I am a huge fan of book clubs. I’ve participated in online clubs, embassy group clubs, a local university student club. Stronger than Death will make a great book club pick!
Let me know if you choose Stronger than Death for your club and I would love to try and connect with your club, maybe over Skype, maybe over email. Drop me a message and let’s see what we can make happen!
Here are some suggested questions to help guide your discussions.
General Book Questions
How did this book make you feel? Inspired? Angry? Sad? Confused? Happy? Which parts in particular stirred your emotions?
What did you already know about some of the topics in this book?
What do you see as the major themes? Do you think the author addressed them sufficiently?
What new things did you learn?
What further questions do you have?
Do you think the author did a good job of describing this world to you in terms of setting and culture?
Were there particular areas in which you personally connected to or resonated with the story? Did you have a favorite quote or passage or a place you highlighted?
Would you recommend this book to someone? Why or why not?
Stronger than Death Questions
What were your assumptions or ideas about tuberculosis before reading Stronger than Death?
What did you learn that surprised you? Has anyone in your life been affected by tuberculosis?
What impact do you think race has in the treatment of diseases like tuberculosis, or HIV, malaria, Ebola, etc? Geography? Economics?
Reflect on the role Annalena played in female genital mutilation. What do you think you might have done in her position?
How would you answer the question: how far is too far, in terms of cultural adaptation?
Annalena had harsh words for foreigners doing humanitarian aid and development. What do you think about her perspective and opinions? What can be done to make aid work more successful? Is there ever a time when foreigners should pull out of a situation?
The author asks the question: Was Annalena a white savior? The book provides answers from Somalis, Kenyans, Italians, and others. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with their conclusions? How does her story fit into the current discussion of the white savior narrative in Africa?
What do you think is the role of Westerners in development and humanitarian aid? Is it possible to “help without hurting?”
Do you face some of the issues Annalena faced: war, poverty, other religions, other cultures, disease, etc? How do these issues impact your relationships? Your faith?
In what ways do you struggle with fear? How does her example help you think about facing that fear?
What do you think about how Annalena embraced Islam and said she learned true faith from Somalis? Do you have any relationships with people of a different faith than yourself? How do you talk about faith together?
Do you think it is important to be quiet, like Annalena was, or to be more vocal? What do you think is necessary for productive interfaith dialogue?
The author talks about how she was changed by Annalena’s life and example. Do you see that evolution take place? Do you feel you’ve been impacted or changed by this story? Why or why not? How might you live differently, or view the world differently, after reading Annalena’s story?