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Islington Branch Book Club - Past Titles: "Skipping Christmas" by John Grisham

Take a look through previous titles we've discussed at our Islington Branch Book Club

"Skipping Christmas" by John Grisham

  1. Characters and Relationships:

    • How do the characters in "Skipping Christmas" evolve throughout the story?
    • What are the dynamics like between Luther and Nora Krank? How do their personalities and values clash or complement each other?
  2. Theme of Tradition vs. Change:

    • Explore the theme of tradition versus change in the novel. How do Luther and Nora's decision to skip Christmas challenge societal norms and traditions?
    • What are some of the positive and negative consequences of their decision?
  3. Community and Social Expectations:

    • Discuss the role of community and social expectations in "Skipping Christmas." How do the Kranks' neighbors and friends react to their decision, and what does this reveal about societal pressures during the holiday season?
  4. Humor and Satire:

    • Grisham infuses "Skipping Christmas" with humor and satire. What are some examples of comedic moments in the novel, and how does Grisham use humor to explore deeper themes?
  5. Consumerism and Materialism:

    • Analyze the portrayal of consumerism and materialism in the novel, particularly in the context of Christmas celebrations. How do Luther and Nora's attempts to avoid consumerism challenge societal expectations?
  6. Family and Priorities:

    • How does the novel explore the theme of family and priorities during the holiday season? What lessons do the characters learn about the true meaning of family and togetherness?
  7. Cultural Critique:

    • Consider the novel as a critique of American holiday culture. What aspects of holiday celebrations does Grisham satirize, and what commentary does he offer on the commercialization of Christmas?
  8. Personal Growth and Reflection:

    • Reflect on the personal growth and reflections experienced by the characters, particularly Luther and Nora. How do their experiences throughout the novel shape their perspectives on Christmas and their relationships with others?
  9. Resolution and Conclusion:

    • Evaluate the resolution of the novel. Are the conflicts resolved satisfactorily? How does the conclusion contribute to the overall themes and messages of the story?
  10. Reception and Adaptation:

    • Discuss the reception of "Skipping Christmas" by readers and critics. How does the novel compare to other holiday-themed books or films? If you've seen the film adaptation ("Christmas with the Kranks"), how does it differ from the novel?

John Grisham is an American author known for his legal thrillers, which have made him one of the world's best-selling authors. Here's a biography of John Grisham:

Early Life: John Ray Grisham Jr. was born on February 8, 1955, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA. He was the second of five siblings born to Wanda Skidmore Grisham, a homemaker, and John Grisham Sr., a construction worker and cotton farmer. Grisham's family moved frequently during his childhood, eventually settling in Southaven, Mississippi.

Education and Legal Career: Grisham attended Mississippi State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting in 1977. He went on to study law at the University of Mississippi School of Law, graduating with a Juris Doctor degree in 1981. Grisham practiced law for nearly a decade, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. During this time, he also served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1984 to 1990.

Writing Career: While practicing law, Grisham developed a passion for writing. He began working on his first novel, "A Time to Kill," which was inspired by a harrowing case he witnessed involving the rape of a young girl. Initially rejected by multiple publishers, "A Time to Kill" was eventually published in 1989 after Grisham's second novel gained success.

Grisham's second novel, "The Firm" (1991), catapulted him to literary stardom. The legal thriller became a bestseller and was later adapted into a successful film starring Tom Cruise. Grisham continued to write legal thrillers at a prolific pace, producing popular titles such as "The Pelican Brief" (1992), "The Client" (1993), and "The Runaway Jury" (1996).

Literary Success: Throughout his career, Grisham has published over 40 books, including novels, non-fiction, and short stories. Many of his novels have been adapted into films, television series, or stage productions. His works have been translated into over 40 languages and have sold over 300 million copies worldwide. Grisham's writing often explores themes of justice, morality, and the legal system.

Philanthropy and Personal Life: Outside of his writing career, Grisham is involved in various philanthropic endeavors. He and his wife, Renee Jones, whom he married in 1981, are active supporters of literacy programs and charitable organizations in Mississippi. They have two children, Shea and Ty.

John Grisham's influence extends beyond the literary world, as he has become a prominent figure in popular culture and a respected voice on legal and social issues. His contributions to the thriller genre and his impact on readers around the world have solidified his legacy as one of the most successful authors of his generation.


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