Are you part of a book club or are you looking to start one? Why Birds Sing by Nina Berkhout makes a great book club pick!
Why Birds Sing is a charming, deeply felt novel about a disgraced opera singer, her brother-in-law with cancer, a temperamental parrot named Tulip, and a competitive whistling group called the Warblers. Ultimately, it is about human connection and finding music between the notes.
Book Club Questions
- Academic Temple Grandin says animals make us more human. What does Tulip bring out in Dawn? In Tariq?
- Which Warbler has the greatest impact on Dawn? What do they each have to teach her? Which of the Warblers did you like best?
- Dawn’s relationship with Mina also evolves throughout the novel. Can you identify a turning point? What might they have in common?
- Were you frustrated the Warblers never got to compete? How does the cancellation of the competition relate to the other themes of the book?
- When she’s first teaching lessons, Dawn insists to Tariq that people’s stories have nothing to do with making music. How is she proven wrong?
- At the beginning of the book, Dawn values work, success, and acclaim. By the end, what are her new values?
- Cherry, who gets treatment with Tariq, only appears once in the story. Why do you think the author made that choice?
- Mina’s rug is made valuable because of its flaw. How is that idea reflected in the story?
- “With the right one you wouldn’t’ve waited,” Walt says to Dawn about having kids. How did you respond to that?
- Did you think Tariq was going to make it? Why?
- Tariq and Dawn fall in love without so much as a kiss. What does this say about the nature of love?
- How do you feel about opera? Did Why Birds Sing change your impression of it at all? How is the novel like an opera itself?