To keep your book club on task, and to avoid it devolving into some kind of sycophantic bacchanal of people who buy sweaters on GILT group, try using discussion topics. Many bestsellers come pre-equipped with reader’s guides and discussion questions just for book clubs. Here are a few that can be adapted to your book club for its specific needs.
1. During the sex scenes in the book, did you picture the other people in the book group also having to read the sex scenes and feel sort of weird about it? Why do you think we have so much trouble acknowledging our friends as sexual beings?
2. Who here owns a TV? Why, or why not?
3. Several people have noted key differences in structure between the modern bestselling novel and commercially successful classic literature. Who do you think these people are trying to impress? Can we all acknowledge that these people went to Brown so we can move on?
4. This book has sold several million copies and has been translated into 26 languages. A lot of us are kind of resentful about this. Do you think you could have written this book or something? Do you think writing a book is easy?
5. Jane Austen was one of the first authors to examine the effects of socioeconomic pressure on personal relationships. What kind of grown woman brings Yellowtail to a book club comprised of professional women? We’re all trying to save money, but what are we, 17-year-olds in a suburban basement?
6. How come every month when we’re picking our next book, somebody suggests some plodding work of non-fiction? We all liked “Devil in the White City” too. But come on, some of us are tax attorneys, most days we don’t want to come home and read about nazis."