Archive for the ‘Book Club Questions’ Category

Reading Group Guide for ‘Hidden in Dreams’

Friday, September 14th, 2012

If you would like to discuss Hidden in Dreams with your book group, my publisher, Simon & Schuster/Howard Books, has graciously provided a reading group guide on their website.

I am reprinting the questions here; feel free to print them for your group’s use:

1. Would you help a woman like Rachel when she first comes to Elena for help with her test subject? What questions would you ask her before proceeding? Do you trust her?

2. What kind of role did the Florida landscape play in the novel? How does the weather reflect the turmoil the characters are experiencing?

3. How would you react if you experienced one of these terrible dreams? How would you react when you found out that others had the exact same dream?

4. How does Reed serve as a spiritual guide for Elena? Do you think she needs his guidance?

5. Elena is drawn into the public eye in Davis Bunn’s novel, Book of Dreams, and is forced back into the spotlight in this sequel, Hidden in Dreams. Have you ever been forced or called to do something against your own intuition or choice? What did you do?

6. While Jacob’s faith journey is just beginning, his skepticism starts to fade as even he can no longer deny the existence of a guiding force in the world. What do you think changes him?

7. Writing is said to be the “cheapest form of therapy.” Is Elena right to agree to write a second book about her experiences?

8. How do the fears of a global financial crisis resonate with current headlines and your own personal experiences? Did any of the scenes or descriptions in Hidden in Dreams particularly resonate with you?

9. Have you ever had a dream that significantly affected you? Do you typically remember your dreams?

10. Which character did you connect with most? Which character do you share the most similar behaviors or traits with?

11. Elena and Stacy form a pseudo mother-daughter relationship. How does their relationship evolve? Do you think Elena is a good role model for Stacy? Is Stacy a role model herself for Elena?

12. Elena says, “At its best, religion is a matter of creating an earthly structure in which to express the wonder of connecting with the divine. At its worst, religion seeks to fit God into a safe and comfortable little box” (p. 111). Do you agree with Elena’s statement? Why or why not? Do any other characters offer a different perspective on religion in the novel?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Experiment with keeping a dream journal. Keep your journal next to your bed and record your dreams as soon as you wake up each morning. Dreams fade quickly, so it is important to write them down soon after you awaken! Look for interesting patterns or themes as you record more dreams and share them with your book club members. For help with decoding your dreams, visit or

2. If you haven’t already, go back to the start of Elena Burroughs’s journey in the public eye by reading Book of Dreams, the prequel to Hidden in Dreams. Discuss the differences between the two books and how Elena has grown as a character.

‘Lion of Babylon’ Book Club Questions

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Debbie writes:

We are having a book club discussion on Lion of Babylon. What would be some key questions to talk about?

Dear Debbie,

Thanks so much for your note. Below you will find my own personal favorites from the reader’s discussions. I hope you and your group have a splendid time.

Warm personal regards,


Discussion Group Questions for Lion of Babylon

1.  Marc had previously lost his job because he chose to devote himself to caring for his wife during her last months. Have you personally faced a similar decision, where you had to choose between family and work?  Did you feel good about your decision?

2.  Marc’s grief and love for his late wife seem to have helped him to go forward into these dangerous situations, not foolishly but with a sense of purpose and courage born of faith and love. Have you experienced great loss in your life that you were later able to draw from in order to find your purpose and courage in life?

3.  The women in Sameh’s family are so vividly portrayed in the story. As you were reading the story, what surprised you about the women’s lives?

4.  If Sameh and his family were to use their green cards and move to the United States, how do you imagine that their lives would be changed?

5.  Do you believe that Leyla and her daughter will immigrate even if Sameh and his wife remain in Iraq? Why or why not?

6.  How significant was the Grand Imam’s announcement?

7.  What are Marc’s characteristics, beliefs, and behaviors that enable him to become such an important “ambassador” among the people of Iraq?

8.  Marc obviously loved his wife very much. How did her illness and subsequent death change his life? How does his being a bereaved husband inform his actions throughout the story?

9.   What is the significance of the Lion of Babylon in this story?