Book Club Activities

1. Janna discusses her excitement in teaching “Meditation 17” by John Donne because of its message about the connectedness of humanity. Read “Meditation 17” and discuss the following questions. It’s helpful to know that 1) church bells were rung as a call to worship and also when someone died, and 2) the essay opens with Donne on his sickbed, realizing he’s so ill that the bell he hears could actually be for himself.

a. Beyond its theme about the connectedness of humanity, what other major themes do you see in this essay?

b. Janna reimagines humans as islands because of the changeable nature of our connections with each other. Do you agree with her reformed opinion that we may in fact be more like islands than pieces of a continent?

c.What resonates with you as you read this passage?

d.The phrase, “if by this consideration of another's danger, I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself,” suggests that we may gain insight into our own personal stories as we consider others’. What do you think you will take away from your reading of The Motion of the Ocean? What has it revealed to you about your life, the goals you have achieved, and those you still wish to accomplish?

2.Listen to Janna and Graeme’s love song (“The Rock Song”) with your book club.

a.How does hearing the song differ from reading about it in the book? Now that you know Graeme and Janna’s entire love story, what meanings can you unearth from specific lines and images?

b.What does the song underscore about the nature of Graeme and Janna’s relationship?

c.Members challenge: Everyone has a love story, so why not a love song? Write your own verse or two to describe an important relationship in your life. Share the verse and, of course, your own love story with each other.

3.Cooking for your group? Here are some easy recipes (besides Top Ramen) that Janna and Graeme enjoyed aboard Dragonfly.


Curious how to pronounce my name? It’s easy. 
JAN-nuh Course ES-uh-ree
Rhymes with banana of course yesiree

copyright © 2009 janna cawrse esarey
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