WEEK 1 Discussion questions



Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 38
  1. #1
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    2,096

    Default WEEK 1 Discussion questions

    On page 8, in the Note to Readers, what is "cri de coeur"?

    The next set of questions are related and I tried my best to word them well enough to convey what I was really trying to ask so I know it's sort of repetitive.

    Was it fate that led her to discover the first letter or the dragon book? Do you believe in fate?

    Every person who has a dragon book was "given" it/found it amongst their things as if it was meant for them, and thus went on a search or did research to find out more information. The diplomats daughter finds the book on the shelf among her father's books but feels the same sense of the unknown and wants answers - do you think the book was "meant" for her as much, or on the same way it was meant for her father and Professor Rossi?

    What would your reaction be to finding a dragon book as described in The Historian? What would you do?

    In Ch. 8 on page 68 ( roughly depending on font size, etc) in Prof. Rossi's letter to his " dear and unfortunate successor" he mentions various forms of protection that religious and superstitious people use and says / he / clings to " their intellectual, their psychological equivalents" - what do you think these are? What would you rely on if you were in Prof Rossi's shoes?

    What is your favorite quote or passage so far? Why?

    What do you think happened to Prof Rossi?

    Why do you think that the diplomat is acting so strange during their visit to the old monastery/ church? What do you think transpired there?

    And since turtle is wondering: what do you think happens next - remember no spoilers for those who have read ahead

    Sheww I hope those were alright!! Lol
    Now, time to get talking!!
    Currently reading:
    The Poisoned House - Michael Ford
    Book Challenge 2011 38 bks read of 60

    12,724 Pages Read of 12,000

    My Shelf Confessions

  2. Remove Advertisements
    B&N Nook Forum
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Tom Sawyer
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    155

    Default Re: WEEK 1 Discussion questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireflywishes

    Was it fate that led her to discover the first letter or the dragon book? Do you believe in fate?

    All of the other recipients of the books were given theirs, while she found hers, so this is an interesting question! Do some people's fates piggyback on others'? Or do we go ahead and make our own fates?

    Every person who has a dragon book was "given" it/found it amongst their things as if it was meant for them, and thus went on a search or did research to find out more information. The diplomats daughter finds the book on the shelf among her father's books but feels the same sense of the unknown and wants answers - do you think the book was "meant" for her as much, or on the same way it was meant for her father and Professor Rossi?

    I think the book is a test. Will the receiver of the book have the curiosity which will that lead to the obsession with the book? It's sort of like the witches' prophesies in Macbeth. And, yes, I think that ultimately it was meant for her.

    What would your reaction be to finding a dragon book as described in The Historian? What would you do?
    Hmm. I'd be pretty nervous, but I'd have no idea how to proceed. I'd be more likely to stumble upon someone else's copy. And then let it drop.


    What is your favorite quote or passage so far? Why?

    I highlighted favorite passages as I read, and didn't realize the nook has no easy way to find highlighted passages! Rats! I'm pretty sure my highlighting began in next week's reading, though. In general, I just love her writing. Her descriptions of places just suck me in. I like Kostova's characters!

    What do you think happened to Prof Rossi?
    Presumed dead


  4. #3
    Tom Sawyer
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    190

    Default Re: WEEK 1 Discussion questions

    I'm a rookie so here goes-

    I don't think it was fate. I don't believe in fate, since that would mean your life for the most part is chosen for you. The description of the book would almost lead me to believe that it was fate since it was described as her birthright. I think it was more of curiosity. We all have some level of curiosity. But the 3 characters have taken it up a notch. It's not enough for them to say what is that book, but they have to know the story behind it, and to devote themselves to it's story. It's not enough to want to open Pandora's box, but they have to have the story of why the box, and why Pandora.

    What I thought was really interesting the "successors" listened to the story of their mentors or loved one. The anxiety that each one told surrounding the book, I couldn't press on. I found it so odd, that the narrator had to know the story, now matter how hard it was on her father. For me that would be a deterrent, but it only spurned them on. Was it a lack of empathy on their part or something else?

    Although Rossi clung to crosses and cloves of garlic, really he went back to research. Which was what he really believed in. It was finishing his research that got him back to some type of normalcy. My guess for the next part is when the father does his research his grounding will be finding love, and his future wife, the lady from the library with the Dracula maybe.

    I think Rossi disappeared so he couldn't influence the research. This is one type of research that he couldn't give his input. It's a bird learning to fly, or a child moving out type of thing. You hope that you've taught them well, but everything from that point must be done independently. Although my more sinister, supernatural theory is that Rossi went on to become Dracula's assistant, and the research that the successors do is their training.

