Hannibal Free Public Library

The Ten Thousand Doors of January


Alix E. Harrow

June 20, 2022

2:00 – 3:30 p.m.


Discussion Questions


1. How would you describe January Scaller—when we first meet her? In what way do events change her? Or, perhaps we should ask, how does her true personality emerge during the course of her adventures?

2. In what way does Cornelius Locke (good name, there*) treat January as one of his specimens?

3. January tells us early on about the power of the written word:

[T]here are ten thousand stories about ten thousand doors, and we know them as well as we know our own names. They lead to Faerie, to Valhalla, Atlantis and Lemuria, Heaven and Hell, to all the directions a compass could never take you, to elsewhere.

Talk about the meaning of her observation. In your own reading experience, does literature have the power to immerse you in its stories. What about this book in particular: has it pulled you into its world(s)? What other books have done so for you… or perhaps failed to do so? Is the measure of a book's worth to be judged by its immersive power?

4. Rather than crafting an action-packed thriller, Alix E. Harrow focuses instead on social issues. How does this book, for instance, address racism? What about sexism, including the way women are consigned to asylums for hysteria?

5. How does the book tackle the issue of class and the propensity of the wealthy to protect themselves in the face of threats to their position?

6. What parallels to life in the 21st century do you find in both the story and the story-within-the story?

7. In what way does this fantasy offer hope for change in the real world?

8. Speaking of names (
see Question 2), why the name "January": what does it connote metaphorically? Are there other names that possess symbolic significance?


Adapted from: http://www. https://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/fiction/11650-ten-thousand-doors-of-january-harrow?start=