{Reading Circles} – The Giver

Happy Friday everyone! This week we’ll be starting with a book to read with the eye of a writer. If you’ve ever read a book and stared at the writing and wondered “How did the author do that?,” this series will help us figure out some of the answers. Are you excited? I’m excited. We’ll be reading The Giver, by Lois Lowry. Have you all had a chance to get a copy of the book?

It’s a fast and easy read (heck, the whole book is less than 200 pages), so feel free to jump in at any time!

Each week, we’ll read a portion of the book and I’ll pose a few questions to give you specific things to look for, that we can share and discuss the following week. But of course, if anything else pops out at you about the writing, or how Lowry develops character, setting, plot, scene, etc., please feel free to draw our attention to it! We can all learn from the myriad ways the same writing affects different people.

So. Are you ready?

Okay, so this week, let’s read the first three chapters together. Beginnings are, in many ways, the most important part of anything you write, because if people’s interest isn’t sufficiently piqued, they won’t continue reading, and they might never see your perfectly coined phrases or brilliant, profound conclusions. So how do we “hook” our readers in?

This week, we’ll take a look at how Lowry manages this. Here are my questions for you:

* Take a look at the very first sentence. How does it hook us and encourage us to read further? What about the first paragraph? What do we learn right away, or what information has the author decided to give us right at the start?

* How does Lowry set the scene? Does she give us a lot of information up front, or does she release it slowly? When do you begin to figure out where this is set?

* How does Lowry encourage us to empathize with the main character, Jonas? What are the first things we learn about him? How does Lowry show us, rather than tell us, what kind of person Jonas is?

* What is the conflict he faces, or what causes the reader to feel tension? How quickly is this tension and conflict introduced?

* Does the author provide any hints of foreboding, or foreshadowing?

As you read, try to keep some of these questions in mind. Next week, please bring your observations, reactions and reflections. I’d love to hear how the book affects you as a reader and what you notice as a writer!

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