Discussion Guide for Fifty Weeks of Green
Have a fun and delicious book club meeting, bridal shower, birthday dinner, or co-op meeting when you discuss Fifty Weeks of Green: Romance and Recipes. Make it even more fun by cooking from the book, like the Wild Women of Laurinburg!
You don't need an organization to use this discussion guide, though. Bring a few friends together or just let it trigger your own thoughts. You may also want to watch some or all of Linda's talk about Fifty Weeks of Green on YouTube, either in advance or at your gathering.
If you have other juicy questions to add to the guide, please send them to cook (at) cookforgood (dot) com. Thanks so much for reading it!
If you also read Fifty Shades of Grey (not necessary at all, but you'll get more of the jokes):
- What scenes in Fifty Weeks reference the writing style or plot of Fifty Shades? Did they make you laugh, think, or both? Which book did you read first? Did your thoughts about the book you read first change as you read the other?
- What are the differences between the two main couples and how they interact with each other?
- Compare how they interact with their co-workers or employees, their communities, and with the planet.
If you love food, cooking, and books
- If you made a recipe from the book, what did you make? Was it different in any way to your usual style of cooking? Did you learn anything new?
- Did the recipes enhance the story? How? How did the technique used in Fifty Weeks compare to Like Water for Chocolate, Chocolat, or other culinary novels?
- What is an optivore? Are you one? Why or why not? What challenges do you face? Has it gotten easier or harder over the years?
- Did you notice that all of the recipes in Fifty Weeks use only plants as ingredients? Have you tried any of the techniques such as flaxseed "eggs" or cashew cream? How did it go? (For more information, you may want to watch Forks Over Knives about the health aspects of a plant-based diet and Food Inc. about the social and health impacts of factory farming. These DVDs are available through Netflix and other sources.)
- Are there farmers' markets or Community Supported Agriculture (farm subscription) programs in your area? Do you have co-ops or grocery stores that carry fresh, local, and seasonal food? Do you grow any of your own food? Does reading Fifty Weeks of Green make you more likely to cook fresh, seasonal food?
If you love romance
- Sophia Verde is no spring chicken. In fact, she has a hot flash in the first chapter. Did you enjoy reading a romance about a couple who is older than Romeo and Juliet were? Why or why not?
- Author Linda Watson calls her book "a practical romance." What does that mean? How might a romance and cookbook help you become happier and healthier? Could this lead you to help others and make a difference on a broader scale?
- How does the heroine Sophia Verde change throughout the book? What lessons does she learn from Roger Branch and from her friends? What does she learn through experience?
If you love political and social issues
- Linda describes Fifty Weeks "a romance for the 99%." Why? How is Roger different from romantic leads such as Christian Grey, Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, or the Masters of the Universe in Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities? Which do you find more attractive to read about? Which would you rather live with?
- Sophia and Roger have a big fight about something Sophia does when Roger leaves her in charge of the booth. What would you have done in Sophia's place? Do you think Roger over reacts? What situations like this may be happening in your community?
- Do you think Sophia would call herself a feminist? Would you call her one?
- Roger says "my secret power is finding ways that let everybody win." What does he mean by that? Do you believe him? Are there examples of people using this power in your community?
- Jeremy Greenfield of Digital Bookworld reports that the Cuyahoga County Public Library in Cleveland spent roughly $23,400 on purchasing 300 ebook copies of Fifty Shades of Grey. He provides an interesting analysis, ultimately defending the purchase if not its cost, writing:
But that’s the great thing about libraries: They don’t make those judgement calls — nor should they. If it’s in the zeitgeist, it should be in the library.
What place do you think that explicit bondage-and-discipline books like Fifty Shades of Grey have in public libraries? How would the popularity or literary merit of a particular title affect your opinion? How would you react if your teenaged daughter or son wanted to check them out?
- Who should play Sophia and Roger in the movie version?
- Would you want to read a sequel? What do you think will happen next?