31 Discussion Questions For The Measure by Nikki Erlick

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Discussion guide for The Measure by Nikki Erlick includes engaging questions, snack suggestions, and fun activity ideas. 

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you knew exactly how long you had to live? That’s what Nikki Erlick’s novel The Measure is all about. The book explores a world where everyone receives a mysterious wooden box that holds the secret to the length of their life. We follow the lives of eight people who are suddenly faced with their own mortality. From lifelong friends to complete strangers, each person’s story intertwines, showing us how this strange event affects their choices and challenges their views on life.

The Measure was an interesting book. I wouldn’t say it is one of my all-time favroites but the plot and characters really stood out. I think it’s an excellent pick for book clubs. That’s why I’ve come up with discussion questions, snack suggestions and themed activity ideas so that your book club can have the best time talking about this book.

Also remember to download the free book club guide with all the questions.

Discussion Questions For The Measure by Nikki Erlick

How did you feel about the concept of everyone receiving a box with a string that shows how long they will live? What initial reaction might you have had if you were in this situation?

If you were a character in the book, how would you react upon receiving your string? Would you choose to look at it or ignore it, and what factors would influence your decision?

Do you believe knowing the exact number of years you have left to live would be a blessing or a curse?

How would you spend your time differently if you knew your lifespan?

Can you relate to any of the characters’ reactions to receiving their boxes?

The strings introduce a fixed element of fate into the characters’ lives. How does this impact their views on free will and making personal choices?

How did you react to the concept of receiving a string that predicts lifespan? Discuss your thoughts using Hank’s experience as an E.R. doctor who constantly deals with life and death.

How do you think the wooden boxes symbolize in the story?

What do you think the string symbolizes in the broader context of the story? Were there other symbols that played a significant role?

Look at the relationship dynamics in the book, especially between those with long strings and those with short strings. How do these relationships impact the characters’ decisions on how to live their lives?

Throughout the book, characters must make significant life decisions based on their strings. Discuss how knowing their string length influences or changes the characters’ life choices, particularly looking at Hank and Nina.

Do you think the characters’ decisions were influenced more by fear or curiosity?

The story explores how governments handle the knowledge of string lengths. What are your thoughts on the book’s portrayal of government intervention in personal lives? Does it seem plausible?

Jack’s uncle uses the strings to fuel political agendas. How does this character’s actions reflect on the use of personal tragedies for political gain? Do you think this is a realistic portrayal?

Prejudice against short-stringers becomes a theme in the book. How do the societal reactions to short and long strings mirror real-life societal issues? Consider the support group that becomes a makeshift family in your discussion.

The novel introduces a variety of reactions to the strings—from acceptance to denial. How does Nina’s and Maura’s debate about marriage and children highlight the personal dilemmas faced when confronting a finite timeline?

Amie and Ben’s relationship develops through anonymous letters. What does their evolving relationship tell us about human connection in times of crisis? How do their interactions contrast with the novel’s faster-paced narratives?

The mysterious origin of the boxes is a central mystery in the story. Why do you think Erlick chose to focus less on the technicalities and more on the impact? How does this choice affect your reading experience?

Discuss the moral implications of knowing one’s lifespan.

How does the concept of fate play into the story?

Do you think people would live more fulfilling lives if they knew how long they had left?

Did any characters’ choices surprise you? Why or why not?

What role does uncertainty play in the human experience, and how does the novel address this?

How does the author use the boxes as a metaphor for life’s uncertainties?

How do you interpret the ending of the novel? Did it satisfy you?

Are there any parallels between the fictional world of the novel and our own society?

What does the story suggest about the human capacity for resilience in the face of uncertainty?

Discuss the role of hope and despair in the characters’ lives after receiving their boxes.

Discuss the significance of the title, “The Measure,”.

What do you think the author is trying to say about the human condition through this narrative?

The novel can be seen as a form of escapism from real-world issues, as mentioned by Erlick. Discuss whether you think “The Measure” provides a comforting escape or if it challenges you to think about real-life issues differently.

Creative Book Club Activities For The Measure

Thread of Fate Activity:

Each book club member receives a piece of colorful yarn. They choose a length that they feel represents their life’s journey so far, without any specific counting or wrapping. Then, everyone ties their yarn to a central piece of artwork, like a canvas or a large poster, symbolizing how individual paths intersect in shared experiences, similar to themes in “The Measure.” Members can share stories about why they chose their particular length of yarn and how it represents their life’s significant moments or overall journey.

Lifespan Reflection Collage

Provide a variety of materials like magazines, colored paper, glue, scissors, and markers. Each member creates a collage that represents their past, present, and future, reflecting their perceptions of lifespan as inspired by the book. They can visually express what they feel has shaped them, what currently defines them, and how they envision their future. This activity allows members to explore their personal narratives and how they see their life’s timeline, which ties into the novel’s exploration of how knowing one’s lifespan might impact life’s choices.

Fate vs. Free Will Debate

Divide the group into two teams: one representing ‘Fate’ and the other ‘Free Will’. Each team argues their side using themes and evidence from “The Measure”. The ‘Fate’ team might argue that the characters’ lives are predetermined by the length of their strings, while the ‘Free Will’ team could argue that the characters have the agency to shape their lives despite knowing their lifespan.

Support Group Simulation

Mimicking the short-stringer support groups in the book, create a safe space for members to discuss personal challenges or existential questions they might usually avoid. This can deepen the connection among members and tie back to the novel’s themes.

Create a Dystopian World

Split the group into smaller teams to create their own dystopian scenarios inspired by the novel. Each team can outline the key challenges of their world and present to the group.

The Measure Book Club Food Ideas

Wooden Tray Charcuterie: Assorted meats, cheeses, crackers, and fruits on a rustic wooden tray.

Comfort foods that people might crave during tough times, like macaroni and cheese or homemade pizza

Finger foods that are easy to eat while talking, like mini sandwiches or canapés, which allow for movement and interaction during the lively discussion.

Lifespan-themed foods, like longevity noodles which are traditionally eaten for a long life, or a layered dip that symbolizes the layers of life and experiences.

Fortune Cookie Dessert Bar: DIY station with fortune cookies and fillings, members write hopes or fears for the future.


Get these The Measure discussion questions. Download now


There you have the best book club questions and snack ideas and activity suggestion for The Measure.

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Stephy George
Stephy George

Hi I am Stephy ! I became a bookworm in my late twenties. So I created this little corner of books online to share my love of reading with YOU! I want to help you find the best books to read so you won’t ever have to worry about your next read!

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