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Book Club Kits: Tiny Beautiful Things: advice on love and life from Dear Sugar

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

NOW A HULU ORIGINAL SERIES  NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK • An anniversary edition of the bestselling collection of “Dear Sugar” advice columns written by the author of #1 bestseller Wild—featuring a new preface and six additional columns.

For more than a decade, thousands of people have sought advice from Dear Sugar—the pseudonym of bestselling author Cheryl Strayed—first through her online column at The Rumpus, later through her hit podcast, Dear Sugars, and now through her popular Substack newsletter. Tiny Beautiful Things collects the best of Dear Sugar in one volume, bringing her wisdom to many more readers. This tenth-anniversary edition features six new columns and a new preface by Strayed. Rich with humor, insight, compassion—and absolute honesty—this book is a balm for everything life throws our way.

Discussion Questions

1. How did Sugar’s voice and general messages make you feel?

2. What was your favorite Dear Sugar letter and why?

3. Why do you think it was titled “Tiny Beautiful Things”? Do you like this title or do you feel it should have been called something different?

4. Were there any bits of advice you disagreed with? What were they and why do you feel differently?

5. What question would you ask Sugar if you were given the chance?

6. Did the book change your perspective on anything?

7. On p.159, the author recounts something her friend once told her: “I could allow myself to be influenced by three men who screwed me against my will or I could allow myself to be influenced by van Gough. I choose van Gough.” How did it make you feel to read that? What are the main, overriding things that influence your life and decisions? How could you quieten those voices and choose others?

8. What did you think of Sugar’s anecdotal experiences while answering the questions? Did you find her life’s stories added to or subtracted from the advice she was giving her readers?

9. There is a line from the book, “I’ve written often about how we have to reach hard in the direction of the lives we want, even if it’s difficult to do so.” In what ways are you holding back from reaching hard? What do you want in or from your life that you are not doing because it’s too hard, or scary, or painful? What could be a first step in that direction for you?

10. On p.311, Sugar describes her experience of healing, that’s it’s a mishmash of feelings that are often contradictory — sad and grateful, accepting yet still appalled. She says, “We want to believe healing is purer and more perfect, like a baby on its birthday.” Do you find this to be true for you? How did you feel to read that healing feels like this for someone else? How would you describe healing?

11. How would you describe Strayed’s take on life?

12. Why do you think she has developed such a cult following as Dear Sugar?

13. Who would you recommend this book for and why?

14. Sugar uses a lot of terms of endearment in her responses. Do you like them? Does it bother you when you’re addressed with a term of endearment in real life?

15. What do you feel is the great message of the book — the takeaway you got from it?

About Author

Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, which was made into an Oscar-nominated film. Her bestselling collection of Dear Sugar columns, Tiny Beautiful Things, was adapted for a Hulu television show and as a play that continues to be staged in theaters nationwide. Strayed's other books are the critically acclaimed novel, Torch, and the bestselling collection Brave Enough, which brings together more than one hundred of her inspiring quotes. Her books have sold more than 5 million copies around the world and have been translated into forty languages. Her award-winning essays and short stories have been published in The Best American Essays, the New York Times, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, and elsewhere. Strayed has also made two hit podcasts, Dear Sugars, which she co-hosted with Steve Almond, and Sugar Calling. She lives in Portland, Oregon.