by Julia Buckley
I'm teaching a speech class this semester, and one of the things students are encouraged to do as a warm-up is called the impromptu speech. They must select a topic from a randomly-generated list and then talk about it for a couple of minutes. It's harder than it sounds, especially when one must do it in front of a room full of people. Still, it gets the speaker used to speaking.
As I was researching various impromptu ideas and "conversation starters" on the web, I realized that the most ridiculous sounding questions can often inspire the most interesting discussions. So I trolled through items like "Have you ever eaten guacamole?" and "What was your best Halloween costume?"
I realized, too, that there could be very specialized questions just for readers and writers that could have them chatting amiably all day. Try some of the questions below and chat with your reading friends--including me!
1. Do you ever choose books based on their covers?
2. Do you fall in love with fictional characters? (Either when you read them or when you write them?)
3. Have you ever stayed up all night to finish a book? (My record is about 3 AM)
4. Do you fantasize about meeting your favorite author?
5. Snacks while reading: yes or no?
6. If yes, what snacks?
7. Do you ever find reading preferable to actual human interaction?
8. Do you read books made of paper or books you can download?
9. When you finish a book, are you pleased to have reached the end, or sad that it's over?
10. What's your favorite children's book?
11. What would be the title of your life story?
12. Which do you take: a free book or a free cheesecake? (It's either/or, you see).
13. Do you prefer hardcover or paperback?
14. Do you tend to read while reclining or sitting upright?
15. What's a book that more people should read?
16. If you had jury duty for a whole day, what book would you take along?
17. If you're reading this blog, you probably love mysteries. What else do you read? Cookbooks? Biographies? Shakespearean drama?
18. What's the last book someone recommended to you? Was it good?
19. If you read in bed, how long do you last before you fall asleep?
20. How long could you last without reading a book?
Granted, this sounds like one of those Facebook quizzes, but it provides some fodder for terrific conversations. At your next tea party for mystery lovers, trot out some of these questions.
OR choose one and answer it here just for fun!
(Art: Tree by Pam Quimby Costello)