Thursday, 24 November 2011

Little Bee / The Other Hand - Questions

Hello everyone,

Here are some questions to think about for the meeting on Thursday:

- Little Bee says of horror films, “Horror in your country is something you take a dose of to remind yourself that you are not suffering from it” (p. 45). Do you agree? Was reading this novel in any way a dose of horror for you? How did it help you reflect on the presence or lack of horror in your own life?

- Little Bee figures out the best way to kill herself in any given situation, just in case “the men come suddenly.” How do these plans help Little Bee reclaim some power? Were you disturbed by this, or were you able to find the humor in some of the scenarios she imagines?

- Suicide comes up several times in the novel. Do you think there is a difference in the refugee's suicide in the barn and Andrew's?

- Why do you think Andrew refused to cut off his finger but Sarah was able to? Do you think you would have?

Questions from Good Reads.

The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde

This book is definitely a marmite book, you either love it or you hate it. We had both ends of the scale in the bookclub on Thursday.

Thos that didn't enjoy it as much felt that there were too many in jokes, it felt as you were reading that you might be missing things that other readers were enjoying. Often we felt that characters were more along the lines of plot devices rather than actual characters. They sometimes didn't make a great deal of sense other than to make something happen within the story. For example, Hades was hard to understand as a character but was better understood as a plot device.

We all agreed it was in a similar vein to Terry Pratchett, it felt very light hearted for an adult novel although it also contained a great deal of deeper literary references. It felt to many of the group like a comic book that had been created in written rather than pictorial form. We could all see it clearly as a film or a cartoon rather than a book. This is interesting because Jasper worked originally in film, maybe his film eye is better than his writing eye?

One important thing to note is the length of time is takes to get into a Jasper Fforde book, this was not something some of the members enjoyed. It really does take a while for his books to get going so there's a lot of investment of time reading the first book of a series. Once you get into further books the investment then pays off, but this is not immediately obvious on only reading the first book from one of his series.

The most interesting thing to many of the members was the love of literature shown by everyone in Jasper's world. We wondered what it would be like if our world valued writing and books in the same way, rather then fixating on famous people and sports stars. We also tried to decide whether we would prefer to be able to time travel or book jump as a special skill. Some prefered to visit their favourite novels, others would prefer to travel in time to (for example) find out who wrote the Shakepeare plays!

Overall we gave the book 7 out of 10 with scores ranging from 2 to 9 showing the love/hate relationship readers had with this book. Those that enjoyed would like to go on and read other books by Jasper.

The Eyre Affair- Questions


Here are some questions to direct our discussion next Thursday (27th October):

- Who is the worse villain, Acheron Hades or Jack Schitt? Which sentence do you think is worse—death by a silver bullet to the heart or an eternity trapped in Poe's "The Raven"?

- Thursday says, "All my life I have felt destiny tugging at my sleeve. Few of us have any real idea what it is we are here to do and when it is that we are to do it. Every small act has a knock-on consequence that goes on to affect those about us in unseen ways. I was lucky that I had so clear a purpose." In a world where time is so pliable, can there be such a thing as destiny? Was there a defining moment in your life when you understood what your own purpose was?

- Acheron Hades claims that pure evil is as rare as pure good. Do you think either exists in our world?

Questions from Reading Group Guides.