For Book Clubs

I have been in several books clubs over the years. One read only the classics. (Lesson there: if you’re reading a book originally published in a different language, it’s great if everyone is reading the same translation.) One chose a theme for each year. What could be better than spending a few hours with a bunch of people who love books?

I’ve received several requests for questions geared toward book clubs. Here are a few to get your group started. Even better, contact me at anndominguezbooks (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know when you’re meeting. If I’m in town, I would love to join you!

Book Club Questions for Lost Things:

  1. The idea of teamwork is important to Kate, both at home and in the Emergency Department. Where does the teamwork break down? What are the teams in your life, and how can we cultivate a spirit of teamwork in our own spheres?
  2. Lorraine accuses Jack Fischer of sexual harassment. How does Kate handle this accusation, and do you think she handles it the right way? Do you think he is guilty of harassment, or is he a victim of the #MeToo movement? Does Kate’s experience a year ago with Jack have any bearing on Lorraine’s accusations?
  3. Kate describes Henry as invisible, and her colleague Dave says that without money, everyone is invisible. Do you think this is true? What implications does it have for the practice of medicine? Are there invisible people in your life?
  4. In the first chapter, Kate treats a woman for an opioid overdose, and she has a hard time finding compassion for this patient. Henry is an alcoholic, and Kate is very sympathetic to him. Why is she able to sympathize with Henry and not with the mother in chapter one? What are the boundaries of compassion for you? Do you wish they were different?
  5. William, another of Kate’s homeless neighbors does not report being assaulted to the police because he feels the police are not on his side because he is black. Does prejudice (racial, economic, or other kinds) affect the development of the investigation in this book?
  6. Kate and her husband are still working through the fallout from her relationship with Jack in the last book, The Match. Do you think her connection with Jack constitutes an emotional affair? Do you think she still wishes something would happen between them?
  7. There is a striking contrast between Farrah’s desperate search for Mr. Briggs and the lack of interest in Henry’s disappearance. What do you think about our attachment to our pets? Where is the line in treating pets like pets or people?
  8. Is Kate a sympathetic character? Would you want her as a friend? Would you want her as your doctor? Would you want your doctor as your friend, or conversely, a friend to be your doctor? Why or why not?

Book Club Questions for The Match:

  1. What is the Match? Is this an equitable system? Are there any comparable systems, modern or otherwise, that lock employees into a multi-year commitment in this way? To whose advantage is the system?
  2. Kate is splashed by blood carrying Hepatitis B, and the laws are gray on partner notification. Does she have an obligation to notify his partner(s), or not? Is she breaking HIPAA by doing so?
  3. What is the root of Kate and Lara’s challenging relationship?
  4. Residency is incredibly challenging (physically, intellectually and emotionally), and it leaves the full burden of caring for their family to Dan. Is this fair? Do we perceive the burden differently because it is the husband (not the wife) to whom everything falls (cf., Jack, who says that his kids were his ex-wife’s “thing”)?
  5. Kate feels trapped by others’ expectations of her (faculty telling her to read more, Dan, in-laws, girls). Is she trapped? If not, what is her way out? What about Mary- was she trapped? What was her way out, and was it justified?
  6. Kate is convinced Dan can’t/won’t understand what she’s going through, and this belief pushes her toward Jack. Do you think Jack is genuinely interested in her, or just trying to score with (yet another) medical student? Does she make the right decision?