughts or opinions change your own? If so, why and how?
  • Did the author accomplish their goal in writing this book? Why or why not?

What are your favorite questions to ask in a book club meeting?

Thought-provoking book club questions that work for any book

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