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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Book That Matters Most

1. Why do you think Ann Hood centered her novel on a book group? What is it about the group that is so therapeutic for Ava?

2. What lessons do Ava and the other members learn from the works of great literature they read?

3. What book matters the most to you, and why?

4. The characters in the novel keep secrets. What are their secrets? Are they damaging?

5. Do you think the death of Ava’s mother influenced who Ava is as a person and how she acts as a parent? How so?

6. How is reading as a group different than reading alone? How does this impact Ava? Do you think Ava’s fling with Luke would have happened if she didn’t join the book club?

7. How does Maggie trick herself into spiraling out of control? What were her intentions and how did they go awry?

8. Maggie mentions that she is a fundamentally bad and destructive person. Do you agree? How does she change by the end?

9. The novel alternates between Maggie and Ava’s narratives. How are the two protagonists similar? In what ways do their journeys resemble each other?

10. Only as an adult does Ava realize the true meaning behind FROM CLARE TO HERE. What is the meaning? Why do you think it takes her so long?

11. On page 346, Beatrice, Hank, Ava, and Maggie talk about how there are some things you can’t change, and some things you can. What do you think each character means by this? What does each character regret?

12. What lessons do Ava and the other members learn from the literature they read?

13. Why do you think Beatrice lies to Ava and Hank about Charlotte?

14. At the beginning, Ava admits she’s not much of a reader. How does this change over the course of the book?

The Book That Matters Most
by Ann Hood

  • Publication Date: August 1, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • ISBN-10: 0393354091
  • ISBN-13: 9780393354096