The Wild Oak — New book club will begin July 5 and continue for four weeks.
To sign up for the book club:
- Give your name and email address in the Reply space below.
- Order the Wild Oak book from the publisher at this email address:
email@example.com. Indicate the code word BOOKCLUB for a reduced price. Order from Amazon.com or Bookshop.org
The publisher’s description of the book:
Billy Steiner, 16, is trying to decide what to do after high school, when so many adults seem to have predetermined this for him. Bill’s search for answers is complicated when he encounters the mysterious happenings of the Wild Oak. Stories from the past say this tree allows people to look ahead in time. In a setting that portrays small-town and farm life in the 1950s, Bill is determined to solve the mystery of the tree so he can visualize his future and make decisions about the direction his life should take.
Once Signed Up:
- Watch the video of the author describing the book:
- Read the book
- Think and react to the questions below.
- Write your answers and comments in Reply space below.
- Look for responses from the author each Friday.
- What is the significance of the title? Did you find it meaningful? Why or why not? What other titles would fit the themes of the story?
- What do you think is the most important theme of the book? Did your idea of the most important theme change as you read the book?
- How important was the time period to this story? How would the story change if Bill lived in a different time period? Would he make the same
decisions? Would he have the same options and choices to think about?
- What did you like most about the book? Which character did you like the most – and why? Was there a character that you didn’t like? Why?
- How did the book make you feel as you read it? Were you intrigued by the mystery?
Questions Week One (July 5-9)
- Bill Steiner is having trouble making a decision about what he should do after high school. Is there a time in your life that you had trouble making a decision? Can you relate to the difficulty that Bill feels? How did you make important life decisions? Who or what helped you?
- How does Bill deal with the issue of wanting to do something different from what is typically expected of him? Did he do anything that was surprising to you? What motivates his actions?
- Bill’s father believes that schooling after high school is not necessary. What is your opinion? Should all 18 year olds today continue schooling after high school? In today’s world, is it necessary?
- Bill takes up writing in a journal. Do you keep a journal? What comments do you have about writing in one? (Chapter 4)
- What is your reaction to the bizarre events that Jim Simon and Luke Owens experienced? Were you surprised by the events in this chapter? Why or why not?
- In chapter 5, what do you make of Dr. Jonas Johnson’s story?
- After reading the first 5 chapters, which character do you connect with? Why? What would you ask them if you could talk with them?
- Were there any times you disagreed with a character’s actions? What would you have done differently?
- Any general comments or questions you’d like to raise?
Questions Week Two (July 10-16)
- In Chapter 6, Professor Alderson is very sure that the Wild Oak does not exist. He says, “Tell you the truth, there’s no such thing as a Wild Oak. You can mark my word. I’ve been researching oak trees for 35 years and if there was another species of oak, different from the ones I told you about, I’d sure know about it.” (page 62) Why do you think Bill continues his search? How would the book be different if Bill believed the Professor at this point in the story?
- What do you learn from the ice fishing story in Chapters 7 & 8? How are these events (Jim Simon in the woods, Luke Owens at school plus the ice fishing story) helping or hindering Bill’s decision making? Did this feel like a pivotal moment in the story? Why or why not?
- What questions have you had that demanded a “search” or quest to find the answer?
- In Chapter 9, Bill decided to ask for help from Professor Jacob Davies. Compare Professor Davies to Professor Alderson. How are they the same? How are the different? Do you think either of them was helpful for Bill? Why or why not?
- Any other comments or questions you’d like to raise?
Questions Week Three (July 17-23)
- Is Bill getting close to finding the wild oak, and thus the solution to his problem by working with Professor Davies? (Chapters 10 and 11) At what point did you have an idea about solving this mystery? .
- Bill lives on a farm in a rural area. Have you or do you know someone who lives on a farm today? What are your feelings about rural living?
- Have you experienced a moment of complete dismay when you felt you were close to solving a personal problem, and then the solution disappeared like a puff of smoke? (Professor Davies death, Chapter 14)
- Any other comments or questions about chapter 10-14?
Questions Week Four (July 24-30)
- What are your reactions to the auction scene in Chapter 15?
- What important facts do you learn from Professor Davies’ journal? (Chapter 15) How does this move the story forward?
- What did you learn about Wilson Stewart that you didn’t know before? (Chapter 16 & 17)
- What words would you use to describe Anna? How is she the same or different from other characters in the story?
- What life lessons does the story teach?
- What is your reaction to Anna’s advice to Bill?
- Were you surprised about what the Wild Oak really was?
- How does the story build tension until Bill solves the mystery?
- Who do you think ended up being the most helpful for Bill?
- How does Bill change from the beginning of the story to the end? Who or what events do you think influence him the most?
Readers’ Reviews (answer anytime during the course of the book club):
- How would you describe this book to a friend who is interested in reading it?
- Could you picture this book as a movie? What famous people would you cast as the characters?
- Choose a phrase that you connected with and would fit on a bookmark– why did you choose that phrase?
About the Author:
Check back in regularly over the four weeks to see responses from other book club members and the author.
Visit https://www.facebook.com/jerryapps to follow the author on Facebook.
To contact the author directly: firstname.lastname@example.org