Book club tips and inspiration

The Ultimate List of Book Club Discussion Questions for Fiction and Non-Fiction

Updated: Jan 10, 2024

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Author

Zoe Epstein

Have you ever found yourself in a lackluster book club where the discussion feels forced or superficial? If so, you’re not alone. At Bookclubs, we know meaningful conversation is instrumental to a rewarding book club experience. That's why we provide an online platform for discovering new books and organizing your club's meetings and discussions.

Our ultimate list of book club questions is designed to reinvigorate your book conversations, whether you’re already in a book club or looking to start one. With questions tailored to fiction and nonfiction works across genres, we aim to help you uncover deeper insights, connect with your fellow members on a more personal level, and simply get people talking.

So dive into our hand-picked discussion questions below, and when you're ready to take your book club to the next level, organize your next meeting and manage your club membership with Bookclubs.com or the Bookclubs app. From scheduling meetings and polling members, to tracking books and facilitating discussion with ready-made book club questions, we have all the tools you need to focus on the joy of reading together.

Jump ahead to the table of contents, or scroll down to find:

  • Part I: Book club questions for any and all books
  • Part II: Fiction book club questions by genre
  • Part III: Nonfiction book club questions by genre 

This is an extensive list of book club questions, so pick and choose the ones that suit your book and your group best. You can also modify them or add your own questions as you see fit. The important thing is to have fun and enjoy the book and the conversation.

Additional resources:

  • If you’re looking for book club questions for a specific book, the best place to start is Bookclubs' Book Club Discussion Guide center, which has tailored guides for hundreds of titles.    
  • Feeling overwhelmed by all the questions in this post? We’ve highlighted our top 12 favorite questions for any book.   
  • Want help with more than just discussion questions?  Bookclubs has you covered with free tools to manage club membership, schedule meetings, choose books, and more.  With Bookclubs’ app or website, you can poll members about meeting times or book choices, get automated calendar invites and meeting reminders, and track what your club has read, is currently reading, or wants to read next. Get your club set up on Bookclubs today!

Four women at a book club meeting

 

Book club questions for any book

General book club questions

  1. Would you recommend this book to someone?  Why or why not (or with what caveats)?
  2. What kind of reader would most enjoy this book? 
  3. How much did you know about this book before picking it up? What surprised you the most about the book?
  4. How thought-provoking did you find the book?  Did the book change your opinion about anything, or did you learn something new from it? If so, what? 
  5. How did the book make you feel? Did it evoke any emotions? Make you laugh, cry, or cringe?
  6. How, if at all, did this book relate to your own life?  Did it evoke any memories or create any connections for you?
  7. Did you highlight or bookmark any passages from the book? Did you have a favorite quote or quotes? If so, share which and why?
  8. What were some of your favorite scenes from the book? Why did they stand out to you?
  9. What was the most challenging or difficult part of the book for you to read or understand? How did you overcome it?
  10. How would you adapt this book into a movie? Who would you cast in the leading roles?
  11. If there was one thing about the book you could have improved, what would it be?
  12. Rate this book on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.  Why did you give the book the rating you did?  Did any part of this book club discussion change your rating from what it would have been directly after finishing the book? 

 

General book club questions – Author

  1. Who is the author and what is their background or experience in relation to the book?
  2. Why do you think the author wrote this book and what was their purpose or goal?
  3. How much do you think the author’s personal views or biases influenced the book and how do you feel about that?
  4. How does this book compare to other books by the same author or in the same genre?
  5. If you could ask the author one question about this book, what would it be?

 

General book club questions – Writing style

  1. Did you find the author’s writing style easy to read or hard to read? How long did it take you to get into the book? 
  2. How did the author use language, tone, structure, imagery, dialogue, etc. to tell the story and create an effect on the reader?
  3. Did the author use any literary devices, techniques, or styles to enhance their writing, and to what effect?
  4. Discuss the author’s use of symbols, metaphors, or imagery to convey their ideas or emotions.
  5. What did you like or dislike about the author’s writing style and why?
  6. How did the author’s writing style enhance or detract from the story or the message of the book?
  7. How would you describe the author’s writing style in a few words?
  8. Did the author’s style and voice suit the genre and tone of the book?

