Book Clubbin’: 10 Discussion Questions for ‘My Dark Vanessa’ by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Welcome to our monthly blog feature, Book Clubbin’!

With social distancing measures still in place, you may find yourself at home more than usual and in search of something new to keep you interested and entertained. So, we think that now is the perfect time to pick up a new listen and start a virtual book club with a few friends.

Even though you may find yourself at home more, you may not actually have any spare time to pick up a book. This is where audiobooks come in. They’re perfect for multi-tasking, so you can listen while you work, do chores, while the kids are napping, or even while you’re out for a walk to get some fresh air.

Our pick for May is My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell, narrated by Grace Gummer. This debut has already become an instant New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller and has sparked news articles about it due to its controversial subject matter.

My Dark Vanessa explores the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher. We see the story jump back-and-forth from Vanessa’s teenage years to her life present day, dealing with her relationship with her teacher, how it affected her, and what she will do when faced with a major decision during the era of #MeToo.

This month’s pick is a heavy listen, but an important read that we think people will be talking about for a long time to come. If you’re ready to start discussing My Dark Vanessa, get started with the questions below. Beware — SPOILERS ahead.

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1) What is your opinion of Strane? Would you consider his character “sick” or “bad?”

2) Do you think your opinion of Vanessa, Strane, and their relationship would change if Vanessa had been 18 years-old when their relationship first started? 

3) Since he had been a teacher for a long time before crossing paths with Vanessa, do you think Strane pursued other students before her? 

4) Do you think that Strane views his actions as truly “wrong” or do his only worries stem from the potential backlash and repercussions that he may face if it all becomes public?

5) My Dark Vanessa jumps between Vanessa’s experience as a teen and her experience as an adult. What changes do you notice in Vanessa and which, if any, can be attributed to her relationship with Strane? 

6) Why do you think Vanessa and Taylor had such different responses to Strane’s advances? And why was Taylor more willing to come forward than Vanessa was? 

7) We get a glimpse into how Strane’s behavior would be handled in present day with his looming trial, but how different would this story have been if Vanessa had been a teenager in the current age of #MeToo? 

8) How do you interpret the importance of Lolita throughout My Dark Vanessa? And how does it relate to both Vanessa and Strane? 

9) How do you think The Browick School handled the situation when it was brought to their attention the first time around with Vanessa and Strane? Do you think the school should be at least somewhat held responsible for their actions or lack thereof? 

10) Did My Dark Vanessa change your opinions on consent and victimhood? Would you consider Vanessa a victim?


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

Book Clubbin’: 10 Discussion Questions for ‘In Five Years’ by Rebecca Serle

Welcome to our monthly blog feature, Book Clubbin’!

With social distancing in place, it’s more important than ever to stay connected. One excellent way to drum up some excitement amongst you and your friends is to start or join a book club! If you can’t find the extra time at home to sit down and enjoy a book, audiobooks are a great way to squeeze in some literary entertainment without taking much time out of your day. You can listen while you do chores, cook, or even while you work. Before you know it, you’ll have knocked out those pages in no time!

Our pick for April is In Five Years by Rebecca Serle, narrated by Megan Hilty. The novel has already proven to be quite a popular book club choice, with Good Morning America, FabFitFun, and Marie Claire all featuring it for discussion.

In Five Years springs from the popular conversation starter, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” It’s likely a question we’ve all been asked and one that most can answer with at least some clarity. Dannie Kohan is someone who has her life planned to the letter. So, when a future employer asks her in an interview where she sees herself in five years, she has a pitch-perfect answer prepared. That night, after nailing the interview and getting engaged to her live-in boyfriend, she falls asleep only to wake up five years in the future in an unfamiliar apartment beside another man, with a different ring on her finger. When, after an hour, she wakes up once again in her own home in the present, Dannie finds she cannot shake the vision of her future that is completely off-kilter from the one she had planned.

It’s no surprise that In Five Years has been such a popular book club pick. If you’re itching to dive in, check out our discussion questions below! Beware — SPOILERS ahead.

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1) In Five Years explores the notions of fate versus choice. Discuss how this theme is presented and how each character reacts. Is it ever possible for fate and choice to overlap and work in tandem? Or will the two always be separate entities that one will have to choose between?

2) Had Dannie not experienced her flashforward, would her life — with David, Bella, her job — still have played out the same way? How much does our knowledge of the future dictate how we live in the present?

3) The novel is bookended by the same scene between Dannie and Aaron, although they carry different meanings at different points in the story. Why do you think Rebecca Serle chose to do this?

4) After having experienced the entirety of the novel, what does this mirrored scene reveal about Dannie? What does it reveal about you as a reader?

5) If the flashforward had happened to another character, do you think the story would still have played out the same way? How do you think they would have reacted?

6) In Five Years grapples with the myriad complexities of love. Discuss how this theme pops up in Dannie’s relationships — with Bella, David, and Aaron. How does Serle use the generic elements of a rom-com to subvert our expectations of how a love story is supposed to play out?

7) Why do you think Serle chose to begin the novel at a point when Dannie’s life was, according to herself at least, near-perfect? Does the falling apart of her step-by-step plan signal a failure somewhere in the process, or does it actually make her life fuller?

8) Neither Dannie nor Bella are particularly close with their parents. Why do you think Serle chose to portray their familial relationships this way?

9) Are there any aspects of the novel that you wish had been different?

10) If given the chance, would you look five years into your future?



New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

Book Clubbin’: 10 Discussion Questions for Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Welcome to our monthly blog feature, Book Clubbin’!

