Book Clubbin’: 10 Discussion Questions for ‘Klara and the Sun’ by Kazuo Ishiguro

It’s time for our Book Clubbin’ blog feature! Lockdowns and social distancing don’t mean you can’t start up a book club with your pals. Just book an hour (or more if the discussion gets heated) to meet every month through video chat!

This month, we’re diving into Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest novel, Klara and the Sun, narrated by Sura Siu. At once tender and thrilling, Klara and the Sun is a magnificent entry into Ishiguro’s body of work.

Ishiguro’s eighth novel, the first after he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017, introduces a uniquely unforgettable narrator in Klara, an Artificial Friend. From her vantage in the store, she carefully watches the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change forever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans. Those familiar with Ishiguro’s work will see tendrils of familiarity in his discussions of humanity and servitude that he first explored in Never Let Me Go.

No matter if you’re a first-time reader or an Ishiguro devotee, this month’s pick will surely spark complex discussions about the nature of love, sentience, and the human condition. Beware— SPOILERS ahead.

—————CONTAINS SPOILERS!————

1) In Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines not a world where AI rebellion is inevitable, as so many science fiction novels and movies have warned, but rather that it is not and may never be. What kind of threat do you think he is highlighting, instead, with the placid servitude and expendability of Klara and other AFs (Artificial Friends)?

2) Ishiguro keeps the narrative tightly constrained to Klara’s point of view. What do her naiveté and unique observations add to the story?

3) Discuss how the theme of loneliness comes up in the story and some of the ways AFs both combat and exacerbate loneliness.

4) What are your thoughts on the society Ishiguro created in which “lifted” children are afforded better opportunities and, in turn, a vastly different lifestyle than those who aren’t “lifted?” How does this compare with the world we currently live in?

5) During Josie’s interaction meeting when the boys want to throw Klara around to test her coordination, one of the girls says it’s “evil” and “nasty” to handle an AF that way. What did you make of the children’s different sentiments toward AFs? What about Klara’s response, or, rather, lack thereof?

6) What did you make of Klara’s visit to Morgan’s Falls with the Mother? Did it change your opinion of either of them?

7) If things had gone differently and Josie’s parents carried through with their plan, do you think either of them could ever have accepted Klara as Josie’s replacement?

8) If it came to it, is it something you would ever consider doing?

9) Why, in the end, do you think Ishiguro chose for Josie to recover from her illness?

10) What do you think Ishiguro is saying about the uniqueness of humans? What about robots? Does he offer any definitive conclusions?


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Which Book Should Your Book Club Listen to Next?



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’: 9 Discussion Questions for ‘The Sanatorium’ by Sarah Pearse

It’s time for our monthly Book Clubbin’ blog feature! This snowy February, we’re ramping up the chill with a gothic locked-room mystery set in the Swiss Alps. Grab your cozy blankets and get ready to dive into an immersive story that will transport you to an isolated getaway. Lockdowns and social distancing don’t mean you can’t start up a book club with your pals. Just book an hour (or more if the discussion gets heated) to meet every month through video chat!

This month, our pick is The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse, narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden. The Sanatorium is Pearse’s debut novel, and it’s already getting a ton of buzz as Reese Witherspoon’s February book club pick.

Half-hidden by forests and overshadowed by threatening peaks, Le Sommet has always been a sinister place. Renovated from a sanatorium into a five-star minimalist hotel, Le Sommet is where detective Elin Warner reluctantly finds herself to celebrate Isaac’s, her long-estranged brother, engagement. The imposing, isolated getaway spot immediately puts her on edge. When the party wakes up one morning to find Laure, Isaac’s fiancée, has disappeared amidst the arrival of a snowstorm that cut off all access to the hotel, Elin must find her before something worse happens.

This month’s pick is a sinister, atmospheric listen that will keep you up all night. If you’re ready to start discussing The Sanatorium with your book club, dive into the questions below. Beware— SPOILERS ahead.

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1) Le Sommet has a sinister past. Nestled in the Swiss Alps and long plagued by rumors, the abandoned sanatorium has been renovated into a luxury hotel. Do you think you would ever stay in a hotel like Le Sommet that was converted from a building with a dark past?

2) During the course of the story, a snowstorm cuts off access to and from the hotel. Why do you think Pearse chose to keep her characters in an enclosed environment?

3) The Sanatorium draws on elements of gothic horror, a genre in which the setting is an integral part of the story. Discuss how Le Sommet, the luxurious yet unsettling hotel, is almost a character unto itself.

