Book Club Reading Guide
Questions for Discussion
1. Which character did you relate to most: Harry, Jay or Zahra?
2. What attracted Harry and Jay to each other?
3. Did you ever think that Harry and Jay would become romantically involved?
4. When did you first realize Harry was falling for Jay? Why didn’t Harry realize it? Is it really possible to fall in love with someone without realizing it?
5. Why did Jay stay instead of leaving when Harry’s feelings for him come to light?
6. Can you be friends with someone you love who cannot love you? Can you be friends with someone who has feelings for you that you can’t reciprocate?
7. When did Zahra realize what was happening between Harry and Jay? Were you surprised by her reaction? What part does she play in helping Harry and Jay remain friends?
8. How was Harry’s relationship with Matteo similar to his relationship with Jay? How was it different?
9. Why did Harry stick with Matteo for so long?
10. What were Matteo’s good qualities?
11. What was your favorite scene? Favorite quote?
12. How did the lives of the Beats—Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady—parallel the lives of Harry, Jay and Zahra?
13. Were you familiar with the Beats before you read Beatitude? Did Beatitude make you want to read any Beat books or poems?
14. Have you ever met one of your heroes and been disappointed? Has one of your heroes ever helped you out of a jam?
15. How did Allen Ginsberg help Harry sort out his feelings for Jay?
16. Beatitude is set in New York City, 1995. How did the book evoke that place and time?
17. What is the significance of the book’s title? What is the significance of the cat and the New York City subway token on the book’s cover?
18. Which of the secondary characters were most memorable: Deanna Kirk, the singer; Martin Tytell, the typewriter repairman; Sparrow, the poet?
19. How does Beatitude explore the Buddhist concept that the greatest source of suffering comes from wanting things to be other than what they are?
20. Beatitude emphasizes the importance of viewing the world through another’s eyes and heart. Harry put himself in Jay’s place, Jay put himself in Harry’s place and Zahra put herself in Harry as well as Jay’s place. What did they each learn by doing so?
21. What did Harry and Jay each give up to keep the other in his life at the end of the book?
22. Is beatitude possible?