Reading group questions for This Is How, by M.J. Hyland
All actions have consequences. This is how life goes. Patrick is a loner, an intelligent but disturbed young man struggling to find his place in the world. He ventures out on his own, and, as he begins to find happiness, he commits an act of violence that sends his life horribly and irreversibly out of control. But should a person’s life be judged by a single bad act? This is How is a compelling and macabre journey into the dark side of human existence and a powerful meditation on the nature of guilt and redemption.
- What do you think of the relationship between Patrick and Lumsden?
- Is a person truly guilty of an anti-social act if it is a result of an inherent difficulty in relating to other people?
- Do you believe that prison is adequate punishment for violent acts?
- Should we punish the crime (eg. fixed prison time according to the crime), or punish the offender (eg. psychological counselling and work release)?
- Do you think that Patrick has truly found redemption at the end of the novel?
The Book of Love, by Kathleen McGowan
Cultures throughout Europe believed there was once a gospel written in Christ’s own hand, a treasure of almost unimaginable magnitude. It was referred to by the Cathar culture in France, who claimed to be direct descendants of Christ, as The Book of Love.
But the teachings in The Book of Love were radical and contrary to the political agenda of the Church. Papal forces launched one of the bloodiest crusades in history against the Cathars in an effort to wipe out their ‘heresy’ – and to gain possession of the original, incendiary manuscript – a document so revolutionary that its contents would be considered ground-breaking and visionary 2000 years later.
In The Book of Love, Maureen Paschal continues her journey of discovery begun in The Expected One, following evidence in stone and stained glass, clues left 800 years ago by the ancient architects of the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe. As Maureen and her team get closer to the truth, they find themselves locked in the most ancient human struggle – the epic battle between good and evil.
Jane Slayre, by Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin
‘Reader, I buried him.’ So begins Sherri Browning Erwin’s affectionate, funny and brilliantly clever monster mash-up of everyone’s favourite literary classic. Mrs Reed and her children are vampires, Lowood is run by a voodoo headmaster who is turning his pupils into the walking dead, Mr Rochester’s first wife is a werewolf, and Jane must learn to embrace her destiny as a slayer of evil before she can win her heart’s desire. What’s not to love?
Jane Slayre is the one classic which can give Pride and Prejudice and Zombies a run for its money, and Sherri Browning Erwin’s masterful take on a timeless tale will delight monster fans and lovers of Charlotte Bronte alike.
Stardust, by Joe Kanon
In post-WWII Hollywood, Ben Collier has returned from the front lines to find that his brother Danny has died from a fall off a hotel balcony. But the information surrounding Danny’s accident is blurred, and Ben makes his way to Los Angeles wondering why Danny, a war hero and burgeoning filmmaker, would leave behind a life of promise and respect. Or was it not his choice after all?
Joseph Kanon’s most intricate novel to date, Stardust follows Ben on an informative and mysterious trek through the hush-hush world of 1940s Hollywood. As he attempts to piece together the specifics of his brother’s death, Ben is hurled into a stream of secret deals, political maneuvering, and the beginning murmurs of the Hollywood Communist witch hunts.
With a lush depiction of the era, Kanon weaves a tale of intrigue, suspense, and romance that looks behind the film lens and into the hearts of émigrés and American moviemakers of the time. Lights, camera, action…