Hannibal Free Public Library
One of the themes in The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is how a
single individual can strengthen a community or repair fragile lives. First, why
does Sara Lundqvist decide that the people of Broken Wheel need a bookstore?
Next, how does she become a catalyst for change—what is it about Sara that gives
her such influence?
2. Discuss the nature and contents of Sara and Amy Harris's two-year correspondence. What do the letters reveal about each of them. Amy, for instance, writes the following:
John says I think about historic injustices too much. Maybe he’s right, but it’s just that it doesn’t feel historic to me. We never seem to be able to accept responsibility for them. First, we say that’s just how things are, then we shrug our shoulders and say that’s just how things were, that things are different now. No thanks to us, I want to reply, but no one ever seems to want to hear that.
—What do you make of Amy's view of human indifference to injustice. Is she
cynical, overly idealistic, or realistic?
—What about Sara? What do the letters reveal about her character?
3. Have you ever had a long-lasting correspondence with someone you didn't know...or even with someone you did know? Can letter writing form as deep a relationship as personal contact?
4. What do you think of Sara's emotional engagement with books:
Sara couldn’t help but wonder what life might be like if you couldn’t daydream about Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy...because you yourself had created him.
—Is your attachment to books as strong as Sara's? Do you sometimes wonder if your involvement with them takes precedence over your real life?
Another theme in Broken Wheel is the power of books to change lives. What
gives them such power—what's their secret? What is the town of Broken Wheel like
when Sara arrives, and how does it change by the book's end.
6. Follow-up to Question 5: Now talk about specific characters in the novel and how individual lives are changed through reading. Which character's story engaged you most?
7. What book has changed your life...or the life of someone close to you?
8. What other works does The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommends bring to mind? Have you read, for instance, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, 84 Charing Cross Road, or The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry? If so, how does this book compare to any of those?