Discussing What You Read

BookI was thinking today about reading with others. Not that I do much of that. But I would like to. Sometimes, when I’m reading a book that really interests me, I wonder what it would be like to read it and discuss it with others.

So, I wrote a short list of questions that a group might use to review together a chapter of a book. I guess — in this instance — I’m primarily thinking about nonfiction (since I mostly read nonfiction).

Take a look at these questions and let me know what you think. They’re generic and hopefully would work with just about any nonfiction book. How would you change any of these questions? Which ones would you exclude? What questions would you add?

Here’s my list:


  • enlarge your perspective or understanding?
  • challenge views you have held?
  • confirm your thinking in any way?
  • raise objections you would like to voice?
  • inspire you to think or act differently?
  • make you want to know more about something?

Thanks for taking a look at this. I welcome your comments.

Photo Credit: Book by Jaci Lopes dos Santos

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4 Responses to “Discussing What You Read”

  1. Carla Bolin Says:
    May 25, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Excellent. Books have a way of enlarging our empathies and viewpoints in a non threatening way. Once discussed, I think our perspective changes a bit since we have discussed it outloud. Would be fun!

    • Carla, thank you for your engaging comment. One of my favorite quotes is a line of Franz Kafka’s in which he said, “A book should serve as the axe for frozen sea within us.”

  2. Great questions! But to me, the story behind how I discovered this article is equally wonderful! I did a search on “Isaac Butterworth” (b/c a male, you liked and commented on my Facebook page — thank you so much for your kind support!) A friend from far away had just sent me an email suggesting we read a book together (My Bright Abyss), and as much as I like to read, I’ve never been in a book club. So I was wondering what kind of structure we would use. And voila — the search and the discovery of some very insightful questions. As I read, if I think of others, I will add to them. Thanks!

    • Elizabeth, thank you for sharing the story of how you came across this post. I am grateful for your writing ministry and follow you on Goodreads. I use a template for recording my reflections during daily devotions, and at the top I have placed your very helpful words: “The common thread in all my stories is that I am made for beauty, fallen in sin, and redeemed for glory.” That is everyone’s story. So, I remind myself daily that I was created in the image of God, that the image is distorted because of sin, but that the Redeemer is restoring me to His likeness and will one day complete the process, by which He will be glorified. Thanks be to God!

      With regard to reading, I came across a post by Jeremy Anderberg entitled “How to Read a Book.” It is something of synopsis of Mortimer Adler’s book by the same title. I found it interesting.

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