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Book Discussion Questions: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Boys in the Boat book coverTitle: The Boys in the Boat
Author:  Daniel James Brown
Page Count: 404 pages
Genre:  Nonfiction, Sports
Tone:  Impassioned, Inspiring

Summary:
Out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times – the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

 

SPOILER WARNING:
These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement:  2017 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1. What made you want to read this book? Would you have felt compelled to read it outside of book club?

2. Do you think that reading this during the Olympics would make a difference to you?

3. What are the differences, if any, as to how the Olympics were regarded in the 1930s to how they are regarded now?

4. What are your thoughts on Avery Brundage and his role on the Olympic committee?

5. Bobby Moch was Jewish. Knowing what he knew about Germany, are you surprised he went? Would you have gone? Why did his father not tell him sooner?

6. Should there have been a boycott against the Olympics?

7. Leni Riefenstiahl is probably the most famous female director ever; what did you think of her?

8. Let’s talk about Joe’s family life. What are your thoughts? Specifically Thula and Harry ?

9. Which relationship do you believe was ultimately the most pivotal for Joe?

10. Ulbrickson kept putting different boys in different boats, what do you think made these boys fit together?

11. What do you think was the turning point for Joe to become a unit with the rest of the boys in the boat?

12. Why do you think the boys were so unbeatable?

13. How much of a pivotal character was Pocock? Could they have won without him?

14. What did you think of George Pocock’s issues with the California coach Ky Ebright?

15. What did you think about the journey over to Germany on the cruise ship? Did anything interest you?

16. What did you think about the way the Germans handled the race?

OTHER RESOURCES:

Lit Lovers’ Reading Group Guide
West Maui Book Club discussion questions
Seattle Times Q&A
(Video) Daniel James Brown on The Boys in the Boat
“Nazi Olympics Berlin 1936” article by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Rowing Team That Stunned the World

 

READALIKES:

The Three-Year Swim Club
by Julie Checkoway

Salt Sweat Tears
by Adam Rackley

Nazi GamesNazi Games
by David Clay Large

Staff Pick: Southeastern by Jason Isbell

Picture of EvanOn Southeastern, singer/songwriter Jason Isbell has crafted soulful, catchy songs with lyrics of dust-coated poetry about finding warmth in love when the world offers none, “Cover Me Up”, watching a friend die, “Elephant”, and a rollicking barn-burner about barely surviving an addiction,“Super 8”. It’s an album that proves the famous quote about how a great country song is only “three chords and the truth.”

Staff Resolution Feature: Taking Inspiration from TV Readers

Winter Reading image

One feature of this year’s Adult Winter Reading is that you decide your own reading resolutions. Whether your goals are modest or ambitious, we’ll cheer you on! To help inspire and spark ideas, we’ll be sharing resolutions here every week, so keep checking back to see what other resolute readers are striving to achieve!

Parisian Novels by Van Gogh

 

Who: Rebeca from Collection Management

What is your reading resolution?

About ten years ago I started a list of books that are featured on television shows that I watch. This year I am going to read at least 5 books off that list.

Why did you choose this?

I rarely read outside of two genres.  I believe this will help me read a variety of different books.

What are you thinking of reading to complete your resolution?

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose
The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

Island of Dr Moreau book cover Washingtons Spies book cover Invisible Man book coverFrom the Mixed Up Files book cover

 

 

 

 

 


Now it’s your turn!
Share your reading resolutions on the MPPL Facebook page, on Twitter, or in person at the Fiction/AV/Teen Services Desk.

Fiction: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Alledgedly book coverBy the time Mary B. Addison is sixteen she has been in jail for six years accused of killing a baby when she was nine, has been the main topic of multiple books, and is now living in a group home on her way of being reintroduced to some semblance of freedom.

However, everything may not be what it seems.

Tied to a past that only Mary knows the truth to, her efforts to look toward her future are mangled with stumbling blocks every which way.  Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson is a surprising bucket of cold water as Mary and the reader must grapple with all of the possible what ifs and should haves that come from a young girl growing up in an unstable home and the justice system.

Staff Pick: Delicious by Ruth Reichl

Picture of DeniseDelicious by Ruth Reichl is a book I liked more as I got into it. I loved the old mansion in New York, the cooking, the restaurant culture, and the WW2 era backstory with James Beard. The romantic side story added a nice flavor to the story too.

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