Sometimes life can get so hectic that you’re lucky if you find time to grab a shower let alone read your book club book in time. If your New Years’ resolution is to read more but you can’t find the time, audiobooks are the answer! So, press play on this month’s pick during your commute, while you’re cooking dinner, or before bed!

January’s pick is Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, narrated by Nicole Lewis. This new release has drummed up a lot of buzz in anticipation of its release, that’s for sure! Not only has it become an instant bestseller, but it is also Reese Witherspoon’s January pick for her Hello Sunshine book club. Such a Fun Age tackles the issues of race and privilege through the perspectives of the babysitter, Emira, and her employer, Alix Chamberlain.

Don’t miss this striking debut novel. Check out our discussion questions below, but beware, spoilers ahead.

So take a peek at our questions, and as always, remember there MAY be some spoilers in here!

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1) Such a Fun Age is told from the perspectives of Alix and Emira. How did these different narrators affect your reading/listening experience?

2) Why didn’t Emira want to share the video from the grocery store?

3) Why do you think Alix is so set on becoming close friends with Emira? Is this linked to guilt she holds from the past?

4) What did you think of Kelley when he was introduced? Were you suspicious of his intentions?

5) After discovering Emira and Alix are linked by someone unexpected, did it change your opinion of either character?

6) Do you think that what happened in high school affected Alix and Kelley differently? Did it leave a lasting impression that carried over to the rest of their lives?

7) How did the events that unfolded in Such a Fun Age ultimately lead to Emira finding her path into a career?

8) How do you think the title, Such a Fun Age, relates to the story?

9) This novel touches on important topics such as: race, classic, identity…etc. Did you notice any other prevalent themes? Did the exploration of any of these themes change your opinions at all?

10) Were you satisfied with how the novel ended? Were you hoping for a different resolution?


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

Book Clubbin’ – 10 Discussion Questions for The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Welcome to our monthly blog feature — Book Clubbin’!
A lot of us are busy parents, have challenging jobs, or just have generally hectic lives, so listening to audiobook versions of the novel can be really useful. You can squeeze your book club choices into your commute, listen while you work, or even when your baby is napping (HAH!).

Every month we’ll pick a popular book club pick and set up some discussion questions to get you and your book club going. This month, we’ve got questions for The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. Unless you have been living in a cave for the last couple of months, you have probably heard a lot about this amazing sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. Book clubs EVERYWHERE have been devouring this book (Our own office book club included!), and so it seemed like an awesome pick for this month’s blog.

So take a peek at our questions, and as always, remember there MAY be some spoilers in here!

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1) Do you think The Handmaid’s Tale needed a sequel? Were your questions answered by the end of the novel, or do you have even more?

2) Did The Testaments change your perception of Aunt Lydia? Why or why not?

3) In section 52, Aunt Lydia says the Aunts sometimes share information about their previous lives, “…Past lives are shared, I took care not to share too much of mine….” What do these snippets of information that we hear tell you about the Aunts? What opinions may they secretly have of Gilead? And what does it tell us about Aunt Lydia?

4) Even though Gilead seems to allude to having a lot of the same technology as the rest of the world, unbabies, deaths during childbirth, and other fatal/serious ailments seem to be the norm there. Why do you think this is?

5) When Nicole and Agnes are travelling to Canada, Nicole says “Just because people are related to you doesn’t mean you love them.” Agnes replies “Love is like a discipline, like prayer.” How have the girls’ upbringings developed their perception of what love is?

6) Much like The Handmaid’s Tale, the Gilead in The Testaments reflects a lot of situations in current society, especially in relation to movements such as #metoo. What parallels can you see?

7) Why do you think Atwood called the novel The Testaments?

8) Of all the groups of women in Gilead, who do you think has the most “freedom”?

9) Men are not portrayed very favorably in The Testaments. Are there any male characters who have redeeming features? Is it possible to be a man in Gilead and NOT be a bad person?

10) The novel has multiple narrators. How does this format help you to understand the story in different ways? How effective did you find the narration to be?


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

Book Clubbin’ – 10 Discussion Questions for The Farm by Joanne Ramos

Welcome to our new blog feature — Book Clubbin’!
A lot of us are busy parents, have challenging jobs, or just have generally hectic lives, so listening to audiobook versions of the novel can be really useful. You can squeeze your book club choices into your commute, listen while you work, or even when your baby is napping (HAH!).

Every month we’ll pick a popular book club pick and set up some discussion questions to get you and your book club going. This month, we’ve got questions for The Farm by Joanne Ramos.

We’ve reviewed this book before (and we LOVED it!), and we know it’s a big book club book this year, so take a peek at our questions, and feel free to use them for your next book club meeting! 

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1. What genre would you put this book in? Sci-fi? Feminist or women’s fiction? Something else? Why?

2. There are some heavy themes in this book: Women’s rights, racism, immigration, class inequality etc. Can you see any parallels with issues in the news right now?

3. Jane, Lisa, and Reagan are three very different women put in the same situation. What do you think makes them friends? What makes them so different from each other?

4. Do you think Ate and Mae are “bad” people? Or do they have good and/or altruistic reasons for some of the “bad” decisions they make? 

5. What is your opinion on the morality of Golden Oaks? Do you think it’s a good thing? A bad thing? Or somewhere inbetween?

6. Do you think that Golden Oaks could exist in real life? 

7. How does The Farm present the idea of the American Dream?

8. There have been comparisons of The Farm to The Handmaid’s Tale. Do you feel these books share similar things? How do they differ?

9. Did the ending surprise you? How did it change your perception of Mae and Jane?

10. “Because in America you only have to know how to make money. Money buys everything else.” Money is a huge theme in the book. The women at The Farm need it, and the potential parents have lots of it. What role do you think money plays in the book? 

New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!