Better World Book Club: Ella Minnow Pea

Don’t forget to sign up for the Better World Book Club Newsletter.  Our monthly book club email includes a synopsis of the book, discussion questions and even a great recipe.  You can sign up by going to manage subscriptions now.

You can also catch the selections AND discuss the book here on the blog.

Our Latest Pick

ellaELLA MINNOW PEA by Mark Dunn

I actually read Mark Dunn’s Ella Minnow Pea several years ago for a book club I was part of and it stuck with me, so now I want to share it with you.  While clearly a literary exercise (as letters fall off a statue – they are removed from the written and spoken vocabulary of an island community by its totalitarian government), it is also a really good story and a thought provoking political statement.

I have read other books that felt like literary exercises to me.  Some work and some don’t.  The one that pops into my mind first is Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer.    The book was very highly acclaimed but I found myself distracted by some of his literary devices, and for me that took something away for the book.  I felt like it was a project for a graduate level writing class.  It would get an A for sure, but I want to feel the emotion and discover the plot rather than be cleverly deviced to death.

But back to Ella Minnow Pea.  In this book, the literary device framework does not distract.  Instead it lays a fantastical framework for character development and political observation.  Here are some of the questions the book brought up for me.

How silly are some of the things we worship or revere?

How long would you put up with rules or laws that made no sense to you?

Is there something other than language that we take for granted but couldn’t live happily without?

I could go on and on.  But I’ll let you discover the rest on your own.  If you haven’t already, check out the book club email.  It includes the discussion questions and a great recipe for Spiced Pecans from the Starwoodgal’s  Something’s Burning blog.

Let me know if you try the recipe, what you thought of the book and get ready for a great beach read next month!

— Dana


  1. Thanks for recommending this book. It was funny and yet disturbing at the same time. I laughed so hard over the days of the week yet my mind is still reeling from the social commentary of it all. This is definitely added to my favorites list. Absolutely brilliant!

  2. I also read this book a few years ago and sent it off to my daughter-in-law, who in turn sent it off to someone else. I would like to believe this wonderful little book is circling the globe.

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