What we're about

A virtual book club that meets regularly on a Sunday evening. Annually, members of the club suggest and vote on book selections for discussion.

To help facilitate discussion, questions are posted with the event. Members are not expected to read or prepare responses to the questions prior to the event and not all the questions maybe used. In addition, members may bring their own questions to the event.

Upcoming events (2)

What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism by Dan Rather

Online event

Zoom details will be sent to RSVPs a few days before the event study questions are:

1. What observations are made in the book?

2. Does the author criticize or admire the culture? Does he/she wish to preserve or change the way of life? Either way, what
would be risked or gained?

3. What do you find most surprising, intriguing or
difficult to understand?

4. What evidence does the author use to support the book's ideas? Is the evidence convincing...definitive or...speculative? Does the author depend on personal opinion, observation, and assessment? Or is the evidence factual—based on science, statistics, historical documents, or quotations from (credible) experts?

5. What kind of language does the author use? Is it objective and dispassionate? Or passionate and earnest? Is it biased, inflammatory, sarcastic? Does the language help or undercut the author's premise?

6. What are the implications for the future? Are there long- or short-term consequences to the issues raised in the book? Are they positive or negative...affirming or frightening?

7.What solutions does the author propose? Are the author's recommendations concrete, sensible, doable? Who would implement those solutions?

8. How controversial are the issues raised in the book? Who is aligned on which sides of the issues?

9. Talk about specific passages that struck you as significant—or interesting, profound, amusing, illuminating, disturbing, sad...? What was memorable?

10. What have you learned after reading this book? Has it broadened your perspective about a difficult issue—personal or societal? Has it introduced you to a culture in another country...or an ethnic or regional culture in your own country?

Murmer of Bees by Sofia Segovia

Needs a location

We will zoom to discuss The Murmer of Bees. Zoom information will be provided prior to the event.

Discussion Questions:
1. The novel shares a perspective on storytelling in pages compared to owning your own story: Simonopio knew there were stories that one could read in books, with black words on white pages. He was not interested in those, because once printed they were indelible, unchanging. Each reader had to follow the order of words indicated in those pages exactly, until they each arrived inexorably at the same outcome. (p. 145) and “Being in possession of that story meant Simonopio could make endless changes, could add or remove characters as he saw fit and give them the traits of the people around him.” (p. 146)
How does the writing style of The Murmur of Bees reflect storytelling?

2. The novel explores both the love of family and the love of land. From Nana Rega losing her child and becoming a wet nurse to the brotherhood between Simonopia and Francisco, Jr., the family bonds are tight and loving. What moments and descriptions best encompass love in your reading of the novel?

3. Explore how your memories change over time. In the novel Francisco Morales, Jr. muses: Memories are a curious thing: while I always felt fortunate to have a few photographs of my father, they ended up contaminating my memories of him, because I looked at them so much, they gradually replaced the flesh-and-blood man whose body had a smell, whose voice had a timbre, whose hair would ruffle, and whose smile, when he unleashed it, was more contagious than the flu.(p. 437).
Do find this is true? How have your memories been altered with the passage of time?

4. In the end, Beatrix choses not to ask Simonopia what happened on the day that her husband died.
Have you ever felt that not knowing would help you move on better than knowing?

5. There is mysticism and magic woven into the daily life through the bees that follow and lead Simonopia, Simonopia’s mysterious disease that saves the family from contracting the flu during the pandemic, and Simonopia and Francisco Morales Jr’s ability to communicate clearly with one another.
What is your reaction to this magical realism?
Do you experience magical realism in your life?

6. Aging and its effects on one’s mind and body are shared through both narrators, most especially through Francisco, Jr.

How reliable is Francisco, Jr. as a narrator as he tells this story as an old man? How do you think his age and recollection have changed events or moments?

7. Death is presented in all its humanity, with sorrow and grief and guilt and even humor in the story of Lázaro rising from the dead and the reflections the living have as they mourn their dead. Now they felt devastated, understanding—for the first time, perhaps, and firsthand—the true meaning of death: that there is no going back and that anything that was not said in time would never be said.(p. 273)

What comes to mind as you read the last part of the quote above that there is no going back and anything that was not said would never be said?

8. The 1918 pandemic forms the traumatic start to the novel.

What did you know about that pandemic before reading the novel? Did you find any parallels to Covid-19?

9. The novel closes with hope and reflections on life gifts:

What gifts do you feel life offers and where and when does healing occur?

Past events (99)

The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes

Online event

Photos (27)