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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Beside a Burning Sea

1. Discuss the significance of the title Beside a Burning Sea. Additionally, the original title was The Poet Makers. Which title do you prefer? Why?

2. Did Beside a Burning Sea provide you with a better understanding of World War II? If so, how?

3. Would you consider Beside a Burning Sea an antiwar novel?

4. Who was your favorite character and why?

5. Are you interested in learning more about haikus?

6. Is this a novel that would lend itself well to the silver screen? If so, who would you imagine playing the various characters?

7. Are you more interested in reading a novel set somewhere you haven’t been, or would you prefer a locale that you’re familiar with?

8. What do you think was the biggest challenge that John Shors faced when writing Beside a Burning Sea?

9. Did you connect more with Annie or Isabelle? Why?

10. Of the three main relationships in the novel (Annie and Akira, Isabelle and Joshua, Ratu and Jake), which did you most enjoy? For what reasons?

11. How effective was the character Roger as a villain?

12. What was your favorite scene within Beside a Burning Sea?


Beside a Burning Sea
by John Shors

  • Publication Date: September 2, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade
  • ISBN-10: 0451224922
  • ISBN-13: 9780451224927