20 questions for the well-read book club

Things Oprah would never ask, or would never have to ask.
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Things Oprah would never ask, or would never have to ask.

Seattle is now home to 93,301 book discussion groups. With one group for every six residents, Seattle ranks fourth, behind Pascagoula, La., Fort Wayne, Ind., and Twin Falls, Idaho, in book clubs per capita. Given this level of interest, Flip Side will assist book club members. Not all books include suggested questions for group discussions. For example, none of the four books I read this morning – The Aeneid by Virgil (Fagels translation), Writing and Difference by Jacques Derrida (Bass Translation), Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, and Sex Kittens Go To College by H. Chardon – offered suggested discussion questions. If your next book group selection does not contain suggested questions, use these:

  1. Is there any red wine left?
  2. What book were we supposed to read?
  3. Why is George being such a jerk tonight?
  4. Where are we meeting next month?
  5. Does Alicia ever shut up?
  6. Is there any white wine left?
  7. Who ate all of the vegetable terrine?
  8. Has anyone read the book?
  9. Is the Seattle City Council relevant to this book?
  10. Is the Seattle City Council relevant to anything?
  11. Good point, but is the Seattle City Council relevant to anything other than junior high student councils debating amendments to their mission statements?
  12. Does the date for the August meeting conflict with vacations?
  13. Why doesn't anyone ever read the book?
  14. Have you ever heard a dumber statement?
  15. Is this book supposed to be fiction or non-fiction?
  16. Is there any beer left?
  17. Does anyone know anything about the author?
  18. What book are we supposed to read next month?
  19. Do you have any cooking Sherry?
  20. Since there is no beer and no wine, do you have a can of Sterno and stale bread to pour it through to remove the toxins?
Serious advice: If you or your book group want to combine humor with philosophy, try Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, which debuted this week as No. 4 on the New York Times non-fiction bestsellers list.   

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