 

General book club questions – Themes:

  1. What were the main themes or messages of the book and how did they relate to the story?
  2. How did the book make you think or feel about a certain topic or issue?
  3. What did you learn from the book or what did it teach you about yourself or others?
  4. How did the book challenge or change your perspective or opinion on something?
  5. How relevant or relatable are the themes or messages of the book to your own life, or to society today?

 

Book club discussion questions for fiction

General fiction book club questions

  1. Who was your favorite character and why?
  2. Which character did you find the most complex or intriguing and why?
  3. How did the main character(s) change or grow throughout the story?
  4. How did the secondary characters impact or influence the main character(s) or story?
  5. Which character did you relate to or empathize with the most and why?
  6. Which character did you dislike or disagree with the most and why?
  7. Are there any characters you wish you could have given advice to? What would you tell them?
  8. What do you think happens to the characters after the novel concludes?
  9. How did the author create conflict and tension in the book? What was the main conflict or problem in the story and how was it resolved?
  10. How did the author keep you interested or surprised throughout the story?
  11. What was the most memorable or shocking scene or twist in the story and why?
  12. What was the most satisfying or disappointing part of the story and why?
  13. How did you feel about the ending? Was it satisfying or did you want more?

 

Mystery book club questions

  1. Were you surprised by who ended up being the person who committed the crime?  If you guessed who did it, what clues did you notice that made you suspect them?  If you were surprised, who did you think it was going to be instead?  What was the biggest red herring that threw you off track?
  2. How did the author introduce the main mystery or crime in the book? Did it grab your attention and make you curious right from the beginning?
  3. How did the author create suspense and intrigue throughout the book? What techniques did they use to keep you engaged and guessing?
  4. Did you find that the clues and evidence presented in the book made sense and fit together? If not, what stuck out for you?
  5. How did the author develop the main character(s), especially the detective or sleuth? Did you like them or find them interesting? Did they have any quirks or habits that made them memorable?
  6. How did the book end? Were you satisfied with the solution or reveal of the mystery or crime? Did it make sense and tie up all the loose ends?
  7. How did the author explore themes such as justice, truth, deception, or morality?

 

Thriller and horror book club discussion questions

  1. How did the setting and atmosphere of the book affect the mood and tone of the story? Did it create a sense of danger, mystery, dread or unease?
  2. How did the author generate suspense and tension throughout the book? How did they initially draw you in?  What techniques did they use to keep you hooked and on edge?
  3. Did the author surprise or shock you with twists and turns in the plot? Did you see them coming or were you caught off guard?  
  4. What did you think of the main character?  Did they make any decisions that you didn’t agree with in response to the conflict of the novel?
  5. Most thriller or horror stories have a villain.  How did the author portray them?  Did you understand their motives or methods? Did they have any redeeming qualities or human emotions?
  6. How did the author use different perspectives or narrators to tell the story? Did it add to the complexity or confusion of the plot? Did it reveal any secrets or clues that you missed before?
  7. How did the author balance the action and/or violence with the psychological and emotional aspects of the story? 
  8. How did the author explore themes such as justice, morality, revenge, loyalty, or survival?
  9. If there was a supernatural element to the story, what was its purpose?  Was it merely to advance to the plot or was it a metaphor for something else?
  10. Were you satisfied with the book’s outcome or did you have any questions or doubts left unanswered?

 

Historical fiction book club questions

  1. How did the author blend historical facts and fiction in this book? Did you find the book accurate and authentic?
  2. How did the author portray the historical setting and period of this book? Did you learn anything new or interesting about the time and place of the story?
  3. Did the author use any historical sources or references in this book? Did you find them helpful and credible?
  4. Did this book challenge or change your perspective on any historical events or figures? Did it make you want to learn more about them?
  5. How did this book relate to your own life experiences or interests in the present day? 
  6. If you could travel back in time to the historical setting and period of this book, what would you do or see?

