Elephant Company
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  1. Did you know anything about this person/subject prior to reading this book? What preconceived opinions did you have and did those change after reading the book?
  2. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to get into it? How did feel reading it amused, sad, disturbed, confused, bored? At what point did you decided if you liked it or not? What helped to make this decision?
  3. Discuss the plot:
    1. Is it engaging did you find the story interesting?
    2. Does the story unfold slowly with a focus in the character?
    3. Were you surprised by complications, twists and turns?
  4. Describe James Williams personality traits, motivations and inner qualities.
  5. Besides James Williams, who would you say are the key persons in The Elephant Company? Which of the secondary figures did you like (or dislike) the most? Discuss.
  6. Is there a lesson that can be taken away from John Williams life? What is it and why is it important?
  7. Does the book have a central theme? If so, what? Does it have many themes? If so, how do they interlink? Do the themes blend naturally with the storyline or do you feel the author is using her characters to labor a particular point? Were there any notable racial, cultural, gender or socioeconomic factors at play in the book? If so, what? How did it affect the characters? Do you think they were realistically portrayed?
  8. Would you have enjoyed living in Burma during the time of this book? Explain why or why not?
  9. What did you like or dislike? Did you like the book? Why or why not? Did you enjoy it? Is it possible to find a book interesting without enjoying it? If you didn’t enjoy it what sort of person do you think would like it? What role did the illustrations, maps etc, play in this book? Had you read reviews before reading it? If so, do you find yourself agreeing with the official reviewers or not? One author complained, after sitting in several book club meetings, that if a person with a strong personality gave a positive (or negative) opinion early on, many members seemed to go along. From your experiences in other clubs, does this ring true?
  10. How did the book affect you? Did it expand your range of experiences or challenge your assumptions? Did reading it help you to understand a person better perhaps a friend, a relative, or even yourself?
  11. Were you surprised at the ending? How would you like to have seen the ending go?
  12. Compare this book to others Bookies have read? Is it similar to any of them? Did you like it more or less than other books that you’ve read? What do you think will be your lasting impression or the book as a whole? How about the subject specifically?

Thanks to the following web pages for question help: Westfield Memorial Library, fabs-bookclub-recommendations.com, readinggroupguides.com, Teaching Reading in the Middle Grades, bookclubqueen.com, Bellinghan Reads Book Club Kit, and Book Bundlz.