Thursday, May 31, 2012

June 2012 - Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro

  Just a reminder that June's book is Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women.  We will be focusing our questions on the first three stories in the book  - and ranging further into the book depending on how many of us have read further.  So, don't feel as if you have to miss out if you are having a busy month!

Meeting Details:
We are meeting on Thursday, June 7th at Danielle's house at 7:30 with discussion to begin at 8. 

Discussion Questions: for The Flats Road; Heirs of the Living Body; Princess Ida
  1. Did you enjoy the stories?  Why or why not?  
  2. This book is a novel and a collection of short stories all a the same time.  What about each story allows it to stand on its own?  How do the stories tie together?  
  3. Did you like Del Jordan?  How would you describe her character?
  4. Alice Munro's narrator is a adolescent girl, but the stories are keenly observant and wise. Talk about a passage in the book that shows Del's age. 
  5. Del's Uncle Craig is an historian and her Uncle Benny is a teller of exaggerated tales. In what other ways are they different? How is this contrast between fact and truth on the one hand, and exaggeration and lies on the other, portrayed throughout the novel?
  6. Del says of knowledge: "A chilly commodity that most people, grown up, can agree to do without. But nobody will deny that it is a fine thing for children" (p. 71). Is this an accurate assessment? Who are some of the grown-ups who prefer to do without knowledge?
  7. Right after the description of the dead cow, Del finds out that her Uncle Craig has died (p. 50). What does Del say about the cow that is also applicable to the way that people often tend to think and talk about dead people?
  8. Why is it appropriate that Del's mother sells encyclopedias? How does that fit her character?
  9. Del's mother says: "What is so good about Nature? Nature is just one thing preying on another all the way down the line ... Cruelty is the law of Nature" (p. 96). Is this a view shared by Del or any of the other characters? Can you identify scenes in the novel in which Nature is good and beautiful rather than cruel?
  10. Del's mother is an atheist.  Contrast her with Aunt Elspeth and Auntie Grace.  How do their beliefs help them makes sense of the world around them.
  11. Addie moves into town, gives a ladies party and joins the town book club, yet she never really fits in anywhere.  Why not?
  12. What do we learn about Del's father and brother in these three stories?  Why do you think that they are such peripheral characters?
  13. What do you think Del's mother and Nile talked about?
  14. Did reading these three stories make you want to read the rest of the book?  What about the characters makes them compelling?
Menu: Small Town Sweets
       Sweets are a comfort and an indulgence in small town life.  Choose anything off this list of sweets mentioned in the book.  You can sign up in the comments here!

oatmeal date cookies - Sherrie
butter tarts - Chandra
coconut layer cake - Tessa

coffee and tea - Danielle

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