 

Romance book club questions

  1. Was the romance believable to you? Why or why not?
  2. How did you feel about the main couple’s chemistry and compatibility? Did you root for them or not?
  3. What did you think of the main conflict or obstacle that kept the couple apart? Was it realistic or contrived?
  4. How did the setting and time period of the novel affect the romance? Did it add to the atmosphere or create challenges for the characters?
  5. How did the author balance the romance with other elements such as humor, suspense, drama, or social commentary?
  6. How did the secondary characters contribute to the story and the romance? Did you have a favorite or least favorite side character?
  7. What do you think happens to the main couple after the novel ends?
  8. How did the novel explore themes such as love, trust, communication, family, identity, or sexuality?
  9. How did you like the level of heat in the novel?

 

Fantasy book club questions

  1. How did the author create the fantasy world in the book? Did they provide any maps, glossaries, or appendices to help you understand it?
  2. Did the main characters have any special abilities or powers that made them unique or powerful?  If so, are these powers or abilities that you’d like to have?  Why or why not?  What would you do with these abilities?
  3. How did the author present the magic system in the book? Did they do a good job of explaining how it works and what its rules and limitations are? Did it make sense and fit with the story?
  4. How did the author portray any other races or creatures in the book? If so, what did you think of their culture or history? 
  5. How did the author use the setting and atmosphere of the book to enhance the fantasy and mood of the story? 
  6. How did the author explore themes such as heroism, destiny, loyalty, or morality?

 

Sci-fi book club questions

  1. How did the author create the science fiction world or scenario in the book? 
  2. Did the author use any scientific or technological concepts or theories to support their imagination?
  3. Did you find the world or scenario they created plausible?  Why or why not?  
  4. Contrast the science fiction world with our actual world.  Would you want to live in the world the author built?  
  5. What does the world of the book say about our actual world, if anything? Is it optimistic about a potential future or cautionary?
  6. How do the book’s characters react to the science fiction world or scenario they experience? How does it compare to how you would react if placed in this situation or world?
  7. Did the main characters have any special skills or abilities that made them fit or stand out in the science fiction world or scenario?

 

Book club discussion questions for non-fiction

General non-fiction book club questions

  1. How would you describe the book in one sentence? What is the main point or purpose of the book?
  2. What are some of the questions or criticisms you have about the book? How would you challenge or debate the author’s claims or arguments?
  3. How did the book change your opinion or perspective on the topic? Did it confirm or contradict any of your assumptions or expectations?
  4. What was the most memorable or impactful story, anecdote, or example in the book? Why did it stand out to you?
  5. What was the most surprising or shocking thing you learned from the book? How did it make you feel?
  6. How did the author engage and persuade you as a reader in the book? 
  7. How did the author’s choice of how to frame and organize the book impact its effectiveness for you?
  8. How did the author address any counter arguments or criticisms in the book? Did they acknowledge any limitations, gaps, or biases in their research or writing?  Did you find their arguments convincing?
  9. What are some of the ethical, moral, or social implications of the book? How does it challenge or support your values or beliefs?
  10. Did the book inspire you to take action, change your behavior, or think differently about something?
  11. What are some of the limitations or biases of the book? How does it reflect the author’s background, perspective, or agenda?

 

Memoir book club questions

  1. Did the author use a chronological, thematic, or episodic structure to tell their life story in the book, and how did this choice enhance their narrative?
  2. How did the author develop their voice and personality in the book? Did you like them or find them interesting? Did they have any humor, honesty, or insight that made them memorable or relatable?
  3. How did the author create interest and engagement in the book? What were the main events or turning points that shaped their life story? How did they capture your attention and curiosity?
  4. Did the author surprise you with any revelations or discoveries in the book? Did you learn anything new or unexpected about them or their life experiences?
  5. How did the author portray the other people in their life in the book? What was their influence or impact on the author’s life choices or outcomes?
  6. How did the author explore topics such as identity, family, relationships, career, or spirituality?
  7. How did the book end? Were you satisfied with the conclusion or reflection of the author’s life journey? 
  8. How did the author’s story make you reflect on your own life and experiences?
  9. Why do you think the author wanted to tell their story? What do you think is the main thing they wanted you to come away from reading the book with?  
  10. Did you find the author to be a reliable narrator of their own history? Why or why not?

