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? 

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Our Top Staff Picks of 2019 So Far

We’re just past the halfway point for 2019 and so far there have been so many fabulous listens both classics and new releases. In honor of National Book Lovers Day, we wanted to share some of our favorite Audiobooks.com Staff Picks from 2019.

From uplifting self-help bestsellers to fantasy oldies, but goodies, the staff at Audiobooks.com have been keeping their ears busy with some great audiobooks and, may I say, some stellar reviews to boot.


Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, narrated by Jennifer BealsJudy GreerBenjamin BrattPablo Schreiber
Staff Pick by: Pam

Now a Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine book club alumni, Daisy Jones & The Six tells a compelling story of one of the biggest (fictional) bands of the seventies and what lead to their split at the height of their popularity.

In her review, Pam describes how Taylor Jenkins Reid paints such a vivid picture that she had to keep reminding herself that this wasn’t an actual band from the seventies. Read more about what made this such a buzz-worthy listen this year in Pam’s full review.

Read more and sample the audio →


On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, narrated by Bahni Turpin
Staff Pick by: Lena

On the Come Up follows Bri, a sixteen year old who, an aspiring rapper. With the odds stacked against her and her family, she no longer just wants to make it, she has to.

In Lena’s review, she dives into how she came to love On the Come Up and how it should be equally revered as Thomas debut, The Hate U Give. Click here to read Lena’s full review.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Farm by Joanne Ramos, narrated by Fran De Leon
Staff Pick by: Chrissy

In The Farm, Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is searching for a better future and finds it at Golden Oaks (the Farm). Now, pregnant and vulnerable, she grows desperate to reconnect with her life on the outside.

Chrissy was drawn into this listen from the eye-catching cover and I don’t blame her! Read more about what made Ramos The Farm stick with Chrissy long after she was finished reading it.

Read more and sample the audio →


Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Lenny Henry
Staff Pick by: Graeme

After Fat Charlie Nancy’s dad drops dead on a karaoke stage, Fat Charlie finds out that not only was his dad a god, but he also has a brother he never knew about.

Graeme loved this listen from Gaimanclick here to find out why!

Read more and sample the audio →


Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow by E. K. Johnston, narrated by Catherine Taber
Staff Pick by: Jennifer

In E. K. Johnston‘s second Star Wars novel, Queen’s Shadow, we are reunited with Padmé Naberrie, “Queen Amidala” of Naboo. When she resigns from her position she is asked to become Naboo’s representative for the Galactic Senate. Now, Padmé must navigate her new role and all of the politics that come with it.

Jennifer’s review goes deeper into why this story is so important when it comes to Star Wars canon. Click here to read her review.

Read more and sample the audio →


Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis, narrated by Rachel Hollis
Staff Pick by: Caitlin

In this self-help book, Rachel Hollis aims to inspire women to break the pattern of defining themselves in light of other people, and she challenges them to pursue their dreams.

In Caitlin’s review, she chats about how Girl, Stop Apologizing spoke to her and helped her overcome her own self-doubt. Read Catilin’s full review here.

Read more and sample the audio →


Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff, Georgia Hardstark, narrated by Paul Giamatti, Karen Kilgariff, Georgia Hardstark
Staff Pick by: Kylie

This debut novel from the hosts of the #1 hit podcast My Favorite Murder touches on important cultural issues while also overlaying never-before-heard personal stories from Kilgariff and Hardstarks pasts. This listen was so fun and made me laugh, cry, and feel inspired. Click here to read my full review.

Read more and sample the audio →


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!

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If You Loved ‘Black Mirror,’ You’ll Love These Books

Are you as obsessed with Black Mirror as I am? There’s something so fascinating about seeing what could happen in our not-so-distant future – especially when technology takes a dark turn. Maybe it’s morbid curiosity or just simply self-preservation. Either way, if you binge-watched the latest season way too quickly like I did and you’re looking to fill that void, these audiobooks will do just that!

From virtual reality utopias to artificial intelligence, each one of these reads could easily find its place in a season of Black Mirror. Click here to check out our full ‘For Fans of Black Mirror’ book list.

The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, narrated by Neil Shah

The Test starts out with the seemingly normal story of Idir, a new immigrant, arriving to take the British Citizenship test so that he and his family can call Britain home. Things take an extremely unexpected turn, which rockets Idir into a situation where the choices he makes could change his entire life and potentially the lives of others.

Without giving too much away, The Test echoes the “Black Mirror vibe” with its use of tech coupled with government control. We’ve likened it to Black Mirrors “Fifteen Million Merits,” since both explore how far someone is willing to go for those who they love and in hopes of a new life.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Farm by Joanne Ramos, narrated by Fran De Leon

Can you really put a price on what a life is worth? In Joanne Ramos’, The Farm, it turns out, you can. At The Farm, you get paid a pretty penny, but for nine months you’re cut off from your normal life, so that you can produce the perfect baby. This is where Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, ends up – desperate to turn her life around.

With a synopsis like this, it’s hard not to think that this story comes right from the Black Mirror universe. In the episode “Playtest” we follow Cooper who is looking to make some extra cash, but is placed in an extreme situation that turns ugly. Again, both “Playtest” and The Farm hearken back to the idea of how far people will go for money and in pursuit of a better future.

Read more and sample the audio →


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton

Although already adapted into a major motion picture, directed by Spielberg no less, Ready Player One is something right out of an episode of Black Mirror. In a dystopian future there is a virtual reality program called the OASIS, where most people go all day to escape reality. It is there that Wade Watts’ story unfolds and he gets a little more than he bargained for.

