Book Club

Travel Book Club: Less Is Lost Discussion

Eden Book Club: Less Is Lost Discussion

Full of heart, charm, and Lessian awkwardness, Less Is Lost is the witty companion to Andrew Sean Greer’s literary travel romp, Less (a former Eden Travel Book Club pick).

Set throughout the US (Joshua Tree and Palm Springs, Navajo Nation to Santa Fe, through Texas to the South), Less Is Lost is an all-American satire, quick with banter and unafraid of quips and jest. It’s remarkably clever and delightfully observant, told with a razor-sharp lens.

Most months, I would have loved a story like this. But I’ve been in a reading slump lately, and unfortunately, Less Is Lost did not pull me out of it. Had this not been our book club pick of the month, I would have deprioritized reading Less Is Lost (and enjoyed its facetiousness at a point when plodding plots, droll digressions, and amusing asides captivate me more than lull me to sleep). 

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this book!

Book Club Discussion Guidelines

Discussion posts (like this one) will have a series of questions as starting points. But honestly, you can talk about whatever you want regarding the books. You don’t have to answer all (or any) of the questions. I’d still love to hear your thoughts!

You can join in regardless of whether you’ve read, not read, or DNF’d the book! I understand that not everyone has the time to read or finish the book so I try to include a general discussion question as well to make the discussions more inclusive.

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Less Is Lost Discussion Questions

  • Arthur Less is an escapist with emotions tailing at his heels. What themes is Less running away from and running towards?
  • How does Arthur Less deal with loneliness and solitude in Less In Lost?
  • How did you feel about the story structure and/or writing style?
  • Was there any moment in this book that made you laugh out loud?
  • What were your favorite quotes from Less Is Lost?
  • What were the biggest emotions you felt whilst reading this novel?
  • Arthur travels to several locations throughout this story. Was there any place you enjoyed reading about the most?
  • What was your favorite observation about America, American places, and American behaviors in Less Is Lost?
  • What role does uncertainty play in Less Is Lost?
  • If the author had a chance to include one more location, what location would you want included and why?

July 2023 Book Club Pick

sincerely anshula

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Of course, these are just starter questions. There are no right or wrong answers. Feel 100% free to discuss anything regarding the book (or otherwise). I’ll be jumping in and responding as well!


  • May
    June 30, 2023 at 11:39 AM

    I found the bit about going through Texas accurate.

    “a long, dry section of America, that, for cross-country travelers, is equivalent to the long, dry section on the Whiteness of the Whale in Moby-Dick, the tedium of which drives most readers to madness.”

    “Less and Dolly pass through Amarillo and into a land of sagebrush, dead armadillos, more churches than doughnut shops and more doughnut shops than gas stations. The rest is sun and hard earth. I know this because Less called me daily, babbling about RVS.”

    • Anshula Varma
      June 30, 2023 at 11:47 AM

      That paragraph brought back so many memories of traveling through Texas. Also, “the tedium of which drives most readers to madness” had me chuckling. So true (an audiobook or a good playlist is essential for making it through that ride).

      Side Note: I would have loved to see Arthur Less at a Buc-ees, grabbing one of those happy camper beaver shirts.

  • Grayce
    June 30, 2023 at 12:22 PM

    Gutted this wasn’t the right time for you to read the book. It’s fantastic. Even better than Less. It is just as gentle as Less and as lyrical. But where Less is about love and longing, Less Is Lost is about loneliness and belonging. The book is built on a foundation of grief yet it is a house of happiness. It is cheery and kind to a fault. So awkward is Less. So lost is Less. Yet it is that loss that does him so much good.

    Hitchiker’s Guide To The Galaxy should pull you out of that reading slump. You’ll love it.

    • Anshula Varma
      July 3, 2023 at 9:59 AM

      This description of Less Is Lost is beautiful. The book truly is exuberant, and I can’t wait to re-read it when I’m in a less slumpy mood (ah, the trials of a mood reader).

  • Vandeveble
    July 3, 2023 at 9:54 AM

    I don’t get the hype for this book. I like sequels. I didn’t like this sequel.

    He was in the south. Less had an opportunity to learn from so many Black characters but he didn’t at all.

    • Anshula Varma
      July 3, 2023 at 10:10 AM

      That’s a valid feeling! I think a lot of the hype stems from:
      – it’s a sequel to a Pulitzer Prize winning novel (few Pulitzer winners have dared to extend their characters and world)
      – it’s observant (minute exchanges that made me go, “ah, yes, that’s just how this interaction is and feels and functions”)
      – it’s layered and joyous. Few books choose to breach the world of funny literary fiction (happiness is often reserved for rom-coms and romance, when really it can stem from many places)

      You might enjoy Andrew Sean Greer’s Esquire interview (reporting by Adrienne Westenfeld). There was a question asked about Less reckoning with his white privilege, and Greer answered “Just before I started this book, I talked about it at a writer’s colony. There was a great African-American writer who said to me, “Don’t make this a book about a white guy meeting a lot of brown people and learning something about himself. We don’t need more books like that. I would love to read a book about whiteness—that’s what’s baffling.” I said, “That’s true. I would love to do that.” In the book, a few characters share the fables of their ancestry, which are the documents of their whiteness. They’re all ridiculous. Less’s is the most ridiculous of them all.”


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