This is my first attempt at writing book club questions for SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH, and it’s been so interesting, not least because it’s forced me to look at my own writing as dispassionately as possible. I’ve tried to keep the questions as closely as possible to those I’ve been asked at readings and in interviews.
The initial impetus for these questions came because of the on-line discussion about the book on the Write It Down-ith blog on 31st January. If you would like to join in, then I’m sure you would be welcomed. I won’t be joining in, so you can feel free to say what you want!
Otherwise, maybe it’ll even encourage you to use SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH for your book club’s next read. In which case, yes please and thank you!
1. The book is organised in alphabetical format. How do you think the fragmented style fits with the themes in this story? How did it affect the reading experience for you? (nb. you can read about the structure here.
2. Verity spends a lot of time either remembering the past or fantasising the future. Do you think this is a statement about how she perceives her present life, and how much do you think the past informs our present day experience?
3. There is a lot about names in this book – Names/Surnames. How much do you think names affect a person? What is the story behind your name? What would you like to be called?
4. Many of Verity’s key decisions have been made because of Sally. Do you think it is possible that a friendship can make such an impact?
5. What do you think Sally got out of her friendship with Verity?
6. Verity claims herself that she doesn’t have a sense of humour, which is an excuse for the author to tell bad jokes. What is your favourite joke?
7. Why do you think Verity says, ‘I have a sneaking suspicion that if women laughed less, men might be happier’?
8. What were Verity’s reasons for not telling John about her inheritance?
9. The novel was originally called ‘The Lexicon of Love’, but do you think Verity is searching for security, rather than love? Are they the same thing?
10. Did you follow the reading index at the end, and if so, did it yield any surprises?
11. Verity says she wants to matter (WEIGHT)? Why do you think she doesn’t? Do you agree?
12. Which entry was your favourite, and why?
and, as an extra, I thought I would post up here just four of the different covers (and titles) SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH has had in other countries. I wonder which one you like best? I have my favourite, but am not saying (for obvious reasons)!