4) At the start of the novel, Elin is haunted by a few things in her past: the death of her brother and an investigation gone horribly wrong. Why do you think Pearse made Elin such a vulnerable character? How does she grow as the book progresses?

5) While the majority of the book is focused on Elin, Pearse does bring in different perspectives from time to time. Do you think this added to the story?

6) We eventually learn the sanatorium was a place that abused and exploited vulnerable women. Discuss your thoughts about this. Did it change how you viewed the hotel and the archive room that was planned?

7) Did the ending surprise you? Why or why not?

8) What did you think about the epilogue? If Pearse wrote a sequel, would you be interested?

9) If The Sanatorium was being adapted into a film or tv show, who would you want to be cast?


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 ‘White Ivy’ by Susie Yang

We’re back again with our monthly blog feature, Book Clubbin’! For a lot of us, the weather is starting to get colder and greyer as the days go by and since we’re still encouraged to stay home as much as possible you may be running out of things to do around the house and missing your friends more than ever. Why not try to set up a virtual book club, so that you can get facetime with your pals and stay connected during these tough times.

Plus, with audiobooks, you can just throw them on while you’re doing chores, going for a walk, raking the leaves (or shoveling snow if you already have some), cooking, working…the possibilities are endless.

This month our Book Clubbin’ pick is White Ivy by Susie Yang, narrated by Audie Award winner Emily Woo Zeller. White Ivy is Yang’s debut novel, which quickly garnered attention and glowing reviews as a Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick. This listen follows Ivy Lin, A Chinese American who grew up learning to steal from her immigrant grandmother, and always dreamed of living a lavish lifestyle. She attracted the attention of local golden boy, Gideon, who comes from money. Ivy’s parents ship her off to China to see relatives and when she returns her family has moved away from everything she ever knew.

Jump to years later, Ivy runs into Gideon’s sister and is catapulted into the way of living that she always dreamed of, but ghosts from her past resurface threatening the nearly perfect life she worked so hard to build.

This month’s pick is filled with surprising twists and offers sharp insights into the immigrant experience. If you’re ready to start discussing White Ivy with your book club, dive into the questions below. Beware— SPOILERS ahead.

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1) Ivy has always strived to portray herself as respectable and just, so when she is caught stealing she feels humiliated, thinking her reputation has taken a blow. Why do you think Ivy places so much value in conforming to societal standards? And do you think that these beliefs were born more of nature or nurture?

2) Yang has said that she was inspired by male characters’ rise and falls in shows like Breaking Bad and House of Cards, showing that they are “fascinating and evil.” Do you think that Ivy was an evil character?

3) Money plays a large part in White Ivy. Discuss the relationships that various characters have with money and how they view it. Why do certain characters have a more visceral response to money than others?

4) Why does Ivy have such a hard time embracing her Chinese culture?

5) Ivy meets Gideon’s mentor, Dave, and his wife, Liana, who is Asian. How was their interracial relationship different from Ivy and Gideon’s?

6) The title, White Ivy, was inspired by the Chinese proverb that says, “The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white.” How do you interpret this quote, and in turn the title?

7) Ivy has quite different relationships with both Roux and Gideon. What does Ivy get out of each relationship? Why do you think she still seems unfulfilled by both characters?

8) Do you think that Ivy is ultimately happy at the end of the book?

9) If White Ivy was to be adapted into a movie or TV show, which actors would you hope they would cast?

10) A big secret about Gideon is revealed to Ivy before her wedding, which would make many others second guess their planned nuptials, but Ivy goes through with the wedding. What do you think this means for Ivy?


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 ‘Group’ by Christie Tate

Welcome to our monthly blog feature, Book Clubbin’!

As the COVID-19 lockdowns continue into these colder months, the safe choice to see our friends outdoors is becoming less and less realistic. Luckily, virtual book clubs are a safe way to keep connected with your loved ones. And we’re here to help make your book club even easier with these monthly Book Clubbin’ posts!

We get it, the period between Halloween and the new year is extremely busy. It can be hard to find the time to stay on top of your TBR list. But whether you’re getting started on your online holiday shopping, cleaning around the house, or testing out a new recipe, audiobooks help spice up even the most mundane chores. We’re not going to promise that you’ll suddenly be ecstatic to do the dishes but we will definitely make them more tolerable!

This month’s Book Clubbin’ pick is Christie Tate’s debut memoir Group, narrated by Christie herself. This new release is quickly gaining attention after being named as Reese Witherspoon’s latest book club pick.

