This discussion guide gets readers talking about their own aspirations

Book club questions in the back of a book offer the opportunity for the author to get readers thinking about and digesting what they’ve just read. Even if the reader doesn’t participate in an active discussion, he or she benefits. As a reader, I love them! I hope my readers do, too, and that’s why I include a discussion guide in the back of the books I write.

CSH Book Front Cover OnlyFor my latest work, Church Sweet Home: A Renovation to Warm the Soul, I developed some of the questions around the aspirational aspect of the memoir. Not everyone renovates a 126-year-old building, but everyone has a story to tell about a prized project of one sort or another: a master’s degree earned at age 42, a restored car, heck, a book! If my work gets people thinking about what they’ve accomplished or what they’d like to accomplish, well, that’s great. Wouldn’t that make a lively book club discussion?

I also zeroed in on beliefs. Because I renovated a church, I think they’re great places to live and belfries are awesome architectural features. But not everyone thinks so; get readers to verbalize what matters to them gives them insight into my work, sure, but insight of their own, too.

Here’s a look at the discussion guide in Church Sweet Home:

What’s the biggest project you’ve ever completed? How was it similar or different to renovating an old church?

What aspects of Monica’s story can you most relate to?

Would you react with envy or horror if a friend told they were buying a church to turn into a home?

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you think ghosts haunt old churches?

Church Sweet Home included a belfry that required a lot of attention and money to repair. Is it a good use of resources to spend them on superfluous decoration?

Tyler and Monica lived in a camper and a tiny rental house while they worked on the church, and they moved into a semi-finished space. Would you have the patience to do the same?

Which characters in the book did you like best? Which character would you most like to meet?

Monica used phrases from the Bible for chapter titles. Do you think this was an inspired choice or a sacrilegious one?

Monica’s mission statement for her home was “We strive to create a comfortable sanctuary in the modern world, built solidly and maintained orderly.” What is the mission for your home?

Monica summarized her design style as “rustic transitional punctuated with elements of warehouse, farmhouse, barn house and house of worship.” How would you summarize your interior design style?

Tyler’s stereo system was an important finishing touch to the “chome.” What songs does this book make you think of? [See this post for a playlist.]

Did you learn anything about renovation or decorating from this book that you might apply in your home?