Book Club update… the Discussability Issue

Book club snacks!
With this book club update, I’m introducing a new element: the Discussability Score. 

(I know: thrilling!)

Two factors feed into the Discussability Score:
  1. How engaging was our book club’s discussion? Did we discuss the book in depth and/or at length? 
  2. How discussable do I think this book would be for other book clubs?
The Discussability Score is on a 5-point scale:
1 = Nobody has a word to say.
2 = You talk about the book for 5 minutes before someone mentions upcoming vacation plans and you never allude to the book ever again in your natural life.
3 = The book generates some discussion, but none of it is very zippy or interesting. But you’ve done your duty and now you can drink some wine and feel virtuously intellectual because you talked about a book.
4 = You all have interesting things to say about the book, and you’re all excited to be talking about it. The discussion goes on for quite a while, and it’s lively.
5 = Your group keeps talking and talking. Eventually, you talk about your vacation plans, but you keep leaping back to the book. And this thing has an afterlife… you’ll bring it up again and again at future book club meetings.

So let’s score these puppies!

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Discussability Score: 4
Because: We talked about the things that surprised us in this book, and also about the things we would’ve done differently if we were writing the book

Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington
Discussability Score: 5
Because: We kept talking about the characters’ motivations and their social circumstances, and the fact that the book has surprising depths that creep up on a person

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
Discussability Score: 5
Because: We talked and talked and talked about this book — the motivation of the characters, whether we could identify with the main character, how it reflected the era when it was written, and how it fit into the suspense genre 
Next up: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

7 thoughts on “Book Club update… the Discussability Issue

  1. I love your Discussability Scoring. Books we enjoy don't always merit much discussion, while books we don't even like that much can lengthy discussions. For a book club, a discussable book is much preferred whether you "liked" the book or not. 🙂

  2. I like your "discussability" quotient…it's a very important characteristic to have in a book club book. I thought Strangers on a Train was a great read, but then it's also my favorite Hitchcock movie. And I really liked Quiet. Hope your book club isn't silent on that read. 🙂

  3. I think people will have a lot to say about Quiet, if only sharing some of their experiences being an introvert (or not) and whether Cain's examples and arguments fit into their lives.

    I tend to think books with characters who make "bad" decisions, or at least decisions that seem outside the norm or in some way controversial, make some of the best book club reads.

  4. Kim — I'm partway through Quiet, and I think you're completely correct. So much to discuss!

    And I'm right there with you — when characters make bad or unexpected decisions, the discussion gets zippy. We discussed the motivations of Guy (Strangers on a Train) for a long time — fascinating.

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