    So far my favorite passage is when the narrator was in the library doing her initial research on Vlad, and realizes that history has things that people would like to forget. When people hear about some thing bad that happened to someone the immediate thought process is what character flaw or action caused this horrible event to happen to them. Somethings in history teach us that sometimes good people go to sleep at night thinking that they are safe, but the next day something tragic hapens anyway. It's something that anyone can relate to, you don't have to find a mysterious book or chase the story of Vlad the Impaler to experience.

  5. Remove Advertisements
    B&N Nook Forum
    Advertisements
     

  6. #4
    Puck
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    210

    Default Re: WEEK 1 Discussion questions

    I think of the "cri de coeur" as a calling, a vocation. Something one is driven to do, perhaps even for reasons that don't seem abundantly clear or even logical. So far, it seems to suit the situation.

    I do think that the daughter is not intended to pursue things in the same manner as the father and Rossi. She almost "powers" her way into the discovery, rather than having the initiatory exposure "bestowed" upon her. I wonder if this means that she was left out for a reason? Clearly it seems a "cri de coeur" on her part, something she is almost forced to do, but she certainly does not seem "selected" in the same way as the others.

    I am pretty sure something awful is happened to Rossi, I doubt he escaped, but it is surprising that his body was not found.

    As for the church, clearly the father knows more/has more going on than we have been told....

  7. #5
    Mr. Darcy
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: WEEK 1 Discussion questions

    I am so glad we are starting the discussion on The Historian!

    ~Cri de coeur is the desire that you feel deep down inside--that thing you were most passionate about and that makes you the happiest.

    Fate indicates that there are predetermined outcome to our lives but I believe that the paths we take and the people we meet along the way move us much like the current of a stream in one direction or the other and not necessarily to specific place that we originally set for ourselves. We determine where we end up and are influenced by the people and places along the way.

    ~"He had long since given me free run of his collection."

    If her father had given her the opportunity to go through the books in the library with no caveats and no limitations wouldn't it seem that perhaps in the back of her father's mind he might have wanted or needed her to find the mysterious dragon book? Maybe he wanted someone else to discuss it with since he no longer had Rossi and his wife. He does seem lonely and even though he is reluctant to tell his story to his daughter; he does seem to enjoy the experience, the comradeship and the company.

    ~"Would you be less puzzled if I told you that I now slumber with a wreath of garlic under my pillow...I don't of course, but I will leave you to imagine those forms of protection...they have their intellectual, their psychological, equivalents."

    I think Rossi might mean that the research and knowledge itself is the intellectual equivalent to the garlic and holy water. Academics, in general, tend to use education/knowledge as opposed to symbols or amulets considered to possess certain powers.

    ~There have been many passages that I have liked. One of my favourites is "...my father hated planes, which he said took the travel out of traveling." If there is another feasible way to get somewhere when I am traveling for pleasure other than a plane that is how I want to go!





    ~*~ Cyn ~*~

    currently reading: The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova (Oct-Nov Book Club Selection)

    just finished: The Strain - Guillermo del Toro &
    Journey to the Center of the Earth - Jules Verne

    up next: The Passage - Justin Cronin

  8. #6
    Super Moderator sunshinejenn03's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    1,939

    Default Re: WEEK 1 Discussion questions

    Was it fate that led her to discover the first letter or the dragon book? Do you believe in fate?
    A- Yes, I believe in fate, to an extent.

    Every person who has a dragon book was "given" it/found it amongst their things as if it was meant for them, and thus went on a search or did research to find out more information. The diplomats daughter finds the book on the shelf among her father's books but feels the same sense of the unknown and wants answers - do you think the book was "meant" for her as much, or on the same way it was meant for her father and Professor Rossi?
    A- I do think the book was meant for her like it was meant for her father and Rossi, otherwise she would have never found it.

    What would your reaction be to finding a dragon book as described in The Historian? What would you do?
    A- I'm not a historian or THAT curious, so I'd probably be like, "oh, blank book....pass."

    In Ch. 8 on page 68 ( roughly depending on font size, etc) in Prof. Rossi's letter to his " dear and unfortunate successor" he mentions carols forms of protection that religious and superstitious people use and says / he / clings to " their intellectual, their psychological equivalents" - what do you think these are? What would you rely on if you were in Prof Rossi's shoes?
    A- I think his pyschological equivalent might be disbelief. So far, he's spent all this time researching but it feels like it is because he's compelled to and he seems ambivalent to it. Like the book is compelling him to, but deep down, he's never believed in this before, why start no? His mentor, Prof. Rossi, whom he KNOWS to be logical and of sound mind, drops this into his lap when he inquires as to the oddity of it. It's like he doesn't want to believe it because he can't, but there's this THING about it and the stories. So I think his "garlic" is his disbelief. When Rossi disappeared, all evidence pointed to a supernatural murder/disappearance (blood on the ceiling anyone?), but he kind of passes it off as if it was common.

