Monday, 30 January 2012

Book group - Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch

The January book group tackled Jamrach's Menagerie and we were much surprised to find only one set of book group questions on the internet.  This is despite the fact the book was: on the Richard and Judy Autumn reads; shortlisted for the Booker Prize and; longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. So! We decided to write a list of questions for any other budding book groups out there looking. If you think of any others, please do leave a comment.

Firstly, we found some questions on the WH Smith website and they are:
  1. Some parts of the novel are based on real events. Discuss the use of real events in fiction.
  2. The novel perfectly captures the world of the nineteenth century. What as a reader do you find most interesting about the setting?
  3. One of the most compelling sections of the novel is when Jaffy and the others are adrift. Discuss the moral dilemmas that face them in this situation.
  4. Jaffy is a fantastic character, thrown in to unusual situations. Do we see him as the hero of the novel?
I hope WH Smith don't mind me listing them.

We thought that they could have been simpler so abbreviated them to:
  1. What do you think about the fact that the story is centered on two real life events?
  2. What do you find the most interesting about the book's setting?
  3. Discuss the moral dilemas that face the characters.
  4. Do you see Jaffy as the hero of the novel?
In addition to this we asked:
  1. Did you like the book and if so why/why not?
  2. What do you think of the title of the book? (as you can see by the title of the blog post we had fun making up new titles!)
  3. What do you think about the book cover? (we had two different book covers and we discussed both)
  4. What do you think you would have done if you were in a similiar situation?
  5. What was the strongest of the five senses throughout the book and why?
  6. Do you think it's a book that men might like reading? (we are all girls in our book group!)
We hope that future book groups find this useful. Let us know!


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