If you would like to contact Donna Dechen Birdwell to meet with your Book Group either in person or via Skype, please email her directly.
DISCUSSION TOPICS FOR SHADOW OF THE HARE
- Why did Malia prefer print books over digital ones? What are your own preferences?
- What were the effects of the Chulel spas on Malia’s family relationships?
- Compare Vintagonists, Menders, and Simpletons. What did they agree on? How did they differ?
- What did you think about Malia’s life in Walden 27? Would you want to live in such a place?
- Talk about how “city girl” Malia adjusted to her life in West Texas.
- Why was Malia conflicted about taking Chulel? Would you take it?
- What role did children play in 2126? How were they raised? How do you feel about that?
- What evidence do you find of the persistence of racial and gender inequalities in the 22nd century world described in this book?
- What can you say about Malia’s view of “human nature”? How did her views change?
- What had happened to warfare by the 22nd century?
- Discuss the statement made by the floor clerk at the conclusion of Chapter 30? What did she mean by saying “he was no Buddha”?
- What is the significance of the book title – Shadow of the Hare?
- How do you think you’d react to circumstances such as the ones Malia and Tao-Min faced in Jaipur?
- Discuss Malia’s decision at the end of the book. Do you think she did the right thing?
- What do you think happens next?
DISCUSSION TOPICS FOR WAY OF THE SERPENT
- What do you think you might like about the world of 2125 as described in this novel? What would you most dislike? Why?
- In our contemporary world, we often hear that we should “reduce, reuse, recycle”. How have these three activities evolved in this fictional world of 2125?
- What is the “way of the serpent”? What additional references to snakes or serpents did you find in the story?
- Are there aspects of the fictional world of Way of the Serpent that seem familiar to you? In what way have these things changed by the 22nd Century?
- What are your feelings about what Jenda did for Recall? Why do you think she did it?
- Is there any significance to the names of Luis’ and Isabel’s art galleries?
- Do you sympathize with the values of the Vintagonists? Why or why not?
- Where did the name of the drug Chulel come from?
- Is there a villain in this story? What makes him/her a villain? Does he/she have any redeeming qualities?
- What was the role of Your Journal in 2125? What did people think it did? What did it really do?
- How important do you think it is for people to share stories with one another? Are these stories always “true”? Does that matter?
- Do you share Max and Emily’s view that the “memory restoration process” was producing a “collective dementia”? Can you find examples of this in the story?
- How have human beings traditionally endeavored to “encode” and preserve our memories?
- What is the normal pattern of memory loss among the elderly?
- How do you think you would feel if you and your grandchildren (or grandparents) appeared to be the same age?