1. What was your general response to the work? Did you find yourself engaged with the text from beginning to end? What portions would you be most likely to revisit for a closer reading?
2. Did you feel the title “1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return” best reflects the contents? Were you hoping, perhaps, for something wildly different only to be met with a familiar sense of letdown? What then might be an alternate title?
3. How might have things played out had this all been set, for instance, in another country? On another planet? In a fantasy world where the clouds are delicious and life-sustaining and no one wants for all that much?
4. The narrator addresses the reader directly throughout. Did you find this use of the second-person offensive in any way or, at the very least, sorely lacking in nuance? Would your enjoyment of the work have been enhanced if it referred to some other person, one whom you may or may not know personally?
5. Would you describe the work as high-concept?
6. Would you say you were surprised by the ending of the text? Pleasantly? Is your answer smaller than pleasantly?
7. What does the line about extension filing deadlines say about the main character? Is there, in fact, a main character and how does his or her previous year earnings contribute to the overall understanding of the work? Would it be within the realm of possibility to call this person a hero?
8. What are the chances, in your estimation, of the hero being able to make heads or tails of Schedule L?
9. What does the work say about the author? Do you think that the author is someone who would be the life of a party? Would you like to spend an hour stuck in an airport lounge with the author? Do you picture the author as a small, strange little man?
10. Certain words such as “Do not” and “Caution” receive a bold typeface. In what way could this be interpreted as gimmicky?
11. How did you react to the phrase “student loan interest deductions”? Can you dwell on this phrase, particularly with regards to your age?
12. The line “permanent residents of Guam or the Virgin Islands” tends to stand out. What would it feel like to be able to add anything to this line? What plans, if any, do you have to remedy this in the coming year?
13. In an Utopian world yet beyond our reach, we might all coexist communicating in a common language that binds and holds us, one without misunderstanding and errant connotations. In this regard, please tell us what the term “S corporation” means to you? Feel free to elaborate.
14. If you were a rural mail carrier during the previous tax year, go ahead and get into details concerning current job postings.
15. If you purchased a new motor vehicle in the last year, would you be willing to offer any rides home afterward.
16. Given that most everyone tends to get walloped at least once in their lives with unforeseeable misfortune, is it possible that this just might be your year? Were you counting on the fact that vigilant anxiety over such misfortune would cancel its arrival?
17. If you’re not so concerned with personal or financial ruin, did you somehow still manage to huff and whine your way through the reading?
18. Did you find yourself needing to cleverly mock the work before addressing the myriad issues raised therein?
19. Based on compensation for said public mocking, are you heartened to know that most of the text therefore does not apply to you?
20. What can be gleaned from discussing this work as a group? Are the individual responses kept in checked based on one or more other book club members opinions that you worry may differ from your own? Or else reveal your grave lack of comprehension?
21. Did anyone actually read the text?
22. If so, would you like to summarize it in full for the benefit of the group?
23. Does anyone have a stapler remover?
24. How does this relate to any possible overarching themes? Have we already answered our own question?
25. What then might be better left rhetorical?