 

Biography book club questions

  1. How did the author research and write the biography of the subject? Did they use any sources, interviews, or documents to support their facts and claims?  Did you trust that they are an authoritative source on the subject?
  2. How did the author portray the subject’s personality and character in the book? Did you like them or find them interesting? Did they have any strengths, weaknesses, or quirks that made them unique or influential?
  3. How did the author present the main achievements or contributions of the subject in the book? What made them noteworthy as the subject of a book? Did they make a lasting impact or legacy in their field or society?
  4. How did the author create interest and engagement in the book? What were the main events or challenges that shaped the subject’s life story? How did they capture your attention and curiosity?
  5. How much did you know about the subject of the book before reading?  Did you learn anything new or surprising about them?
  6. How did the author use the setting and context of the book to enhance the subject’s life story and perspective? Did the author succeed in creating a sense of time, place, or culture?
  7. How did the book end? Were you satisfied with the summary or evaluation of the subject’s life journey? Did it inspire you or challenge you in any way?

 

Self-help / personal development book club questions

  1. What was the main message or lesson of this book? Did you find it inspiring and motivating?
  2. How did this book relate to your own life experiences or interests? Did it inspire you to take any action or make any changes in your life?
  3. How do you plan to implement what you learned from this book in your daily life? What are some specific steps or strategies that you will use?
  4. What was the most useful or valuable advice or tip that you learned from this book? 
  5. How credible and reliable do you think this book is as a source of guidance and support on its topic or issue? What sources or references did the author cite that add to its credibility? 
  6. What questions do you still have after reading this book? What would you like to learn more about?
  7. What piece of advice from this book do you think will be most difficult for you to apply? Why? 
  8. Was there any guidance or advice in this book that you disagreed with?

 

Book club questions PDF

Looking for printable book club discussion questions to bring with you to book club?  To download a free, printable, PDF version of this ultimate list of 124 book club questions, click here.  

 

Book club questions for specific books

Bookclubs' Book Club Discussion Guide center has reading guides for hundreds of titles.  Check back often as we add new discussion guides every week.  If we don’t have a discussion guide for your upcoming book yet, request it to get notified when one is added, and to help us prioritize which guides to create!

 

Looking for more on how to run a book club discussion?

Coming prepared with good discussion questions is only the first step to a great book club conversation.  Bookclubs also has all the club organizing tools you’ll need to keep your book club running smoothly. 

  • Automated Meeting Scheduling & Reminders: The meeting syncs with your calendar and all members receive meeting reminders so whether you’re meeting virtually or in-person, you’re keeping book club on the calendar!
  • Interactive Polls: Avoid those lengthy email chains with our interactive polls for book selection, choosing your next meeting time, and more.
  • Message Boards & 1:1 Direct Messages: Share your latest book banter with direct messaging features and club message boards.
  • Digital Shelving: Keep track of what your club (or you) has read and wants to read next. See in an instant what your club is reading this month, view your past reads in one place, and recommend books to each other – so you always have options for what to read next!
  • Grow Your Club: Looking to connect with readers outside your personal circle? Open your club to the public and find new members in your hometown or across the globe.

Say hello to a better book club experience today and create your club on Bookclubs.

 

Create your profile, start and join a book club, track your reading, and more.

COMMENTS

Cristina Felix

Feb 05, 2024 - 1 month

Where do we ask oddly specific yet vague questions like “What’s a good fantasy romance where the main character falls in love with a side character instead of the obvious prince”?

Zoe E. (Bookclubs)

Sep 26, 2023 - 5 months

Hi Valerie, for specific books, visit www.bookclubs.com/discussion-guides. We have questions for hundreds of the most popular book club books.

Valerie Giglio

Aug 19, 2023 - 1 year

Do you have specific questions for a specific book?