LESSONS

 

 

The Boxer Publishing team has created numerous overall and chapter-by-chapter questions for you to incorporate into your next book club.

 

 

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!!!

 

FALL SEMESTER QUESTIONS (Chapters 1-10)    |     SPRING SEMESTER QUESTIONS (Chapters 11-20)

 

 

OVERALL QUESTIONS

 

 “SKIP LINES” not only opens the novel, but it functions as an extended metaphor. What examples of this idea appear throughout the work? How could you apply this to your life, and what would the results be if you did?

 

In Chapter 1, Cadence chooses the word “loyalty” as her essay topic. How does the use of this term develop thematically over the novel’s course? What scenarios in the book demonstrate how loyalty can be positive and which ones show it as negative?

 

Other than the occasional adjective (long, rotund, tall, etc.), none of the characters’ physical traits are described in detail. How do you imagine them? What informs your vision of them? What are the advantages and disadvantages of not having these descriptions?

 

This entire series will carry the root word of “stones” in the subtitles: Milestones, Keystones, Touchstones, and Capstones. What is the significance of stones as a symbol for this series? In what different ways do stones appear throughout the first novel?

 

At Catissa’s coffeehouse, she posts a quotation from T.S. Eliot’s  poem “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” in which the speaker muses, “For I have known them all already, known them all: / Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, / I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” The motif of measurement runs throughout the story. How do the students measure their lives? Their professors? Other characters? How do you measure your life?

 

Each chapter is named for a college course. Choose your favorite and explore how the lessons inside and outside of the classroom connect to the section’s subject. What were your favorite courses and why?

 

The novel is designed in a circular pattern, which often appears in every chapter and from exposition to close. What is significant about this structural approach? What does it suggest about the larger circles in which we exist?

 

All friendships begin with two strangers meeting, and this obvious fact seems especially concentrated in college where students find themselves sleeping feet from strangers. What is the process that transforms strangers into friends?  Although some characters become Cadence’s friends by the close of freshman year, in what ways do they remain strangers?

 

The novel contains many allusions to famous writers and their works. Can you spot them? Among those references are Langston Hughes, William Shakespeare, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, Anthony Burgess, and others.

 

Do you have book club questions to share? We’d love to hear about your discussions, so visit the consilium and send some along.

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