Jenna Bush Hager's May book club pick is all about female empowerment with the novel "Great Circle," by Maggie Shipstead.
The book tells the story of a woman before her time, Marian Graves. Born in 1914, Marian drops out of school at the age of 14 to follow her passion for aviation. She becomes a pilot after a wealthy bootlegger provides her with a plane and lessons, a debt she pays back for the rest of her life.
A century later, Hadley Baxter is an actor caught in the prison of celebrity culture in Hollywood. When she is cast to play Marian in a film about the pilot’s disappearance in Antarctica, the two women’s fates collide.
"Now, more than ever, I love reading about women who chart their own courses," said Jenna. "As a mom of two little girls and a young boy, I believe it is important to highlight fictional and nonfictional stories of fierce, independent women who don’t conform to what society says we need to be."
After reading, take a moment to look through the discussion questions below. Use them to start a conversation with family and friends about Shipstead's sweeping story.
- Why do you think Marian wants to fly around the world? Have you ever wanted to take a major risk without quite knowing why?
- What do you think Hadley wants from playing the role of Marian? Do you think her expectations are met?
- How is Marian’s life shaped by her experiences of love? Do you think she really wants to love someone? What about Hadley?
- What do you think is Marian’s idea of freedom? What is yours?
- How does Marian’s relationship with her brother, Jamie, evolve over time? How would you react if you had a sibling like Marian?
- Do you think "Peregrine" is going to be a good movie?
- How do you think Marian was shaped by her unusual childhood? Do you think she was bruised or strengthened by the fact that she never knew her parents?
- Hadley says that no story can ever be whole. What do you think she means?
- Which friend or relative would you pass this book on to and why?
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For more book recommendations, check out:
- All of Jenna Bush Hager's book club picks
- Bestselling author of 'Crazy Rich Asians' shares 6 books you need to read next
- 5 books to read if you enjoyed 'Good Company' by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
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