Book Clubbin’: 9 Discussion Questions for ‘The Four Winds’ by Kristin Hannah

It’s that time again…our monthly Book Clubbin’ feature is back! Listening to an audiobook can be a great way to distract yourself while doing chores, going for a walk, or even while relaxing, but once the book ends and you want to chat about that big twist what do you do!? Our answer: start a book club! Whether your area of the world is currently in lockdown or is transitioning back to normal day-to-day life, try scheduling at least an hour every month to talk about your latest listen!

This month, we’ve decided to jump into The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. Hannah is the bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone and has been getting even more buzz after the recent Netflix adaption of her novel Firefly Lane.

The Four Winds is a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

Whether you’re already a frequent Kristin Hannah reader, or this is your first listen from her, this story is likely to strike a chord as it is especially prescient considering the state of our world in 2021. So, if you’re ready to get started, keep reading for our discussion questions below. Beware— SPOILERS ahead.

—————CONTAINS SPOILERS!————

1) Was Elsa’s life defined by the cultural expectations for unmarried women? How do you think her failure to meet these expectations affected her?

2) How did Elsa’s pregnancy affect both her and Rafe? How different would their lives be if Elsa had not gotten pregnant?

3) A major theme that carries throughout The Four Winds is the idea of the American Dream. How did this come to play in the decisions that Elsa made throughout the book?

4) People’s relationship with the land that they’re from and/or the land that they own play a major role in this story. Discuss this relationship and why it is so important.

5) In the same vein, some families did travel West in hopes of finding work and making better lives for themselves while most families chose to remain at their farms affected by the drought. Why do you think this is?

6) After moving to California, Elsa ends up falling for Jack. How does Elsa’s relationship with Jack differ than her relationship with Rafe?

7) Elsa and her family endure extreme hardships even after arriving in California and yet they persevere. Do you think they would have had a better or worse experience if they had stayed in Texas?

8) What did it take for Loreda to finally understand her mother and why she made the decisions she did?

9) How do the events of the Great Depression compare to life during the current pandemic? What lessons did you take away from this story that you can apply to your current life?


Related Articles

 Book Clubbin’: 9 Discussion Questions for ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens

 Book Clubbin’: 10 Discussion Questions for The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

 Book Clubbin’: 10 Discussion Questions for The Dutch House by Ann Patchett


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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’: 9 Discussion Questions for ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens

Welcome back to our monthly blog feature, Book Clubbin’!

Is one of your resolutions for this year to read more books or start a book club? If you’re reading this, this is your sign to take the plunge! We know that it can be a little tough with stay-at-home orders, lockdowns, and social distancing, but don’t let it stop you! Start up a virtual book club with a couple friends where you can chat all about your latest read/listen via Zoom, FaceTime, or whatever you choose!

This month’s Book Clubbin’ pick is Delia Owen’s Where the Crawdad’s Sing. Chances are, you’ve heard of this book a lot over the past few years. Where the Crawdads Sing was Owens’ debut novel and it held its ground on the New York Times Fiction Bestsellers list for 25 weeks in total. So, you know it’s worth a listen!

Where the Crawdads Sing takes us to Barkley Cove, North Carolina in 1969, where rumors have circulated of the ‘Marsh Girl’ for years. When the handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, all fingers point to Kya Clark, the so-called ‘Marsh Girl.’ But there is more to Kya than meets the eye. After surviving alone in the marsh for so long, she yearns to be loved and when two men in town become intrigued by her, Kya is opened up to a new life…until the unthinkable happens.

Ready to start chatting about Where the Crawdads Sing with your bookclub, then get started with the discussion questions below. Beware— SPOILERS ahead.

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1) Jumpin’ and Mabel know that Kya is living on her own as a 10 year-old, and while they do offer support through clothing and other transactions, they never contact anyone to come remove her from the marsh. Why do you think this is?

2) Kya decides not to return to school after she was bullied. How do you think this affected her life?

