Lit Circles: sharing the love

Congratulations!  Hopefully you’ve already had a cheeky peek at your book and found it to your liking.

You will have four sessions so need to divide the book into four manageable chunks to read and be ready to discuss.  Each person should have a role, as outlined below and should do the appropriate preparatory work for it.  Sharing your ideas about the book and how you are interpreting the action as it unfolds will strengthen your analytical skills.

Immediately after your meeting you need to post a blog about the text: the ideas you had before the meeting and the ideas you have after the meeting.  Reflecting in this way will strengthen you reading skills no end.



 LIT CIRCLE ROLES: choose one of these; you may swap them around with each circle meeting.

Discussion Director

  • Convenes the group; helps set up the next discussion section
  • Prepares a number of open-ended questions to start or maintain discussion
  • Presents the big ideas in the section to be discussed

Passage Master

  • Chooses a passage to read out loud or individually which is plays an interesting or key role in setting a mood or introducing puzzling or controversial or dramatic events or character revelations
  • Invites the group to comment on the passage and to make connections between this and the rest of the text; their own lives; society more generally

Researcher/Creative Connector

  • Research and present some background on any topic related to your book
  • the social/cultural/historical references in the text (where an unfamiliar book, film, event, person, poem or the like might be referenced),  uncover the connections to the text.
  • Connects the big issues in the text to our world or personal experiences
  • Links to music that reflects the book or time
  • provides information on the author, her/his life, other works, controversies, book banning etc.

Writing Pro Tips

  • What lessons about the craft of writing can you learn from this text?
  • Zoom out to make comments about the construction of the text as a whole
  • zoom in to the sentence and word level to identify the decisions made by the writer and consider what your group can learn about writing
  • what other authors you know of write in this style?



Heller, Joseph Catch 22
At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war.
Colonel Cathcart keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he’s committed to flying, he’s trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he’s sane and therefore, ineligible to be relieved

Horowitz, Anthony House of Silk

In freezing London, November 1890, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson receive a man unnerved by a scarred-face stalker with piercing eyes. A conspiracy reaches to the Boston criminal underworld. The whispered phrase ‘the House of Silk’ hints at a deadly foe.

Maloney, Shane Stiff
Murray Whelan thinks the everyday life of a political advisor is complicated enough: but now there are intimations of intrigue among the party powerful and his ex-wife is mounting a custody battle over his beloved son. So when you throw in a Turk snap-frozen in a local meat plant, drugs planted under the bed, fascist funeral rites, a killer car and blood-sucking parasites, things are suddenly spinning wildly out of control. That’s when red-hot Ayisha knocks on the door…

Malouf, David Ransom

The retelling of part of Homer’s Iliad, the famous Trojan war story in which Achilles revenges the death of his best friend Patroclus by slaying in battle, Hector the eldest son of King Priam of Troy

“Malouf, a prize-winning Australian novelist, does a superb job of recreating the mythic world of the heroes and gods of pre-historic Greece while at the same time humanizing the super-sized men and women of Troy and its besiegers”..

Remarque, Erich Maria All Quiet on the Western Front

In 1914 a room full of German schoolboys, fresh-faced and idealistic, are goaded by their chauvinistic schoolteacher to troop off to the “glorious war”. With the force and patriotism of youth they sign up. Their disenchantment begins during the brutal basic training and then, as they board the train to the front, they see the terrible injuries suffered on the front line – their first glimpse of the reality of war.

Salinger, J.D. Catcher in the Rye

Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation

Winton, Tim Breath

Breath, is an extraordinary evocation of an adolescence spent resisting complacency, testing one’s limits against nature, finding like-minded souls, and discovering just how far one breath will take you. It’s a story of extremes—extreme sports and extreme emotions. Two thrill-seeking and barely adolescent boys fall into the enigmatic thrall of veteran big-wave surfer Sando. They form an odd but elite trio. The grown man initiates the boys into a kind of Spartan ethos, a regimen of risk and challenge, where they test themselves in storm swells on remote and shark-infested reefs, pushing each other to the edges of endurance, courage, and sanity. But where is all this heading?



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