Here are some questions to get your discussion started about The Book of Wondrous Possibilities!
The Book of Wondrous Possibilities is Deborah Abela’s love letter to books, booksellers, librarians and readers. That means it’s perfect for anyone else who loves books too, with plenty for book clubs, reading groups and literature circles to chat about! Here are some questions to get your discussion started.
- In the story, books and bookshops are seen as a safe haven for many of the characters, and the act of reading as a way to escape real life. The author has also said that books and libraries have been safe havens for her ever since she was a kid. What do you have in your life that creates the same feeling? Discuss the places that give you a sense of safety or calm.
- Do you have a favourite early memory around books or libraries or reading? Are there books you read when you were younger that hold special significance for you? Discuss these with the group and see if there are any favourite books you have in common.
- What do you think books mean to the characters in the novel? Do you think they mean the same thing to Arlo as they do to Silas? Does Uncle Avery love books in the same way that Benedict does? Are both their points of view valid?
- Many of the characters are grieving in some way. Discuss how each of the main characters overcome their troubles or reconcile them by the end of the story. Do you think these were resolved in a realistic manner? Why or why not?
- The narrative changes points of view between Arlo, Benedict and Viola. Why do you think the author gives space in the narrative for Benedict and Viola’s voices? Are there things that the reader needs to know that we couldn’t get from Arlo’s point of view?
- There are two parts to the narrative: the regular story and then the excerpts from the grimoire called The Book of Wondrous Possibilities. What are the differences in the writing style between these two sections?
- Why do you think the author has decided not to include the story Lisette wrote for Marcellus? Do you think including ‘The Legend of Queen Viola and Sir Muttly’ would change the climax or affected the story’s pace and tension?
- Does a character’s name affect what the reader thinks of them? For example, what impression do you get when you find out the main character’s name is Arlo Goodman? Compared to finding out the villain is named Silas Gray? Discuss other books you have read where the name of a character reflected their personality. Some examples to explore include Roald Dahl’s books, or the Harry Potter series.
- Why do you think the author has used so many descriptions of food in the story? Does it add to the narrative or to the character building? Discuss examples of other books you’ve read including food in the story, or meals that hold special memories for you.
- As a group, discuss if the story of ‘The Courageous Adventure of Arlo Goodman’ in the grimoire helped Arlo find his courage, or if he became brave because of other reasons.
- If you could write a story in The Book of Wondrous Possibilities, what would it be about? Share your ideas.
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