ICE Breakers

TALKING HEADS

BOOK OF THE MOMENT

Did you and your group feel it was important to have seen the monologues on TV first? If so, what did Bennett’s commentary add to your experience?
Do you think the stories are dated?
Only two of the monologues are by men. Do you think Bennett understands women? Did he capture the sentiment of women at this time?
Which story, if any, would you like to have seen developed?
Did you have a favourite monologue in the collection and in the recent series?
Who was your favourite character and why? How did he/she compare to the original great stars of '80s and '90s.
Bennett tackles some of today’s hot topics of sexual and racial equality and the role of religion. What felt dated? Or relevant?

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

What do you think are the key elements which have made this book such a surprise bestseller?
How do you think the author avoids sentimentality of her heroine?
How does the remote backdrop of the marshlands impact the story?
How believable is it that a young girl could go officially “unnoticed” for so many years? Do you think it would have been possible for her to survive on her own?
What different influences do Chase and Tate have on Kya’s life?
Would you agree that the theme of loneliness is integral to the story?
Did the ending surprise you?
Would you like to see this book as a film?

MY DARK VANESSA

Russell admits that reading Lolita had a huge impact on her and she still reads the book regularly. Why do you think Lolita had such a powerful and meaningful influence on the author?
The author references Monica Lewinsky as someone who tried to hold her head high through the humiliating questions she endured. Do you think this is an interesting comparison with Vanessa’s willingness to stand by Strane?
There is one time when Vanessa lets her guard down and tells her college professor that she was raped by a teacher at high school. She is immediately shocked by what she views as a lie, although does admit she doesn’t know if she is lying or just telling the truth. Do you think Vanessa was raped?
Why do you think Strane gives Vanessa a copy of Lolita and why do you think Vanessa treasures it for so many years?
Do you think Vanessa is empowered by her relationship with Strane?
Do you think there are autobiographical elements to this story?
Do you think Oprah was right to not include this book in her club?

THE WILD CARD

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Illustrations by Lizzie Nightingale