Check It Out Category: Book Discussion Questions

Book Discussion Questions: Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Mudbound book cover

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

Title: Mudbound
Author: Hillary Jordan
Page Count: 328
Genre: Historical Fiction
Tone: Compelling, Haunting, Thought-provoking

Questions composed by MPPL Staff

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement:  2013 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1.    Whose point of view (P.O.V.) was most interesting to read?

2.    Was there a main character in this book?

3.    What was the main story?

4.    Whose story did you want more of?

5.    Would this book be different if you got to hear Pappy’s story from his P.O.V.?

6.    What did you think of the love affair between Jamie and Laura?

7.    What do you think that act meant to Jamie? Do you think it meant something different to Laura?

8.    Did you want their relationship to last?

9.    Was the sex scene written well?

10.    Laura realizes that she doesn’t truly love Jamie. Why?

11.    What did you think of the relationship between Laura and Henry?

12.    What about between Florence and Hap?

13.    Who had more equal footing in their relationship, Laura or Florence? Why?

14.    Given the times, did Laura have a choice if she was going to move to the country or not?

15.    Would you have moved?

16.    What did it say about Henry that he didn’t even tell Laura he bought a farm?

17.    Do you think Henry noticed Pappy’s bickering, unhappiness and how Laura felt around him?

18.    Who had the better relationship with their father, Henry or Jamie? Why?

19.    Do you think Pappy loves his sons? How can you tell?

20.    When the children get sick at the farm, Henry gets Florence to nurse them. What is his reaction when she gets in the front of the truck with him?

21.    Does being a racist make you a bad person?

22.    Is there such thing as being “only a little racist”?

23.    Do you think Laura would have considered herself a racist?

24.    Would Florence have considered Laura a racist?

25.    Why do you think Laura was more attractive and interesting to her family once she “had a man”?

26.    What was your reaction to when Ronsel came home with enough money to buy his parents a new mule?

27.    What was Henry and Laura’s reaction?

28.    There is strong foreshadowing in Mudbound, did you mind? Ex:  Jamie talks about Ronsel’s fate being sealed on page 212. Do you mind knowing that something awful is about to happen?

29.    Why did the men “only” cut out Ronsel’s tongue?

30.    Is there symbolism in Ronsel’s tongue being cut out? What does it mean?

31.    Why did Jamie kill his father?

32.    Do you think Jamie would’ve been a different person is he was able to talk about the traumas he experienced during the war?

33.    Is there any other way that you would have killed Pappy?

34.    What do you think happens to Ronsel?

35.    What about Jamie?

36.    Do you think Henry and Laura go on to live happy lives?

37.    How can authors writing outside of their own culture sometimes be problematic? (Re: cultural appropriation)

38.    Mudbound won the Bellwether Prize for Fiction, which awards $25,000 to a work of socially responsible literature that gives support to social change. How do you think Jordan’s book did this?

39.    Is the setting a character in this book?

40.    Do you think that this story could have been told in a different, non-southern setting?

Other Resources:

Hillary Jordan’s website
Bellwether Prize website
Lit Lovers’ book discussion guide
NPR interview with Hillary Jordan
Goodreads reviews (watch out for spoilers)
Hillary Jordan author talk

If you liked Mudbound, try…

Bloodroot by Amy Greene
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
Sula by Toni Morrison

Bloodroot book cover      the Kitchen House book cover     Sula book cover

Book Discussion Questions: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo book coverSPOILER WARNING: These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points, if you have not read the book.

Title: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsson
Page Count: 590
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Tone: Dark, Gritty

Questions composed by MPPL Staff

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement:  2012 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1.    Did you like Mikael Blomkvist?

2.    What did you view him as? A writer? A hero? A failure? Other?

3.    Do you think Blomkvist has intimacy issues? If so, are they a stumbling block for him?

4.    Does Lisbeth Salander have intimacy issues? Is so, are they a stumbling block for her?

5.    What did you think of Blomkvist and Berger’s relationship?

6.    What did you think of Lisbeth Salander as a character? Was Lisbeth a believable character? If not, did she need to be?

7.    Does Lisbeth have a mental illness? If so, was the illness ever named?

8.    Lisbeth is described as being 4’11”, 90 lbs, and – though she looks anorexic – she isn’t. She eats an intense amount of food. What does this description say about Lisbeth? What does it say about the author’s view of women?

9.    Do you think that Lisbeth’s image was meant to attract people or to shove them away?

10.    Here are the movie posters for the Swedish and American movies. Do you think one movie captured the tone and truth of the book better? What is the difference in the depictions of Lisbeth on the posters?

11.    In the book, why do you think so many people were attracted to Lisbeth?

12.    Why do you think so many women were attracted to Blomkvist?

13.    What do you think of the original, Swedish title? (Men Who Hate Women)

14.    Why do you think the title was changed for the American edition?

15.    Which title do you think is more effective? Why?

16.    What do you think of the pace of this book?

17.    Is Lisbeth the main character or a side character?

18.    There are very graphic rape scenes that occur in this novel. How did you respond to these?

19.    What was the author’s point in depicting rape? Did he have (or need) a point?

20.    Do you think that the author wrote these scenes well or that he could have done better?

21.    What did you think of Lisbeth’s revenge against her counselor?

22.    Do Lisbeth’s experiences make her stronger?

23.    Why do you think authors use sexual assault (mainly against women) as an “experience” to make their characters stronger? Do you think this can be done in other ways?

24.    It is said that Stieg Larrson wanted to emphasize misogyny in Swedish culture and that is why this book is so graphic. Do you think he accomplished his goal?

25.    Do you think Larsson titillated with his violence, bluntly highlighted misogyny, or both?

26.    At 15, Stieg Larrson witnessed a rape committed by three of his friends. What impact do you think this made on him?

27.    Can you think of any books that highlight violence against women and accomplish it better?

28.    Do you think the author had a point to make when he had Lisbeth save Blomkvist at the end of the book from Martin Vanger?

29.    What was your reaction to Martin Vanger’s torture den?

30.    What do you think of the way Martin Vanger died?

31.    Did you ever suspect Martin Vanger of being the villain?

32.    Why do you think Lisbeth destroyed evidence of the murdered women in Martin’s torture den?

33.    What did you think of Harriet Vanger still being alive? Did you know it was coming or did you think she was dead?

34.    Some reviewers label Lisbeth as a “feminist icon.” What does that mean? Do you agree with the statement?

35.    What did you think of the setting? Did the setting become a main feature of the story?

36.    What did you think of the Nazi element of the story? Was it important?

37.    Was any of this book shocking to you?  Discuss.

38.    Do you think this book had a good ending? If not, where would you have wanted it to end?

39.    What questions would you want to ask Stieg Larrson if he was still alive?

40.    Did you like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Are you going to read other books in the Millennium Trilogy?

Other Resources:

Stieg Larsson’s website
Lit Lovers’ book discussion guide
Book Browse book discussion guide
The New York Review of Books’ review
The Telegraph’s interview with Stieg Larsson
Stieg Larsson: Behind The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by CBS

If you liked The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, try…

In the Woods by Tana French
Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg
The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo

In the Woods book cover 1Smilla's Sense of Snow book coverThe Redbreast book cover