Inappropriate book club questions

William riffs on the concept of inappropriate book club questions with examples from the work of Josi Kilpack, Margaret Young and Coke Newell.

Jonathan Langford emailed me the link to recently. It reads: “If you were a cannibal and were eating the protagonist from your novel, which side dishes would be appropriate? Explain.”

He suggested that it might be fun to a Mormon literary version. Here are mine — feel free to add your own via the comment box:

“The parents of the protagonist in Margaret Young’s Salvador drive her in a white van with a big red stripe and navy blue hubcaps to El Salvador. The mother calls it the Yankee Doodle Dan Van. Is that an appropriate use of our nation’s flag?”

“Explain why even though Kit in Coke Newell’s On the Road to Heaven joins the Church and serves a mission, his past as a mountain hippy makes him unfit to marry your niece and/or granddaughter.”

“Why does Doug Thayer hate rich people?”

“Is Josi S. Kilpack’s culinary mystery series against the Word of Wisdom? Shouldn’t it be more like Carob Brownie or Banana?”

“What do you think the ‘B’ stands for in Linda Hoffman Kimball’s The Marketing of Sister B?”

10 thoughts on “Inappropriate book club questions”

  1. I think this depends on which definition of “appropriate” you use:

    1) The Mormon definition, which basically means its about “sex” or flaunts Mormon culture and Church teachings, or

    2) The general definition, which would imply that the question is either contrary to or irrelevant to the work of literature.

  2. How about:

    * “Do you think Clory in The Giant Joshua was hot? and if so, why?”

    * “If Frank Windham in The Backslider were to marry polygamously, what would his second wife be like? Would he need to baptize the second wife also?”

    Looking at my definitions of appropriate above, I guess these fit both definitions!!

  3. The bizarre irrelevance is definitely part of what drew me to the original (and made me laugh out loud, and share it with William).

    “In Brigham City, the bishop was also the sheriff. How would the story be different if he were the undertaker instead? How would it be different if he were the serial killer?”

    “Imagine the perfect date with John Wayne Cleaver — protagonist of I Am Not a Serial Killer. What would you eat? Where would you go? What would you talk about?”

    “Compare and contrast the road show designed by Braden Bell’s characters with the rock musical Hair. How would Hair look (and sound) if it were performed by your ward or stake?”

    “How might things have turned out differently in Angels in America if Joe and Harper’s home and visiting teachers had been diligent in their callings?”

  4. .

    Clory is totally hot, ftr. Based on the text, I’ll have to assume it’s because a vengeful God made her that way.

  5. “How might things have turned out differently in Angels in America if Joe and Harper’s home and visiting teachers had been diligent in their callings?”

    My favorite so far.

  6. Why does Douglas Thayer hate rich people? Because he’s very awesome. And very important.

    * How would No Going Back be different if the main character weren’t gay? Provide six examples.

    * Why is “Dancing Naked” called “Dancing Naked” instead of “Dancing Nude”?

    *Which character in “Big Love” is most like your father? Which character is most like William Morris? Compare and contrast your father with William Morris. How does this relate back to the series finale of “Big Love”?

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