Novel Book Club

Everyone is welcome to join in the discussion!
 

  • This group meets every month on the third Thursday at 7pm.  
  • New members are always welcome! 
  • Copies of the current book club selection are available at the Library - you do not have to place a hold on the book yourself, we have already done that for you!  Just ask for the current book at the front desk, then come to the next meeting.
  • Discussion questions or guides are usually provided with the book and on this webpage (when available for the current book.)
  • If you would like to be on the email list for this club, please send an email to jzambory@marigold.ab.ca.
  • Suggestions for books for the club to read are encouraged!
  • This group has a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/CPLNovelbookclub

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March 19 2015

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

SHORTLISTED 2014 - Scotiabank Giller Prize Miriam Toews is beloved for her irresistible voice, for mingling laughter and heartwrenching poignancy like no other writer. In her most passionate novel yet, she brings us the riveting story of two sisters, and a love that illuminates life. You won't forget Elf and Yoli, two smart and loving sisters. Elfrieda, a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, happily married: she wants to die. Yolandi, divorced, broke, sleeping with the wrong men as she tries to find true love: she desperately wants to keep her older sister alive. Yoli is a beguiling mess, wickedly funny even as she stumbles through life struggling to keep her teenage kids and mother happy, her exes from hating her, her sister from killing herself and her own heart from breaking. But Elf's latest suicide attempt is a shock: she is three weeks away from the opening of her highly anticipated international tour. Her long-time agent has been calling and neither Yoli nor Elf's loving husband knows what to tell him. Can she be nursed back to "health" in time? Does it matter? As the situation becomes ever more complicated, Yoli faces the most terrifying decision of her life. All My Puny Sorrows , at once tender and unquiet, offers a profound reflection on the limits of love, and the sometimes unimaginable challenges we experience when childhood becomes a new country of adult commitments and responsibilities. In her beautifully rendered new novel, Miriam Toews gives us a startling demonstration of how to carry on with hope and love and the business of living even when grief loads the heart.

There are no discussion questions for this book, so here are Litlover’s general fiction questions:
 
1. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to "get into it"? How did you feel reading it—amused, sad, disturbed, confused, bored...?
 
2. Describe the main characters—personality traits, motivations, inner qualities. 
   • Why do characters do what they do? 
   • Are their actions justified?
   • Describe the dynamics between characters
     (in a marriage, family, or friendship). 
   • How has the past shaped their lives? 
   • Do you admire or disapprove of them? 
   • Do they remind you of people you know?
 
3. Do the main characters change by the end of the book? Do they grow or mature? Do they learn something about themselves and how the world works?
 
4. Is the plot engaging—does the story interest you? Is this a plot-driven book: a fast-paced page-turner? Or does the story unfold slowly with a focus on character development? Were you surprised by the plot's complications? Or did you find it predictable, even formulaic?
 
5. Talk about the book's structure. Is it a continuous story...or interlocking short stories? Does the time-line move forward chronologically...or back and forth between past and present? Does the author use a single viewpoint or shifting viewpoints? Why might the author have chosen to tell the story the way he or she did—and what difference does it make in the way you read or understand it?
 
6. What main ideas—themes—does the author explore? (Consider the title, often a clue to a theme.) Does the author use symbols to reinforce the main ideas? (See our free LitCourses on both Symbol and Theme.)
 
7. What passages strike you as insightful, even profound? Perhaps a bit of dialog that's funny or poignant or that encapsulates a character? Maybe there's a particular comment that states the book's thematic concerns?
 
8. Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not...and how would you change it?
 
9. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask? Have you read other books by the same author? If so how does this book compare. If not, does this book inspire you to read others?
 
10. Has this novel changed you—broadened your perspective? Have you learned something new or been exposed to different ideas about people or a certain part of the world?
 
(Questions by LitLovers.)
 
 
 
Event Date: 
2015 Mar 19 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm