Tips for Reading a Book for Discussion

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Tips for Reading a Book for Discussion

Here are a few great tips i got from

How to read a book for discussion

1. Make notes and mark pages as you go.
Ask questions of yourself and mark down pages you might want to refer back to. Making notes as you go slows down your reading but saves you the time of searching out important passages later.

2. Ask tough questions of yourself and the book.
Asking questions of yourself as you read means you don’t know the answer yet, and sometimes you never will discover the answers. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions because often the author is presenting difficult issues for that very purpose. Look for questions that may lead to in-depth conversations with your group and make the book more meaningful.

3. Analyze the themes of the book.
Try to analyze the important themes of a book and consider what premise the author started with. Imagine an author mulling over the beginnings of the story, asking himself, “what if…” questions.

4. Get to know the characters.
When you meet the characters in the book, place yourself at the scene. Think about their faults and their motives. What would it be like to interact with them? Are the tone and style of their dialogue authentic? Read portions aloud to get to know the voices of the characters.

5. Notice the structure of the book.
Sometimes an author uses the structure of the book to illustrate an important concept or to create a mood. Notice how the author structured the book. Are chapters prefaced by quotes? If so, how do they apply to the content of the chapters? How many narrators tell the story? Who are they? How does the sequence of events unfold to create the mood of the story? Is it written in flashbacks? Does the order the author chose make sense to you?

6. Make comparisons to other books and authors.
Compare the book to others by the same author, or to books by other authors that have a similar theme or style. Often, themes run through an author’s works that are more fully realized by comparison. Comparing one author’s work with another’s can help you solidify your opinions, as well as define for you qualities you may otherwise miss.