By February 22, 2009 2 Comments Read More →

An Appropriate Gift

My wife gave me an interesting gift for Christmas, and I thought you book discussion lovers might like to know about it.  It’s a collection of questions on little white cards, contained in an attractive lucite box.  This product is called Table Topics; Questions to Start Great Conversations, and it’s one of a series — this one being the Book Club Edition.

“Why was this story worth telling?”  “Which person in power should read this book?”  “If this book had a soundtrack, what kind of music would it be?” “How would you sum up this book in one word?”  These are just a few of the questions in the box.  There are many, many more — I haven’t counted them.  But there are enough to keep a lot of discussions going for a long time, so it doesn’t look like I will ever be out of ideas to keep my group talking.

I haven’t taken the box of questions to a discussion session yet.  I don’t want precious discussion time to be used in the activity of looking at all the questions and talking about whether or not the questions are good ones.  But I am looking at them at home as I plan my discussion meetings, calculating if a particular question will work with the book at hand and spark a lively response.

My wife said she found Table Topics in a catalog from Bas Bleu, which many of you may be familiar with.  Other sets available include the Family Edition, the Teen Edition, the Couples Edition, and the Girls Night Out Edition.  Obviously there are many situations — beyond book discussions — in which it’s helpful to have a set of questions nearby to get the conversation started.  For more information, you may want to check their web site:



About the Author:

Ted Balcom lives in Arlington Heights, IL and conducts workshops on leading book discussions, about which he has also published a book: Book Discussions for Adults: A Leader’s Guide (American Library Association, 1992).

2 Comments on "An Appropriate Gift"

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  1.' Karen says:

    My book club loves the Box of Questions! It has taken our book club discussions to a whole new level. We simply pass the box around and everyone draws a question and then off we go.

    My group is hard to steer towards discussions sometimes (we’re all friends) so it signals the beginning of the discussion and everyone comes away satsified about truly discussing a book.

    It’s been a lifesaver.

  2.' theresalwaysroomforicecream says:

    What a great idea! I have the Table Topics to go for Wine. I love this idea for Book Club. The Gourmet one looks great too. Thanks for sharing!

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