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Book Club Reading Questions

Book Club Questions for The Believer by Sarah Krasnostein | WellRead’s March 2021 selection

Book Club Questions for The Believer by Sarah Krasnostein | WellRead’s March 2021 selection

WellRead’s March 2021 selection was The Believer by Sarah Krasnostein. In the author’s own words: “Open any social media feed and you will see that intellect alone doesn’t move the world. What hope then do we have? Writing this book showed me that an answer might lie in making room for the shared vulnerability of being alive briefly on this planet that we share. We are more alike than we are different, and those similarities make empathy possible. But maybe that’s just a story I’m telling myself to make it through. All the same, though, it’s a story I believe in.” 

Use these discussion questions to engage with the book further, whether in a book club with friends, or just on your own as you digest the story. 

Reading questions for The Believer by Sarah Krasnostein: 

  • Out of all the communities and people Krasnostein spends time with and writes about, which did you enjoy reading about most? What surprised you about this community/person?

  • In the prologue, Krasnostein writes ‘One of the lies writers tell themselves is that all things should be understood.’ Reading about the lives and experiences of people who are unlike ourselves can make us see the world differently. Has this book changed your view on any truths you held before reading? If so, in what way?

  • Annie, the death doula, spends her days supporting, comforting and creating safe spaces for people who are close to death. Death is a topic that makes most people uncomfortable to discuss and plan for. Why do you think this is? Did Annie’s story make you think we could do better in handling loss and grief?

  • Do you believe in paranormal activity? If you’re a sceptic, how did you respond to Vlad’s story and Krasnostein’s experience while spending time in the paranormal community?

  • As a society, do you think we judge people too harshly when they hold unorthodox beliefs? What can we learn from The Believer about our attitude to people who hold beliefs different from our own?

  • ‘This is why we must look again at anyone too perfectly characterised in its stories—too neatly one way, and never the other. They are not people, they are characters.’ (p. 217) What’s the difference between a person and a character? How does Krasnostein’s writing allow the reader to view her subjects without judgement?

  • At the end of the book, Krasnostein writes that she believes we are united in the emotions that drive us into the beliefs that separate us. After reading the book, do you agree with this sentiment?

Please note, these questions were written and distributed in March, 2021.