Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Good Books Club - Discussion Questions

Hey there every one.
Hope you are all wrapping up Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night for the discussion tomorrow! We are so excited to be kicking off the very first discussion of what we hope will be a fun, successful, semi-focused discussion of one of the most under rated WWII novels of all time. For those of you who were not able to make the cut off for this meeting, do not fret. We will be announcing November's book on Monday after the discussion.
For those of you who read the book but are unable to make the discussion, we
deeply appreciate the efforts that we do know you made to participate, and look forward to having you for future discussions! We encourage any one who can't make the meeting to write reviews of the book that we will be sure to link to when we do a wrap up of the discussion. For any one who has read the book and participates in any way, be it the discussion, writing a review, promoting the book etc, we have an extra special surprise planned for you, so make sure to check back here on Monday after the discussion!

Discussion Questions!
Attn: Spoilers contained in the discussion qu's
Ok folks so now on to those of you who will be participating tomorrow. Here are a few things to keep in mind. The book club starts at 7p.m EST. If you live in another time zone be sure to do the math and figure out what ever time that might be for your city. I'd do it for you but the whole time I lived in Australia I always got it wrong and would call my house at 3 am... so I probably am not help.
Also, it is probably best to try and log into the chat room (located at the very top left hand scroll bar) at least 10 minuts prior to the discussion, just to make sure that we are not facing techinical problems. If for any reason you get kicked out be all you need to do is close the window and re open the chat room and log back in. You CANNOT at any time close the main Padfoot and Prongs window, as it will also kick you out of the chat room.
As well, we have learned it is best not to copy and paste long quotes or sentences into the chat room as tha makes it angry. I know that is annoying especially for those of you who have quotes typed and saved up, so either send them in small lines at a time or just type them out in the room. Annoying I know, we will work to find something better in the future.

Now here are some discussion questions to consider for the talk tomorrow. We will not be sticking strictly to these questions, but they will help to give us a guide in leading the conversation. In the future we plan to get questions up much earlier for the talk but we suck this month.

1. 'We are what we pretend to be. So we must be careful about what we pretend to be.' In the opening of the novel, Kurt Vonnegut openly states in a preface by 'Campbell' that this is the moral of the entire work. Would you agree that this is the most prominent message of the story? Why do you think Campbell/Vonnegut would go to such lengths to make sure the moral of the novel was apparent? Do you agree with the moral and what in this book either confirms or confronts your views?

2. Howard Campbell is a fan of many faces. He is a Nazi propagandist, an under-cover spy, a friend to few and a lover to one. Butcan you be a monster and a martyr at the same time? Who is Campbell to you? Which is these identities do you feel is the most 'true' to Campbell'. How is it possible for someone to be so many people at once, or is it impossible?

Despite acknowledging for a moment the evil behind the people that he served, Howard realized that he had never really seen a fault at all, because the Nazis had given him more than they had taken away. There are multiple times throughout the novel that many of the characters will overlook an obvious flaw to protect some desperate attachment they have to the actions that they are committing. How do you feel about this idea of overlooking obvious moral flaws to gain happiness?

3. How did you feel about the ending of the work? Did you feel that Howard Campbell got what he deserved, or will he gain it through suicide?

4. What were some of your favorite things about this book and the author? What were the Pro's of reading this book including quotes, style, narrative etc.?

5. What were some of your least favorite things about this book and the author? What were the con's of reading this book including quotes, style, narrative etc.?

6. Be sure to have some of your favorite quotes picked out from the story and be ready to share at least one of them, and why you enjoyed it!

That is all for now folks. Like we said, these are only jumping off points for the discussion I am sure we will be straying a bit from these general ideas. The discussion will be lead for 1 hour, 30 mins. If you need to leave before then feel free. If you would like to stay longer to discuss then you are more than welcome as well as encouraged, however we will only be regulating the disucssion for the given time. After that it is a free for all. Any one is welcome at 8:30 to come into the room to discuss the book, Vonnegut, any thing of the sort and we hope to see many of you there!!


  1. I'm signed up for the chat (which starts in 30 minutes...), but something came up at home, so I don't think I'll be able to be by the computer tonight. Will there be a manuscript or something available so that I can see what went on in the discussion?

    Sorry to cancel at the last minute--it's rather embarrassing to have to do that.

  2. We understand things come up it is not a problem. If you get a chance to stop in we should be there for at least an hour and I am welcoming every one to join in after 8 for a 'free for all' discussion. Hope to see you for the next one.

  3. Here is my post! I had a great time! Thanks!

    What was the email address you gave us again?

  4. Mine too! Great fun. Thanks again.

  5. Thanks folks! Ill have the discussion review up in just a moment!

  6. Thank you for posting a summary of the discussion--I really am sad to have missed it! I wasn't able to sign on until nearly 9 your time, but no one was still there... I sat there in the chat room for a while, hoping... I am going to post on my blog about the book, but I probably won't be able to do that until later this week. All hell has broken loose, and I'm doing all I can to keep up.

  7. Oh my gosh don't worry then!! If hell has broken loose you have more important things than book club :) but I'm sorry no one was still there :( we got done about 8:30 ish and I had to rush to do a few things. I think in the future we are going to try and work on having more than one time incase it would be easier on others we will be sure to keep you updated! We hope you are able to make the next one! And yea just give me the link when ever you get the chance to write one and I will be happy to put it up!


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