November 16, 2011 at 11:45 am , by Lauren Piro
This past month, The Widower’s Tale left us all with tons to chat about. Author Julia Glass vividly depicted four very different characters (who were all male!)—how did she do it? Which was our favorite? Which female character did we wish we’d heard more from (Julia talks about this in her Q&A with us)? And just which of characters is the man illustrated on the cover? We were enthralled with the deep family ties and intense passions of all kinds this novel brought to life. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, take a look at the discussion questions to get you started. And don’t forget about Glass’s ode to her favorite independent book stores—her list is a must-keep for your next road trip.
And while we’re sad to leave the family of The Widower’s Tale, we’re also excited to introduce December/January’s book pick, The Bird Sisters, a story with another intriguing family at its core. Sisters on a Midwestern farm, Milly and Twiss have a special relationship with, you guessed it, the birds that come their way, each one carrying the troubles of the people who own them. It’s a enveloping tale about being a sister (and being yourself) that we know you’ll love. Visit our book club page for an introduction! And, as always, stay with us on Facebook, Twitter, and right here on our blog to join the conversation as we chat about The Bird Sisters all month long.
October 18, 2011 at 10:29 am , by Ladies' Lounge
Today’s post comes from leading book club resource Donna Paz Kaufman of Reading Group Choices. “There is so much we learn from the characters in books, and many stories involve circumstances we will all deal with at some point in our lives.”
This month’s LHJ Book Club pick, The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass, tells the story of Percy Darling, a man dealing with his grief after the loss of his wife, and how it influences his relationships and decisions. When he decides to offer the use of his barn to a trendy preschool, he goes through yet another major life transition that brings his choices into question.
Ask your book club members to relate a story of someone they know who has lost a spouse and what they have learned by observing how the widow/widower handled the life transition. Sharing our personal experiences can be interesting and even therapeutic!
Here are some conversation starters to use when a character’s choices are curious or controversial. Some discussion questions relating to the The Widower’s Tale readers’ guide are in italics to help your book club dig into this book—find more here.
Describe the character’s perspective
How do they hear, see, and perceive the situation? Talk about the baggage they might be carrying to this situation and how their view of the situation may be clouded.
How do Percy’s age, background, and profession shape the way he thinks about the world? How does the way he sees himself differ from the way other characters see him? How has being a single father and now an involved grandfather defined him? How do you think he would have been a different father and man had Poppy lived?
Identify the choices
There are usually a variety of choices we can make when faced with a decision. Does the character see and consider them all?
Why do you think Percy chose to avoid romantic or sexual involvement for so many years after Poppy’s death? Why do you think he falls so suddenly for Sarah after all that time alone? Why now?