3) Chase and Tate are both drawn to Kya, how do their relationships with her differ?

4) How did the fireflies that Kya observed one night influence her outlook on relationships and contribute to her actions later in the book?

5) Delia Owens is not only an author, but also a zoologist and has studied animals in remote parts of the world. Do you think her experience seeped into Where the Crawdads Sing? What similarities do you see with both Kya and wild animals?

6) Let’s discuss Kya’s trial. Do you think that the local’s presumptions and opinions about her colored the case and its outcome?

7) Did you suspect that Kya actually did kill Chase? Were you surprised when Tate found Kya’s secret stash/confession after her death?

8) Thinking of the title, why do you think Delia Owen titled her novel, Where the Crawdads Sing?

9) Reese Witherspoon’s production company is planning to adapt this novel into a movie. Which actors do you picture for the characters 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!

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?



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Book Clubbin’: 10 Discussion Questions for The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Welcome to our monthly blog feature, Book Clubbin’!

Sometimes life can get so hectic that you’re lucky if you find time to 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! You can press play on this month’s pick during your commute or while you’re cooking dinner and before you know it, you’ll have knocked out those pages in no time!

February’s pick is The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, narrated by Joe Morton. The novel is Coates’ first foray into fiction, whose bibliography also includes the acclaimed memoir Between the World and Me. Not only was The Water Dancer chosen for Oprah’s Book Club revival, but it also debuted at the top of the New York Times Fiction Best Seller list. Coates began writing the novel around 2008 and 2009 when he was doing extensive research on slavery and the Civil War. Set on a struggling tobacco plantation in Virginia, The Water Dancer follows Hiram Walker, a young mixed-race boy born into slavery who discovers he possesses a superhuman ability when he falls into a river.

You definitely don’t want to miss this striking debut novel. Check out our discussion questions below, but beware — SPOILERS ahead.

—————MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!————

1) Is the story buoyed by only having Hiram’s point-of-view, or did you feel it was lacking in opportunity and diversity by excluding other characters’ voices?

2) Why do you think Coates decided to write The Water Dancer through the lens of magic realism? What did the addition of his characters’ extraordinary abilities allow Coates to explore and interrogate that he couldn’t have done if the novel wasn’t embellished with magic?

3) Memory is a key theme in the novel. What is Coates suggesting by making the power of Conduction directly tied to memories and the act of remembering? What is the significance of Hiram being unable to recall certain memories?

4) Consider this quote:

“At every gathering there was this dispute about my mother’s mother, Santi Bess, and her fate. The myth held that she had executed the largest escape of tasking folk—forty-eight souls—ever recorded in the annals of Elm County. And it was not simply that they had escaped but where they’d been said to escape to—Africa. It was said that Santi had simply led them down to the river Goose, walked in, and reemerged on the other side of the sea.”

Discuss the significance of River Goose which for some, such as Maynard, is a symbol of danger and death, while for others, like Hiram and Santi Bess, is a symbol of resistance and freedom.

5) How did you feel about the inclusion of a real historical figure such as Harriet Tubman in the story? What impact did it have?

6) Why do you think Coates chose to set The Water Dancer predominantly on a declining tobacco plant? How does Coates juxtapose the trajectory of Lockless to the plights of Hiram and the Underground?

7) Coates often wrestles with how the war against injustice should be waged. When Corrine Quinn and Hawkins plan to take down Georgie Parks, Hiram reminds us that even Georgie was forced into his exploits by circumstance. To what extent is revenge or punishment just when each character is trapped in one way or another?

8) Discuss the complexities of motherhood and fatherhood in the novel and the many forms of “family” we encounter. How does slavery corrupt families? How does Hiram come to define family by the end?

9) Consider the experiences of enslaved women versus enslaved men. How does Coates convey tensions between black characters along gender lines? How does it impact Hiram and Sophia’s relationship over time?

10) Is there any part of the book that you wish had been written differently?

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!