How To

50 Great Book Club Discussion Questions For Any Book

Teresa Preston

Staff Writer

Since 2008, Teresa Preston has been blogging about all the books she reads at Shelf Love. She supports her book habit by working as a magazine editor at a professional association in the Washington, DC, area, which is (in)conveniently located just a few steps from a used bookstore. When she’s not reading or editing, she’s likely to be attending theatre, practicing yoga, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer again, or doting on her toothless orange cat, Anya. Twitter: @teresareads

I’ve been in a lot of book clubs, and I know it’s not always easy to get a conversation going on a book. I’ve found that the best book club discussion questions are ones that are open-ended and that get people to share their personal opinions. If you’re ready to start a book club, here are 50 of the best book club questions, for fiction and nonfiction alike. Find a printable list to bring to your meeting here!

How did I create this list of book club discussion questions? 

Simply put, I’ve assembled a list of the kinds of questions that are likely to get people talking. Most of these are non-specific and designed to work for any book. Although, of course, some will work better than others for particular books).

I’ve also included a few questions that are meant for specific types of books, like fiction or nonfiction. Just pick and choose the discussion questions that work best for you and your book group, and get the conversation going! Bring the printable questions along for help.

a stack of books agains a teal background. Text above the image reads "50 Great Book Club Discussion Questions"

General Book Club Discussion Questions

1. What did you like best about this book?

2. What did you like least about this book?

3. What other books did this remind you of?

4. Which characters in the book did you like best?

5. Which characters did you like least?

6. If you were making a movie of this book, who would you cast?

7. Share a favorite quote from the book. Why did this quote stand out?

8. What other books by this author have you read? How did they compare to this book?

9. Would you read another book by this author? Why or why not?

10. What feelings did this book evoke for you?

11. What did you think of the book’s length? If it’s too long, what would you cut? If too short, what would you add?

12. What songs does this book make you think of? Create a book group playlist together!

13. If you got the chance to ask the author of this book one question, what would it be?

14. Which character in the book would you most like to meet?

15. Which places in the book would you most like to visit?

16. What do you think of the book’s title? How does it relate to the book’s contents? What other title might you choose?

17. What do you think of the book’s cover? How well does it convey what the book is about? If the book has been published with different covers, which one do you like best?

18. What do you think the author’s purpose was in writing this book? What ideas was he or she trying to get across?

19. How original and unique was this book?

20. If you could hear this same story from another person’s point of view, who would you choose?

21. What artist would you choose to illustrate this book? What kinds of illustrations would you include?

22. Had you heard about the book before starting it? Do you think it was overhyped or should be celebrated more?

Book Club Discussion Questions for Fiction

23. Did this book seem realistic?

24. How well do you think the author built the world in the book?

25. Did the characters seem believable to you? Did they remind you of anyone?

26. Did the book’s pace seem too fast/too slow/just right?

27. If you were to write fanfic about this book, what kind of story would you want to tell?

28. Was the pacing— beginning, middle, and end— done well?

29. Which other character would have made an interesting protagonist?

30. Did the characters’ motives seem reasonable or a little far-fetched?

31. Sometimes books start off strong, but have endings that fall a little flat. Then there are books that are a little hard to get into at first, but are enjoyable after a while. How did you find this one?

32. If there were any twists or big reveals, how believable were they?

33. How did the setting progress the story?

34. Was there symbolism present? If so, what did you think of the message the author was trying to convey?

Book Club Questions for Nonfiction

35. What did you already know about this book’s subject before you read this book?

36. What new things did you learn?36. What questions do you still have?

38. What else have you read on this topic, and would you recommend these books to others?

39. What do you think about the author’s research? Was it easy to see where the author got his or her information? Were the sources credible?

40. Conveying research in a way that’s understandable and enjoyable to read for non-experts can be a challenge. How well do you feel the author did this? What do you think of their writing style?

Discussion Questions for Memoir

41. What aspects of the author’s story could you most relate to?

42. How honest do you think the author was being?

43. What gaps do you wish the author had filled in? Were there points where you thought he shared too much?

44. Think about the other people in the book besides the author. How would you feel to have been depicted in this way?

45. Why do you think the author chose to tell this story?

Book Club Discussion Questions for Short Story and Essay Collections

46. Which short story/essay did you like best?

47. Which short story/essay did you like least?

48. What similarities do these stories share? How do they tie together?

49. Do you think any of the stories could be expanded into a full-length book?

50. There have been many popular films that have been adapted from short stories. Which of these do you think would be well adapted into a show or movie?

Printable Book Club Questions

Download all of these in an easy book club printable here.

For more book club help, check out puntastic and fun book club names, some of the best book club books for 2022, and how to start a book club.