We've been busy beavers at Eckhartz Press readying our next book for publication ("Cheeseland" by Randy Richardson), but we're also in the midst of putting together "book club packages". Look for more details about that in the coming weeks.
Until those are ready for release, however, we've been asked by fans of our first two books to put together some discussion questions for book clubs. We know there are several book clubs currently reading both "The Living Wills" and "Down at the Golden Coin". Hopefully these questions prepared by our authors will spur discussion and debate.
1) The Living Wills is a very "Chicago" book. Does the location add/subtract to your enjoyment of the story?
2) The three story lines all eventually intersect. Did it throw you off before the story lines came together?
3) Were you surprised by the way any of these story lines intersected with each other?
4) Which of the three story lines did you relate to the most, and why?
5) How does Peter's journey to find the video parallel the reader's journey to understanding Henry?
6) How does the funeral at the beginning of the novel differ from the funeral at the end of the novel?
7) What role does spirituality play in the plot? Is that something you can relate to?
8) How does the comic element serve to balance the dramatic element of the story?
9) How does the theme of "everything is connected" reveal itself in the plot as well as in the actual structure of the novel?
10) What events in your own lives have happened in "two seconds" and changed everything?
1) How do you think you would react if you met someone claiming to be God at the laundromat, or anywhere else for that matter? Would you believe right away or would you, like Annie, demand a lot of proof? Is this something you would like to have happen, or would you prefer to never meet a Messiah in person?
2) Do you think Violet is who she says she is? Why do you think the author chose to have her be so young? Female? Pierced and tatted?
3) Why do you think Violet makes Annie go through all the “work” to come to her realizations and epiphanies, as opposed to just doing what Annie refers to as using her “little Messiah magic tricks?”
4) If you suspected your spouse was having an affair, would you, like Annie, choose to ignore the elephant in the room or would you initiate a confrontation right away? Do you think Annie and Jack’s marriage will survive his infidelity? Why or why not?
5) Have you ever learned something from your children that made you feel like the parenting tables had been turned? Have you ever found out your children knew a secret you’d thought you’d successfully kept from them?
6) Do you think God, (or a Higher Force or your Soul or whatever you want to call it) communicates with you? Do you have any examples from your own life?
7) Symbolism is prevalent throughout the story. Give some examples and describe what you think they mean.
8) Do you live in the moment, the Now, or do your find yourself, like Annie, worrying about the future or dwelling in the past?
9) The author draws on her belief that we all create our own realities. Do you think you have the ability to create your own reality? Do you have any examples from your own life that demonstrate this ability to be true or not true? Did you read The Secret and try its techniques? If so, what were your results and why do you believe you were successful or not successful?
10) How do you think the “Great Recession” has impacted how we as a society view wealth and money? Has it changed your personal view? Annie is a pretty materialistic person. How do you think she’ll do going forward with her new “enough is enough” philosophy?