Welcome to Storie delle Sorelle

Welcome to the blog for SdelleS. To learn more about our book club check out my first blog entry or read about our members. Or check out our ReadingGroupGuides.com interview here! Using the links to the right, you can browse the books we've read and rated or visit some of my favorite sites for book clubs on the web. How about some questions to consider as you read a book? This site is meant to provide a wealth of information for all readers so I hope you enjoy your visit! Please post a comment or contact me with any questions or thoughts. :)

Monday, October 22

Questions to Ponder as You Read a Book

While reading through the 3rd edition of The Book Group Book I came across a list of questions used by a very large and very formal book discussion group in San Antonio, Texas. I've modified that list slightly and am posting here. These questions are not necessarily things we would discuss at our meetings but they will help you to look at any book with the eye of a literary critic. Taking the time to consider these questions as you read will give you more insight into the book and likely provoke deeper discussion at our meetings. Enjoy!


Questions to Help Analyze Literary Style

Style
1. Is there anything strikingly different about the author’s style?
2. Does the author use figures of speech?
3. Is there much wit or humor? Pathos?
4. Is there anything unusual about the author’s method of description?
5. Is there much dialogue? Is it natural? What is its purpose?
6. Do you feel the author is a close observer of life? Is the author sensitive to life?
7. Does the author ever moralize or seem didactic?
8. Is the author particularly interested in moral problems? Social problems?
9. Does the author succeed in evoking an emotional response from the reader?

Theme
10. What are the themes? Are they universal or shallow?
11. Is the title related to the theme? Is it appropriate? Effective?
12. Is the setting essential to the story (i.e. are the particular times and places especially important)?

Setting
13. Is an unusual amount of space devoted to establishing the setting? Is so, what seems to be the reason?
14. Are the descriptions important either in establishing mood or atmosphere?
15. Is nature unused to increase the effect of a scene?
16. Are there many changes of scene? Why or why not?

Characters
17. Can the character development of the protagonist be readily traced? How and why did she or he change?
18. What use is made of minor characters?
19. Could any characters have been omitted? If so, why has the author included them?
20. What are the author’s methods of character portrayal?
21. Who are the ‘essentially evil’ characters? Do they have any redeeming qualities?
22. Who are the ‘essentially good’ characters? Do they have any detracting qualities?
23. Do the characters seem more important than the action? Is what they are more important than what they do?

Plot
24. What is the basic conflict of the plot?
25. How is the exposition handled?
26. How is suspense created and maintained?
27. Is each chapter a unit? How does it begin? End? What keeps it going?
28. Is the hand of the author apparent in the plot or is what happens the natural outgrowth of the circumstances, the character, and their interactions?
29. Is there foreshadowing? Is it signposted by the author?
30. What is the method of narration (chronological, flashback, diary, letters, parallel events, etc.)?
31. Are there episodes, incidents, or chapters that might have been omitted as far as the plot is concerned? If so, why did the author include them?
32. What makes the first scene a fitting beginning? Or is it?
33. What makes the last scene a fitting (or unfitting) ending?
34. Is the basic conflict of the plot completely and logically resolved?

Other
35. What do you learn or assume to be the author’s sense of morals or moral values?
36. Is there close integration of plot, character, setting and theme?
37. What have you learned that will help you to “live more finely”?

For those of us who have been out of school for a while, here are some helpful definitions:

Didactic designed or intended to teach OR making moral observations

Exposition a setting forth of the meaning or purpose of a literary work

Figure of speech a form of expression (as a simile or metaphor) used to convey meaning or heighten effect often by comparing or identifying one thing with another that has a meaning or connotation familiar to the reader or listener

Narration to tell (as a story) in detail

Pathos an element in a literary work evoking pity or compassion

Protagonist the principal character in a literary work

Setting the time and place of the action of a literary, dramatic, or cinematic work

Signposted to provide with guides in a literary work

Style a distinctive manner of expression

Theme a subject or topic of discourse in a literary work


2 comments:

Jessica Dotta said...

Greetings, I have a question, but I don't see contact information.

Heather J. said...

Hi Jessica - you can contact me at SharingMyStory@yahoo.com :)