Monday, October 4, 2010

Book Club Discussion -- The Imperfectionists

Ah, that time has come...

I hope you all enjoyed Tom Rachman's The Imperfectionists as much as I did! I sympathized with every single one of these characters. It's a great book focusing on a (sometimes) slightly dismal, but definitely captivating, sense of everyday life.

I hope you'll join us in this discussion. Most questions are from LitLovers , while a few are from our own lovely Daniela. So, curl up with some tea and your favorite blanket (yay Fall!) & let's get started!

1. The book is a series of vignettes about 11 people in the newsroom of an unnamed paper. Yet The Imperfectionists is more than collection of short stories. How are the chapters connected? How does the book manage to cohere as a novel? Or does it? Perhaps you found it difficult to jump from one character to another—did you?

2. We find out at the end of the book why Cyrus Ott began the newspaper in 1953. Did you have suspicions all along...or were you caught by surprise?

3. Talk about how the headline for each chapter ties in with the fate of the character involved—particularly, say, the seemingly unrelated headline for Lloyd Burko: "Bush Slumps to New Low in the Polls."

4. Who was your favorite character and why?

5. When you catch glimpses of one of the characters in a chapter other than his/her own, does the character show the same traits...or do you see a different facet of the personality? What is the effect of having characters reappear?

6. There is a great deal of wry humor in this book. Which parts did you find especially funny?

7. Did you spend time piecing together the full story of the Ott family as told in the italic sections of the novel?

8. What do you make of the title of the book?

9. The fictional newspaper in this work serves as a metaphor for the press in general. Talk about the fate of newspapers— their future survival. What do you think will happen to them and why? What will be the impact of their possible demise? How important is a well-trained, professional press corp to democracy? Is the egalitarianism of news reporting on the Internet a good thing...or not?

10. What do you think was the overall message of all the combined storylines?

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