The Bookshop on the Corner Discussion Questions

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany is a certified Special Education and Elementary teacher with 11 years experience teaching Special Education from grades PK through 5. She has a Bachelor's degree in Special Education, Elementary Education, and English from Gordon College and a Master’s degree in Special Education from Salem State University.

If you're looking for a coming-of-age novel with engaging characters and a beautiful setting, try 'The Bookshop on the Corner.' Use this set of questions to lead a discussion about the story, literary elements, and personal responses. Updated: 10/25/2019

The Bookshop on the Corner

Nina is a twenty-nine-year-old librarian. When her job is down-sized, she does something uncharacteristic and uproots her ties to follow her dream of owning her own bookshop. She buys a large van and sets up her bookshop in rural Scotland, about as far from the congested city as she could be. Jenny Colgan's charming novel The Bookshop on the Corner makes a good read for a high school or college class or adult reading group. Use these discussion questions to work through the novel with your students.

Questions About the Story

  • How do the different people she meets in her travels contribute to Nina's new direction? How do the actions of strangers seem believable or surprising?
  • What does Nina like about her new home? What is strange and new?
  • What does Nina learn from Marek? Why did Marek treat Nina the way he did? Ultimately, what was his motivation to return to Latvia?
  • Lennox talked to his lawyer about Marek. What does this say about Lennox's character?
  • How does the author use Nina's friendship with Griffin to develop what we know about Nina's character?
  • What is Surinder's experience of Scotland? Nina wants her to buy the barn. Based on textual evidence, do you think she will or not?

Questions About Literary Elements

  • In the ''Message to Readers'' that precedes the book, the author talks about all the places she likes to read. Why is this relevant? What tone does it set for the story? Where do you like to read?
  • The title of the book is not the name of Nina's bookstore. What is the significance of the title?
  • Why is the contrast between the city and the country key in this novel? How does the setting drive the story? Can you think of other books you've read where the setting is equally important?

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