Monday, October 28, 2013

Last Week of The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Here are the last questions that I have to stimulate conversation about our first ever
Book Chat(ter). You, of course, can talk about your own experiences as related to the book. However, your chance to do so will end Halloween. So don't miss out on the fun and turn into a pumpkin. Let us know what you think!

The novel’s ending is ambiguous. Cima, Hig, Bangley, and Pops have formed a kind of family, the spruce and aspen are coming back, eagles and hawks are flourishing, but the trout and elk are gone, water is disappearing, and mysterious jets are flying overhead.

What might happen next, or in the next ten years, for these characters and the world they live in?

Why does Heller conclude The Dog Stars with Hig’s favorite poem “When Will I Be Home?” by Li Shang-Yin?

Why is this a fitting way to end the story?

In what ways is the novel about the longing for home?

What does the novel imply about human nature, after the constraints of civilization have been removed?

What does it suggest about the possible consequences of the way we are living now?

Let me know one or all the answers to this book. I loor forward to hearing fro you.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Discussion Questions

We are discussing The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
Why is Hig’s relationship with Cima so important in the novel?
 What makes it particularly touching, given what each of them has suffered?

What similarities does The Dog Stars share with other recent dystopian novels like The Hunger Games and The Road? In what important ways does it differ from them?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week Three - Dog Stars By Peter Heller

Here are some more thought provoking questions to get your mental juices flowing. You do not have to answer each one. They are there to help with the discussion.

The Dog Stars is a serious book about a devastating subject, but what are some of its more lighthearted moments?
Why is it important that the book have this mixture of tenderness and violence, anxiety and peace?

What has caused the end of human civilization in the novel?

Why have the scattered survivors become so savage?
Does the post apocalyptic world Heller presents seem accurate and likely, given the state of the world today?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Week Two more things to consider

When Cima’s father asks Hig why he came to their canyon—why he flew beyond the point of no return—Hig can’t find an answer. What might have prompted Hig to take that risk? What was he looking for?

When they decide to take a ewe and a ram with them on the plane, Hig says, “Like the Ark. Here we go” [p. 273]. He says it jokingly, but does the novel offer a sense of hope that life on the planet might continue, post apocalypse? What other biblical references occur in the novel?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week Two Book Two

This week we will talk about Book Two of the Dog Stars by Peter Heller. Since his chapters are so long we are going to talk about chapters one and two. Remember that we are giving the book away so make your comments to win!
Let's start!
How and why does Hig's relationship with Bangley change over the course of the novel?

Jasper's death is a turning point for Hig. How and why does it affect him so powerfully?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Here are a few more questions about Book One that will get things moving.
Remember that the first few people who respond will get a free copy of the books.

At the beginning of Chapter III, the narrator wonders why he’s telling this story. What might be his motivations? Who does he imagine his audience will be?

Hig says that Bangley “had been waiting for the End all his life. . . . He didn’t do anything that wasn’t aimed at surviving” [p. 71]. He also clearly enjoys killing people. In what ways is Hig different from Bangley? How did “the End” affect him? How does he feel about killing?

Since flying is a big part of the book, here is our paper airplane making table. There are three different airplanes that you can fold and fly!

Monday, October 7, 2013

This week we are discussing The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. The story is separated into three books. Book one has six chapters. There are only 10 to 15 pages per chapter. We are going to talk about Book One this week.
To start the conversation here are some questions to ponder. I cannot wait to hear your responses. Since this is a family blog please keep the language clean.

The prose style of The Dog Stars is clipped, terse, often fragmented.

Why would Heller choose this way of writing this particular story? In what ways is it fitting?

Was anyone offended by the language?

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