As a young, overachieving law student, Christie was reaching all her goals. On paper, her life was turning into everything she could have hoped for. At the same time, she felt awful. When thinking about life made Christie feel more anxious and afraid than fantasizing about her death, she knew she needed help to make a change.

In an unexpectedly humorous recounting, Christie shares her experience with group therapy and all the bizarre, intimate moments that changed her life.

If you’re ready to discuss Group in your book club, get started with the questions below. Beware— SPOILERS ahead.

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1) In the beginning of Group, how do you feel Christie’s image of herself compares to how other people in her life view her? Discuss how external influences, such as social media, might contribute to how people today view themselves.

2) Which specific moments throughout Christie’s journey resonate with you as turning points in the way she views herself? What relationships, positive or negative, may have helped with this healing?

3) Dr. Rosen is known for having an unconventional method of helping people. What were your initial thoughts about his approach and did how did these opinions change throughout the book?

4) Over the course of her memoir, Christie mentions multiple flawed relationships from her young adult life. Which of her relationships do you remember as being the most impactful? What lessons might she have learned from that person?

5) In Group, Christie openly shares many raw, embarrassing moments with her readers. What do you think her goal was in sharing these stories? Do you think you would be able to share such a vulnerable experience with the world?

6) Some memorable moments in Group are completely silent, whether it be a long hug or an entire 90-minute group session. Why do you think silence might play an important part in one’s healing journey? Have you ever experienced a situation where silence was impactful to you?

7) As time goes on, Christie describes her relationship with various groupmates as much more than a regular friendship. What do you think makes her feel this connected to these people? Have you ever created a similarly unexpected bond with someone in your life?

8) If you had to choose one lesson to hold onto from this book, what would it be?

9) Outside of group therapy, what other groups of people helped Christie within the book? Do you have a group in your life that helps teach you similar lessons in love, vulnerability, or identity?

10) Why do you think Christie decided to end her story with an update from 10 years after the story, instead of ending it with her wedding?

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’: 8 Discussion Questions for ‘Anxious People’ by Fredrik Backman

Welcome to our monthly blog feature, Book Clubbin’! With school and work routines slowly kicking back into action, many people are trying to find ways to keep entertained. Whether you’re back to your daily commute or simply walking to and from your WFH set up, it’s a great time to reach out to your book-loving pals and invite them to join a virtual or socially distanced book club!

Audiobooks are the perfect option for people who want to enjoy books on the go. By setting up a book club, you’ll be able to share your love for audiobooks with old and new friends alike. If you’re interested in starting a book club but don’t know where to start, check out this list of the best audiobooks for your book club!

This month’s Book Clubbin’ pick is Fredrik Backman‘s Anxious People, narrated by Marin Ireland. As a bestselling author, Backman has become known for writing stories that deliver meaningful messages with perfectly interjected comedic relief. Following suit with his previous works, Anxious People is a poignant comedy that slowly reveals the hardships of the modern world. Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers begin slowly opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.

Filled with Fredrik Backman’s impeccable character development and undeniable wit, Anxious People’s whimsical plot serves up unforgettable insights into the human condition and a gentle reminder to be compassionate to all the anxious people we encounter every day.

If you’re ready to start discussing Anxious People with your book club, get started with the questions below. Beware— SPOILERS ahead.

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1) Do you feel as though each character was already anxious when walking into the open house? What were they anxious about?

2) This story explores the many relationships of its characters, both in and outside of the open house. How do some of these relationships contribute to, or help to ease, the anxiety felt within the hostage situation?

3) Fredrik Backman‘s stories are known to be driven by their character development. Which character in this book did you most identify with? Did your opinion of them change throughout the story? Discuss the different themes and additions this character brought into the novel.

4) Multiple characters have memories that connect back to the bridge. What symbolic meaning does the bridge hold? Do you think the meaning of the bridge changed for the characters by the end of the book?

5) Though Anxious People can be considered a comedy, the novel touches on some difficult parts of the human experience and the issues we often face. Discuss the societal issues that resonated with you, and how the characters managed those situations.

6) Each character has a unique approach to vulnerability and how they open up about their personal anxieties. Who do you think was the most reserved character? The most open? Why do you think these people had different approaches?

7) Near the beginning of the story, Backman wrote “This story is about a lot of things, but mostly about idiots.” How do you define idiocy, and how do characters in this book fit with or go against your definition?

8) If Anxious People were to be made into a television series or film, who would you picture playing some of the characters? Is there anything you’d change about the book to fit better within a video form?

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!