I’ve got a five hour car trip ahead of me today and last night I fell asleep reading. Which means the light was on and I wasn’t wearing my CPAP. So I may be puling off for micro-naps today.
I’m heading in to the final stretch of my reading challenge in a Goodreads group, so I’ve got a very defined book list.
In printed text, I’ve got just a few pages left in The Woman Upstairs by Clarie Messud. I’ve owned this book for a while and thought it was a kind of thriller or something. But it’s not. And it’s terrific, resonating on a number of levels. More to come when I review it.
This week, I hope to get my mom’s condo ready to put on the market. There’s still a lot of stuff to clear out, and I need to find a cleaning crew to give it a once-over. I’ve got some friends and family to see in town, and I’d love to catch the new Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Blogging may be light as I won’t have wifi chez moi, but who knows? I’ll try to at least keep busy on Instagram.
And finally, my indoor herb garden in rocking my world! Everything’s up except for the garlic chives. The cilantro suddenly appeared yesterday and I’m very pumped about that one as it’s the hardest to find in garden stores.
My book club had an excellent discussion about The Dinner yesterday afternoon. As moderator this month, I had done some research and prepared a set of discussion prompts. This book generated one of the best meetings we’ve had, with its interesting structure and commentary on society, family, and politics.
I wasn’t able to find many resources for book clubs online for this novel, so decided to share my outline and some links to reviews and commentary here. I have edited my notes to make them more user-friendly. Resources are listed at the end. A PDF of the discussion questions can be downloaded here.
The Dinner by Herman Koch – Book Club Discussion Starters
Without saying why, how would your rate this book on a scale of 1 to 10?
(Our club often asks members to rate a book at the beginning and end of each meeting. Some interesting shifts occur after members have had a chance to discuss a work.)
The author structured the book around a dinner, but used flashbacks to tell the story. Did this work for you?
How did you feel about the narrator at the beginning of the novel? At the end? When did you realize that he was unreliable?
Do you need to like the characters in order to like a book? How did you feel about the main characters in this novel?
How did you feel about the reveal of the narrators genetic disorder?
Were you surprised by how far the parents were willing to go to protect their children? Why do you think they did that? What would you do in similar circumstances?
To what extent can psychological factors mitigate criminality? What about those who elect not to take medication?
What does the restaurant setting say about the society in which the novel is set?
Tolerance and moral superiority: Discuss the adoption of Beau/Faso and subsequent narrative about him
What, if anything, does the particular crime say about society, youth, or anything else?
What commentary does the novel make about today’s political system?