Monday, February 6, 2012

Winter 2012 Discussion Questions Posted

Discussion questions for the winter reading, Coop, are found below. Please respond to any or all of them, depending on what appeals to you the most or simply reflect on the book and/or comments. As a reminder, in collaboration with students and campus events, the discussion topics were created by and will involve Morris students! We hope you join along.

1. How does Coop compare to other memoirs you have read? Other books about farming and rural life?
2. This book was on the bestseller list. How does this book “play” in other parts of the country? What is the appeal beyond the Midwest?
3. The hardcover title, Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting, was changed to Coop: A family, A Farm, and the Pursuit of One Good Egg for the paperback edition. Which do you think fits the book better? Why do you think the publisher changed it?
4. As I read Coop, I am sometimes disoriented in time and memories. Sometimes it takes me a moment to realize that I am in a memory of a twelve year old or the memory of last weekend. Time seems fluid and often overlapping in this memoir. What could Perry mean by constructing his memoir in this way? What is its effect?
5. What role does place have in Perry‘s ideas of home? Of family?
6. Michael Perry is coming to Morris in March for the Prairie Gate Literary Festival. What questions would you like to ask him?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Exciting Book Discussion Coming in January 2012!

The Morris Alumni Book Club is gearing up for an exciting read in collaboration with students and campus events, and you are invited! Michael Perry, Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting, will be a visiting author for the 2012 Prairie Gate Literary Festival at Morris.
Book club members will begin reading Coop, the 2010 popular hit, in January with discussion involving students and campus community members in February. Members will have the opportunity to meet Perry when he visits campus in March 2012.

Perry has written for numerous publications, including Esquire, the New York Times Magazine, Salon, the Utne Reader, and is a contributing editor to Men’s Health. To sign up or for more information, email ( or call 320-589-6066

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Discussion Questions Posted

Discussion questions for the Spring book club reading, Running with Scissors, are found below. Respond to one or all of them, depending on what appeals to you the most or simply reflect on the book and/or others comments.

1. Augusten sees much of his life in the context of television shows and commercials. Which television shows and commercials were influential to you while growing up? If you had to pick a television show—drama, comedy, or variety series—that best described your own life, which one would it be?

2. The Finch family lives accustomed to chaos and filth. Do you think it’s possible to get used to anything after a while? Explain. Are their things about your way life that might seem strange to other people or other cultures? Have you ever had to adjust to a situation that initially seemed foreign or disturbing to you? Explain.

3. Why do you think Natalie and Augusten become best friends? What pulls them apart? Do you believe Deidre’s final accusation? Explain.

4. Dr. Finch believes that children should choose their own parents. Do you agree? Who does Augusten eventually choose? Did he make the right decision? Why? Are their any circumstances under which a child should disown his or her family? Explain.

5. Do you see Running with Scissors as a comic or horror story? Both? Explain.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer 2011 Read

The summer 2011 Morris book club reading is Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs. Peter Bremer, Briggs Library, has provided a few resources below to enhance the reading experience. Discussion questions will be posted here and also sent via email on August 15.

Augusten Burroughs Biography [Author's website]

Augusten Burroughs interview [NPR]

Augusten Burrough's Mother Speaks Out [NPR]

One Family, Three Memoirs, Many Competing Truths [NPR]

Burroughs Settles Lawsuit With 'Scissors' family [USA Today]

Thank you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 2011 - A Memoir

Summer is here and the weather proves it! I hope the season is treating you well and you are looking forward to another opportunity to read along with the Morris book club.

The July selection is a memoir. Of the many options available, I thought this site seemed to have a good variety of memoirs, but, as always, feel free to suggest your own ideas. I pulled out a few random titles below to get us started.

Vote for or submit your book selection by July 15, 2011. I will tally the votes and send out the July book selection at that time. Discussion will follow online and via email. I look forward to a great summer read!

I know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Night by Elie Wiesel

Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

And Then There Were None Discussion Questions

Discussion questions for the Spring book club reading, And Then There Were None, are found below. Respond to one or all of them, depending on what appeals to you the most or simply reflect on the book and/or other's comments.

1. Discuss the various alliances that form throughout the novel—particularly those between Blore, Armstrong, and Lombard; between Armstrong and Wargrave; and between Vera and Lombard. How do these alliances affect events? What makes them break down?
2. Discuss the order in which the characters die. Why do some live longer than others? Do you think this is this entirely by design? Does the murderer ever seem to lose control of the situation?
3. Discuss how Christie portrays social hierarchies. What commentary is she making on her society’s class system?
4. Do you think that Wargrave acts justly? Why or why not?
5. What do you make of Christie’s decision to violate the standard rules of mystery writing by making it nearly impossible for us to solve the mystery of And Then There Were None by ourselves? How does the unusual plot affect the experience of reading the novel?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring Book Selection

The Spring selection of the Morris Alumni Association Book Club is And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie. Be looking for discussion questions in one month. Peter Bremer, Briggs Library, has provided us with resources to increase our reading pleasure. He also states:

"Note: The novel was previously published as "Ten Little Indians" and "Ten Little Niggers". It is the most popular mystery novel of all time. According to Google Books it has sold 100 million copies. It has been adapted for screen and stage."

Queen of Crime: Biography []

Agatha Christie Interviews [BBC]

Study Finds Possible Dementia [Ottawa Citizen]