Welcome book clubs!

Reading and networking are both essential to the writing process. Book clubs offer an ideal place to do both. In this section, you will find book club discussion questions, suggested readings, and some hints about how to create book club questions that are specifically tailored for your own book or another. Click here for book club questions for Jane's upcoming novel, Sky-Bound Misfit.


Discussion Topics

Here are some general questions that will help your book club members delve deep into any story.

The use of too many questions can be overwhelming in a discussion group. Pick a few questions that you think would stimulate discussion in your particular group.

Themes & Style

  1. What is the main theme in the story? Is there more than one theme? If so, what are they?
  2. How is the story told? And, from who's point of view?
  3. In what time period does the story take place? Is the time period significant to the telling of this story? Could the same story take place in other time periods? Would the story be different in another time period? If so, how?
  4. In what location does the story take place? Is the location significant in the telling of this story? Could the same story take place in other locations?
  5. Did the theme(s) include factors  involving gender, race, sexuality, culture, religion, or socioeconomic situations? If so, which of these factors played a part in the story and how did it/they contribute to story?  Were they portrayed realistically?
  6. Was the author's style of writing easy to follow?
  7. Did the title of the book reflect the theme(s)? Why or why not?

Characters & Relationships

  1. Who are the main characters? What types of personalities do they have (more introverted, extroverted, empathetic, bully, passive, assertive, etc.)?
  2. What roles do the main characters play in telling the story?
  3. Which character do you identify with most and which one least? Why?
  4. What are the dynamics of power between characters and do these dynamics change throughout the story? If so, what influences the change?
  5. What do the actions of characters tell you about each of them? Have their actions been influenced by past experiences?
  6. How do the characters relate to each other? What do their interactions tell you about their relationships?
  7. Do the characters' views and actions change throughout the story? If so, what influenced this change?
  8. Do the relationships between characters change throughout the story? If so, why?

Author's Message

  1. Is the author trying to tell you something about society with this story? What message(s) is the author trying to convey?
  2. Did the story influence your worldview or perception of society? If so, how?
  3. Was there a scene in the book that could be considered a pivotal point in the story? If this scene had not been included in the story, how might the story be different?
  4. What scene resonated most with you? Why?
  5. How did the story's ending make you feel? Did it conclude the story adequately? Did it support the author's message? Would you change it? If so, how?
  6. Would you read a sequel to this story? If so, what would you like the sequel to be about? If not, why?

Want to create questions tailored for a specific book?

Whether it is for your own book or another, click here for helpful tips.

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Jane's Reading List

Must Reads

  1. The Power of One (part 1 &2), by Bryce Courtenay (1999)
  2. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger (2004)
  3. Veronika Decides to Die, by Paulo Coelho (1998)
  4. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel (2001)
  5. A House in the Sky, by Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett (2013)
  6. Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (2007)
  7. Indian Horse, by Richard Wagamese (2012)
  8. The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill (2007)
  9. A Complicated Kindness, by Miriam Toews (2004)
  10. Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood (1996)
  11. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, by Louis de Berniere (1994)
  12. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne (2006)
  13. Jack of Diamonds, by Bryce Courtenay (2012)
  14. Brother Fish, by Bryce Courtenay (2004)
  15. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams (1979)
  16. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho (1994)
  17. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach (1970)
  18. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, by Louise Penny
  19. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, by Stieg Larsson

Thinking of writing your own book?

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Tailor your Qs

Book club discussions are most inspiring when the questions relate directly to characters, scenes and developments within a specific book. 

Here are some helpful tips that will guide you in creating your own questions.

  1. Figure out what the author's main message is in the book (what are they trying to tell their readers?). How do the main characters help send this message? Which scenes within the book help relay this message? What other means does the author use to relay this message? Time period? Place? Symbolism? Writing style? Story structure?
  2. Delve deeply into the main characters. Who are they? What are their personal histories? Why are they in this story? How do they interact with the other characters? How do they experience the world? What are their values and life philosophies? Do they change throughout the story? Why? If they were real people, where would their path lead them after the story has ended?
  3. If you are creating questions that may be viewed by readers who have not yet read the book, don't spoil the show! Keep the questions vague enough that they don't reveal surprises within the book. If you are an author, put the questions at the very end of your book or on your website (with an added spoiler alert, if necessary).

Keep scrolling down for an example of tailored book club questions from Jane Powell's novel, Sky-Bound Misfit.

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Sky-Bound Misfit: Book Club Qs

Spoiler Alert!

Although I have tried to keep the book club questions vague, some of the questions below may give away developments within the story.

Sky-bound Misfit, by Jane Powell (2018)


Book Synopsis

Sky-Bound Misfit is a funny and at times heart-wrenching story about a girl coming of age in 1980s Montreal. Frankie struggles through challenges that both bring her down and lift her up. Love, death, sex, drugs and rock and roll all play a part along her path towards understanding Life.

Book Club Questions

  1. This story is told from Frankie's point of view. How does her view evolve as she ages?
  2. The author uses music as one of her tools in telling this story. What do the songs tell you about Frankie?
  3. Frankie's way of handling her bullies changes significantly throughout the story. What influenced these changes within her? Do these changes make it easier for her? If yes, in what way?
  4. Discrimination takes on many forms in this story. What forms does it take on? How are the characters affected?
  5. The events in this story took place in the 1980s. Are similar events still taking place today? How have such events evolved since the 80s?
  6. Sam reacts to life's challenges differently than Frankie. Why is this? What path is Sam heading along and what could change its direction?
  7. How do students’ reactions to Eva's sexual orientation affect her experience with the world around her? How does she handle the situation? What could have happened that could have made things easier for her?
  8. There are several forms of sexual harassment and assault within this story. What are they? How do they differ? And how do they affect the characters' relationships?
  9. The school staff plays a role in the way Frankie, Sam and Eva experience the world around them. What role do each of the staff members play? Do they differ from each other? If so, how?
  10. What role do Seb and Pete play in telling the story? How would Frankie's story be different if they hadn't have been part of it?
  11. What about Frankie's mother? Is her absence significant? If so, how?
  12. Frankie's father disappears from the story quite suddenly. If he hadn't disappeared, how might the story be different?
  13. Frankie thinks of the main bullies in the story as 'two dimensional'. What do you think about this view?
  14. Frankie, Sam and Eva experiment with alcohol and drugs. Experimentation in the 80s was not uncommon among teens in Montreal. However, what other reasons may have driven them to experiment? What role did alcohol and drugs play in the way they handled challenges. 
  15. What do Frankie'e dreams tell you about how she's feeling along her path in life?
  16. What insights does the ending give you into Frankie's life beyond teen-hood?
  17. Would you read a sequel to this book? If so, what or who would you like it to be about?

Sky-bound Misfit will be available for purchase from online distributors in September 2018.

For details, check out Jane's author website!

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