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Readers’ Group/Book Club Exercise

So, you’re all going away on your Summer breaks. Does this mean that you skip a book club meeting? Try this for an alternative idea: rather than to discuss a book that you have all read, each person brings along an old (or current) favourite read. The group then dissects the opening paragraph, asking these questions:

1) Does it confirm what you thought about the book from the front cover and sleeve notes?

2) Would you be convinced the buy/read the book based on the opening paragraph alone?

3) What does it tell you about the narrative voice/ style of writing? (Is it written in the first of third persons? the present or past tense? Why do you think the author has made these choices?)

4) Do you feel immediately ‘hooked’? (Does it pose a question or a puzzle that you want to know the answer to, or does it start with a bang?

5) Do you feel empathy with the narrator or has it engaged you emotionally in some other way?

6) Is the language symbolic/ have you already drawn on your own knowledge or experience to bring meaning to the content.

7) What sort of an atmosphere do you think the author is intending to create?

8) Do you think any themes have been introduced that you would expect to recur?

9) Do you feel immediately transported to another time or place? If not, are there hints about when and where the novel is set?

By now, the discussion should be underway, the wine should be flowing, and I can leave you to your own devices.