    What is your favorite quote or passage so far? Why?
    A- Oh man, I suck at quotes. And bookmarking LOL.

    What do you think happened to Prof Rossi?
    A- I think Dracula got him. There was a quick shadow in front of the light, blood on the ceiling (how else could that get there?) and a missing book from his shelf of unsolvables. Right now I have to think, what else could it be?

    Why do you think that the diplomat is acting so strange during their visit to the old monastery/ church? What do you think transpired there?
    A- Mind control?

    And since turtle is wondering: what do you think happens next - remember no spoilers for those who have read ahead
    A- No idea!

    Quote Originally Posted by PFMdg
    I do think that the daughter is not intended to pursue things in the same manner as the father and Rossi. She almost "powers" her way into the discovery, rather than having the initiatory exposure "bestowed" upon her. I wonder if this means that she was left out for a reason? Clearly it seems a "cri de coeur" on her part, something she is almost forced to do, but she certainly does not seem "selected" in the same way as the others.
    But maybe this was her Fate: to have the curiosity to discover the book and want to know more. Based on the below quote:
    Quote Originally Posted by MiamiCyn
    ~"He had long since given me free run of his collection."
    I think the books have a power of their own. If she had long since had free run of his collection, why only find it JUST THEN? Because I think the book wanted to be found right then. And she was the person who needed to find it. Food for thought.

  9. #7
    Tom Sawyer
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    190

    Default Re: WEEK 1 Discussion questions

    I thought the authors using the phrase cri de coeur, was akin to Puck's speech at the end of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I thought it was genius in the prior paragraph to add thank you's to names and real univeristies, and then to ask the reader to please have an emotional reaction to the story.

  10. #8
    Puck
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    210

    Default Re: WEEK 1 Discussion questions

    But maybe this was her Fate: to have the curiosity to discover the book and want to know more. Based on the below quote:I think the books have a power of their own. If she had long since had free run of his collection, why only find it JUST THEN? Because I think the book wanted to be found right then. And she was the person who needed to find it. Food for thought.
    Maybe. It seems like finding the book (or having it bestowed upon you) is a bad thing, or at least a really ponderous burden in life. I don't think the father would leave it intentionally for the daughter to find.... alternatively, I think the father would try to shield her from it. Maybe some other nefarious force brought it to her....creepy but plausible!

  11. #9
    Puck
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    210

    Default Re: WEEK 1 Discussion questions

    Quote Originally Posted by turtlenook
    I thought the authors using the phrase cri de coeur, was akin to Puck's speech at the end of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I thought it was genius in the prior paragraph to add thank you's to names and real univeristies, and then to ask the reader to please have an emotional reaction to the story.
    Excellent point. I concur and props to Kostova: the audience direct at the outset is very engaging.

    Before we leave Puck though, this book has me thinking of a different line, "....what fools these mortals be!" Am I the only one with an overwhelming sense of foreboding from this?

  12. #10
    Super Moderator sunshinejenn03's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    1,939

    Default Re: WEEK 1 Discussion questions

    Quote Originally Posted by PFMdg
    Maybe. It seems like finding the book (or having it bestowed upon you) is a bad thing, or at least a really ponderous burden in life. I don't think the father would leave it intentionally for the daughter to find.... alternatively, I think the father would try to shield her from it. Maybe some other nefarious force brought it to her....creepy but plausible!
    Yes, possibly! Okay, so he did tried to shield her from it, because he's so hesitant in his acquiescence in telling her the stories. So if he's trying to keep her from it and she finds it anyway dot dot dot. I can just hear creepy organ music playing.

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. WEEK 8 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
    By Fireflywishes in forum The Historian Book Club
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 12-05-2010, 05:59 PM
  2. WEEK 7 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (CH. 61-70)
    By Fireflywishes in forum The Historian Book Club
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-25-2010, 10:55 PM
  3. WEEK 6 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (Ch. 51-60)
    By Fireflywishes in forum The Historian Book Club
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 11-21-2010, 11:27 PM
  4. WEEK 4 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
    By Fireflywishes in forum The Historian Book Club
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 11-12-2010, 05:12 PM
  5. WEEK 3 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
    By Fireflywishes in forum The Historian Book Club
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 11-06-2010, 10:49 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.1.0