Keeping Up With The Penguins

Reviews For The Would-Be Booklover

75 Book Club Discussion Questions For Every Genre

If your New Year’s resolution was to join a book club, or you’re heading back to one after a long absence, you might feel a bit intimidated at the prospect of asking or answering book club discussion questions. Reading the book is all well and good, but some of us freeze up when it comes to actually delving into the nitty-gritty of what we liked or what we thought, and there’s no shame in that at all. I thought it might be a good idea to put together a list of book club discussion questions, whether you want to use them to spark your own conversations or just mentally prepare for your next meet-up.

75 Book Club Discussion Questions For Every Genre - Keeping Up With The Penguins

General Book Club Discussion Questions

  1. How much did you know about the book before you started reading it? Did it live up to your expectations?
  2. How does the title relate to the book’s story or themes? Do you think it gave you a good idea of what to expect?
  3. What was your favourite part of the book? Were there any stand out scenes or sections for you?
  4. Were there aspects of this book that you didn’t enjoy? Were there characters, scenes, or style choices that didn’t work for you?
  5. Did you have a favourite character, or one you found particularly relatable?
  6. Do you think this book was too long, too short, or just right? Are there any parts that you would take out, or anything you think could have been explored more?
  7. Was it a page turner for you? Did you race to the end, or did you take it slow?
  8. Was it an easy read for you, or a challenging one?
  9. Would you recommend this book to other readers? Why (or why not)?
  10. Did this book remind you of any other books you’ve read? How would you shelve it in a bookstore, or describe its “vibe” to other readers?
  11. If you were adapting this book for the screen, who would you cast in it?
  12. Did you highlight any particular quotes or passages? Were there any sentences that stood out for you?
  13. Have you read any other books by this author? Would you want to, based on your experience reading this book?
  14. Have you ever experienced anything in your own life that you saw reflected in the book? If so, did you feel it was realistic or related to your own experience?
  15. Did anything about this book take you by surprise?
  16. Were you satisfied by the book’s ending? Did you feel everything was sufficiently resolved?
  17. What do you think would happen to the characters after the story “officially” ends?
  18. What questions would you ask the author about this book?
  19. Do you think this book will stay with you? Will you still be thinking about it in a few weeks, a few months, or a few years?
  20. Would you re-read this book?

Book Club Discussion Questions for Romance Books

  1. What did you think of the “spice” level in this book? Was it too spicy, not spicy enough, or just right for you?
  2. How did you feel about the leading characters? Could you see yourself “falling” for any of them?
  3. Were you “rooting for” the characters to end up together?
  4. Did the love story feel realistic to you? If not, why not?
  5. What were the main obstacles to the romance? Did you agree with how the characters went about overcoming them? What might you have done differently?
  6. How did the characters grow and develop over the course of the story? Did their romance support that growth, or diminish it?
  7. Were there any interesting side characters?
  8. What romantic tropes did you recognise in the story? Did you like them, or not?
  9. Did the story have a Happily Ever After ending? How do you feel about the “rule” that romance books must end happily?
  10. If the book is part of a series, would you want to read the next book?

Book Club Discussion Questions for Mysteries & Thrillers

  1. How did the author grab your attention? Was the story compelling from the start, or did it take a while to warm up to the mystery?
  2. Were there any/enough “twists” in this book for you? Did you see them coming? Did anything take you by surprise?
  3. Were there any red herrings? Did any of them throw you off track?
  4. Did the setting or atmosphere play a role in this story? How do you think it enhanced, or detracted from, the action?
  5. How did you feel about the characters’ choices along the way? Would you have chosen differently, if you were in their situation/s?
  6. How did the author raise the tension, and/or the stakes as the story developed? Do you feel like the story was well paced? Why/why not?
  7. How was law enforcement involved in this story? How do you feel about how they were portrayed?
  8. Did the villain have any redeeming qualities? Could you understand their actions, or empathise with their point of view?
  9. How did this book make you feel? Did you notice your heart racing, or did you get goosebumps?
  10. Were there any questions left unanswered, or mysteries left unsolved?

Book Club Discussion Questions for Literary Fiction

  1. How important was the time period and setting to the story? Could it have been set at a different time, or in a different place?
  2. Did this book win any awards or accolades? Do you agree with the judge’s decision(s)?
  3. Did the author incorporate any genre elements into the story? (Suspense, romance, magical realism, etc.) Did this enhance the story, or detract/distract from it?
  4. What do you think the author was trying to say or achieve with this book?
  5. Did this book, its characters or its story, evoke any emotional reactions from you? What were they?
  6. Did you find anything particularly challenging while reading this book?
  7. How did you feel about the author’s stylistic choices (e.g., punctuation and formatting)? Did they enhance or detract/distract from the story?
  8. Did the author use dialogue effectively? How did conversations between characters progress the story? Are there any conversations that stood out for you?
  9. Do you feel that the “mood” of this book is optimistic or pessimistic?
  10. If you’ve read other books by the author, how does this book fit in with their body of work? Are there any stories, themes, or characters that recur throughout their books?

Book Club Discussion Questions for Non-Fiction Books

  1. How would you describe the author’s style? Is this book fact-focused, story-focused, or emotion-focused?
  2. How was the book organised? Did it cover the subject chronologically, episodically, or thematically? Why do you think the author chose to write this book the way they did?
  3. Did you learn anything new from this book? Did it change the way you think about a particular subject?
  4. Were there any key “fun facts” that stuck out for you?
  5. Did you have to Google anything while reading this book?
  6. Did this book make you want to learn more about the subject/s it covers?
  7. Did this book inspire you to take action, or change anything in your own life?
  8. Is there anything you think the author missed? Do you think the author covered the subject in enough depth?
  9. Did you doubt the author’s authority on the subject at any stage? Did you question any of the information that they relayed?
  10. What do you think motivated the author to write this book, on this subject? Do you think they achieved their goal?

Book Club Discussion Questions for Sci-Fi & Fantasy

  1. Did the author do a good job of making the world and its lore believable? Did you think there was enough detail in the world building?
  2. Were there any maps, glossaries, or appendices included alongside the story? Did you find them helpful?
  3. Would you want to live in the world depicted in this story? Why (or why not)?
  4. Did any of the characters have special abilities or skills? Would you want to have them for yourself?
  5. How did the author depict different races, genders, or cultures in their fictional world?
  6. What were the metaphors in this story? How does the story and its setting relate to the real world?
  7. How did common themes – heroism, loyalty, destiny – factor into the story?
  8. Do you think the author’s style and voice suits speculative fiction?
  9. How does this book compare to other books you’ve read from the same genre? Can you see how other stories or authors have influenced this book?
  10. How do you feel about how violence and conflict were depicted in this book?

Book Club Discussion Questions for Classic Books

  1. Classic books usually have big reputations. How did what you know about the book or its author impact your reading experience? Do you think the book is overrated, or underrated?
  2. Have you ever read or watched any adaptations of this book? How do they compare to the original?
  3. Were there any classic lines, scenes or characters you recognised? Did they have any new resonance or meaning in their original context?
  4. If your edition of this book came with an introduction or footnotes, did you read them? Did they enhance your experience of the story, or detract from it?
  5. How do you think this book was received when it was originally published? Do you think its reputation has improved or deteriorated since then?


  1. *already forwarded to my book club*

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