While it’s not exactly the same fast-paced tale of good vs. evil, Black Mirrors “San Junipero,” has obvious similarities. In this episode there is a virtual reality world called San Junipero that is based on nostalgia where the elderly can visit freely and can remain after they die. In this world, the people are able to do things that they wouldn’t normally be able to do in real life, mirroring Ready Player Ones OASIS.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Circle by Dave Eggers, narrated by Dion Graham

The Circle, now a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, tells the story of Mae who gets hired at a hugely influential company, which is on the cutting edge of technology. The social media accounts that are associated with said company eventually evolve into something that toys with the notion of transparency and the limits of human knowledge.

Much like The Circle, Black Mirrors “Arkangel” and “The Entire History of You” show us a world where technology has infiltrated our society and our lives, and how sometimes the best intentions may not have the best consequences in the end.

Read more and sample the audio →


The One by John Marrs, narrated by Sophie AldredClare CorbettSimon BubbJot DaviesVicki Hall

In Marrs, The One, we are dropped into a world where a company named Match Your DNA has been finding people’s soulmates for the last decade. The One zeroes in on five people who are about to be “Matched” and explores how not everyone is destined for a “happily ever after.”

In the same vein as The One, Black Mirrors “Hang the DJ” episode is set in a place called The System, where “Coach,” a Siri-like matchmaker, matches people with a series of different love interests for varying lengths of time with the end goal of finding their ultimate match. Technology meddling in people’s love lives, what could possibly go wrong? Both The One and “Hang the DJ” confront this question head on.

Read more and sample the audio →


Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan, narrated by Steven Crossley

In McEwans Machines Like Me, we are presented with an alternative London, where artificial intelligence has advanced so much that the public are now able to purchase synthetic humans. We meet Charlie who has come into money and buys Adam, one of the first of these synthetic humans. After designing and programming Adam with a personality, the question of what it means to be human arises as does a love triangle that leaves Charlie in a moral dilemma.

Enter Black Mirrors “Be Right Back” where Martha loses her partner and utilizes a new technology that allows people to communicate with the deceased. Without giving away major plot points, this episode also explores where the line should be drawn when it comes to artificial intelligence and the human condition.

Read more and sample the audio →


New to Audiobooks.com? Get 2 free audiobooks 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!

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STAFF PICK: The Farm

Title: The Farm
Author: Joanne Ramos
Narrator: Fran De Leon

They say “Never judge a book by its cover, but the striking cover of The Farm, is what initially drew me to it. Seeing the title of the book, and the baby bumps on the front page, it reminded me of the themes in The Handmaid’s Tale (a personal favorite!). But this is not set in a dystopian future, nor under a totalitarian government – it’s set in New York state, in current times. This does not make it any less chilling – because to me, there is nothing more frightening than something that could already be happening.

If you’re a fan of Black Mirror, The Farm has a very similar vibe, and addresses cultural themes like capitalism, technology, racism, social inequality, and poverty. Like The Handmaid’s Tale, it focuses in on the women in the story, and defies conventions about motherhood, but in a more modern, and less dystopian manner.

The majority of the story is set in Golden Oaks, a sumptuous retreat in New York state, which boasts every amenity of an expensive spa: organic meals, private fitness trainers, and daily massages, and you get paid for the privilege! So what’s the catch?

If you didn’t know the purpose of Golden Oaks, you would assume it was just another getaway for the ultra-rich. However, it is anything but. Golden Oaks is surrogacy taken to the extreme – an expensive baby farm, where the ultra-rich delegate their pregnancy to a group of mostly poor, desperate, immigrant women. The babies they produce need to be perfect. And a premium is paid to the “hosts” for keeping to the rules.

The main character, Jane, is an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother. At first, she is excited to have made it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. Separated from her daughter and forced to endure a life controlled and manipulated by Farm management, Jane soon realizes her retreat at Golden Oaks is not the sweet deal she once thought it would be. Jane and the other female characters begin to discover that there is something amiss at the Farm, and that the rules cannot be broken without dire consequences for the hosts.

I truly LOVED this book. If you like a bit of politics in your literature, this is definitely for you. At no time are the characters forced to join the Farm, but their social circumstances (poverty, freedom from controlling family, etc) make them feel like they have no choice. My heart ached when Jane is separated from Amalia, and the commodification of motherhood really made me feel uneasy. I loved that all of the supporting characters are women, and come from a variety of backgrounds. Mae, the Farm’s Director, is ruthless and smart. Reagan, a “premium host”, is awkward and idealistic. Lisa is the feisty rebel who tries to overthrow the farm’s control, but mostly for her own benefit, and Ate is a strong, older Filipina woman who is a mother figure to so many of the women, Jane included.

There are a number of twists and turns throughout the novel, and it’s one of those listens that stays with you long after you finish it. Fran De Leon’s narration is amazing, and perfect for this listen. Like Joanne Ramos, De Leon lived her early years in the Philippines, and since there are many Filipina characters in the novel, her knowledge of the culture and accents make for a much more authentic listen.

Publishers Summary: 

Nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley is a luxury retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, personal fitness trainers, daily massages—and all of it for free. In fact, you’re paid big money to stay here—more than you’ve ever dreamed of. The catch? For nine months, you cannot leave the grounds, your movements are monitored, and you are cut off from your former life while you dedicate yourself to the task of producing the perfect baby. For someone else.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is in desperate search of a better future when she commits to being a “Host” at Golden Oaks—or the Farm, as residents call it. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her family, Jane is determined to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on the delivery of her child.

Gripping, provocative, heartbreaking, The Farm pushes to the extremes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.

Read more and sample the audio →

New to Audiobooks.com? Get a free audiobook 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 audiobook!

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