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A good book club combines friends, food, excellent books, and of course, engaging discussions. (Okay, some of your friends might just be there for the food, but that’s beside the point.)

While everyone loves that cheese platter and bottle of Chardonnay, good discussion questions are what really make book clubs a fun and productive way to spend time with friends or colleagues.

Whether you’re reading a gripping thriller or an inspiring self-help book, each member of your club has a different perspective and different insights to offer to the conversation. To help you get that conversation rolling, we’ve created a list of 50 book club discussion questions that you can use at your next meeting.

General Book Club Discussion Questions

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These are general questions that can be used to get the conversation started for books of all genres, fiction or nonfiction.

  • What did you like about this book?
  • What didn’t you like about this book?
  • Was there any one line or passage that stood out to you?
  • Does this remind you of any other books you’ve read?
  • How long did it take you to finish this book?
  • Have you read other books by this author? How did they compare to this book?
  • What feelings or emotions does this book evoke for you?
  • What is one question you would like to ask the author?
  • How original do you think this book was?
  • What do you think the author’s purpose was in writing this book?
  • Did your opinion of the book change as you read it?
  • Who would you recommend this book to?
  • Do you have any lingering questions after finishing the book?
  • Does this book make you think of any songs? Create a playlist for the book.

Download a PDF of these general book club questions to share with your group.

Book Club Questions for Fiction

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The following questions can be used to start discussions about most works of fiction.

  • Which character was your favorite? Least favorite? Why?
  • Which character could you personally relate to the most? Why?
  • Does this book remind you of any movies?
  • Who would you cast in a film adaptation of this book?
  • Which recurring themes did you notice throughout the story?
  • What did you think of the story’s pacing? Was it too fast or too slow in some places?
  • Did the characters and their challenges feel real to you?
  • How did the setting impact the narrative?
  • Are there any places from the book you’d like to visit?
  • Did you find the plot predictable?
  • If you had to trade places with one character, who would you choose?
  • What do you think happened to the characters after the book ended?
  • Did you find the narrator reliable?
  • How would this story change if it were told from the perspective of another character?
  • If this book is part of a series, would you like to continue it?

Download and print these discussion questions for fiction.

Nonfiction Discussion Questions

These questions are best for works of nonfiction, whether you’re reading a history, biography, how-to, or self-help book.

  • How much did you know about the subject before reading this book?
  • Did this book change or challenge any preconceived notions you had about the subject?
  • Have you read anything else on this subject by an author with a different viewpoint?
  • What did you learn from this book?
  • Did you find the subject interesting?
  • What did you think about the author’s style?
  • Do you think the author did a good job explaining the subject? What might have been done better?
  • What biases do you think the author might have? How could this impact the way the book was written?
  • Did you stop to Google anything while reading this book?
  • Do you think the book was effectively organized? Are there any ways the structure could be improved?

Download and print this list of nonfiction book club questions.

Questions for Memoirs

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These questions are ideal for memoirs and autobiographies, but can also be used in combination with the general nonfiction questions.

  • Did you find the author to be a sympathetic or likeable narrator?
  • How honest do you think the author was?
  • Are there any gaps you’d like the author to fill in, or pieces of information you think were missing?
  • Which parts, if any, of the author’s experience could you relate to?
  • If you were already familiar with the author, did reading this book change your view of them?
  • Describe the author’s tone. Were they funny, angry, resentful, etc.?
  • Is the author someone you would like to know in real life?
  • What do you think the author’s purpose was in telling their story?
  • What is the author’s biggest strength? Their biggest weakness?
  • What do you think is the most important takeaway from the author’s story?

Download and print these discussion questions for memoirs.

Self-Help Questions

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These questions will help you start engaging conversations around your group’s self-help reading assignments.

  • Do you agree with this author’s advice?
  • Have you started applying any of the author’s tips or advice? What changes have you noticed?
  • Are there any passages you marked, or would like to revisit?
  • What is the most important piece of advice offered in this book?
  • Is there any information you felt was missing that could have been helpful?
  • Do you think the author presents evidence and research in an effective way?
  • Do you doubt any of the author’s claims or advice?
  • Do you think there might be any bias in how the information is presented?
  • Do you think the author succeeded in what they set out to do with this book?
  • Who would you recommend this book to?

Download and print this list of discussion questions for self-help books.

What Do You Talk About in a Book Club?

In addition to questions like the ones listed above, the goal of your book club should be to get people talking about their experience reading the book, their feelings, and their reactions to the material.

You can also have discussions about what kinds of books you’d like to read next, or allow members to vote on your next read.

Questions for Productive Book Club Discussions

The thought-provoking discussions you have with friends and colleagues are what really make book clubs worthwhile.

Download and print this complete list of book club questions so you can distribute them to your club’s members at your next meeting!

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