Friday, July 31, 2009

BC Discussion ?s: Guernsey

For the month of July, we read Shaffer and Barrow's The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The following are the discussion questions we used:

1. What was it like to read a novel composed entirely of letters? What do letters offer that no other form of writing (not even emails) can convey?

2. Dawsey first wrote to Juliet because books were so difficult to obtain on Guernsey in the aftermath of the war. What makes book lovers unique, across all generations?

3. What were your first impressions of Dawsey? Did your ideas about him change as the book progressed?

4. Discuss the writers who capture the hearts of the members of the Society. What does a reader’s taste in books say about his or her personality? Whose lives were changed the most by membership in the society? +/-

5. In what ways were Juliet and Elizabeth kindred spirits? What did Elizabeth’s spontaneous invention of the society, as well as her brave final act, say about her approach to life?

6. Numerous Guernsey residents give Juliet access to their private memories of the occupation. Which voices were most memorable for you? What was the effect of reading a variety of responses to a shared tragedy?

7. How did Remy’s presence enhance the lives of those on Guernsey?

8. What historical facts about life in England during World War II were you especially surprised to discover? In what ways does fiction provide a means for more fully understanding a non-fiction truth?

9. Do you agree with Isola that “reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones”?

10. Which of the members of the Society is your favorite? Whose literary opinions are most like your own?

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