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And When I Dream: Faces in San Franciscoby Bert Katz
Reading Group Guide
1. Which person's story stood out most to you in And When I Dream: Faces in San Francisco? Which story did you most identify with? Did the stories that most strongly affected you come from people with backgrounds and viewpoints similar to your own? What effect did these particular stories have on you?
2. What themes seem to appear throughout And When I Dream? What similarities did you identify throughout the book? Are these commonalities wide-spread throughout all of humanity?
3. What role does San Francisco play in And When I Dream? What is it about San Francisco that attracts these particular types of people? Could Bert Katz have achieved the same results in any other city? In any other country? Discuss your thoughts about the setting of Bert Katz's book.
4. If you were hosting a dinner party and could invite four of the people from And When I Dream, which ones would you choose? What topics would you like to discuss with your guests? Which two people would be least likely to receive an invitation from you? Why?
5. Bert Katz captured the spirit of each person's life on a single page in And When I Dream. If you were to tell your story to Bert, how would it read? Do you think that readers would find your life interesting?
6. Bert Katz respects the power of the oral tradition in And When I Dream. A large degree of the power of each individual's story derives from the particular words they choose to express themselves. Would And When I Dream have a different feel if it was told though Bert Katz's words instead of the person's own voice?
7. Does And When I Dream change the way you look at strangers? Do you notice more similarities or differences between you and the people you pass on the streets each day? Do you agree with the statement "there are no strangers"?
8. Pick a stranger and invent a life for them. Tell or write what circumstances brought them to where they are today. What kind of tragedies and triumphs, opportunities and setbacks have they experienced in this lifetime? Be creative.
9. Museum curators have observed over the years that visitors spend more time reading the placard for a piece of artwork than they do actually looking at the piece itself. Did you focus more on the portraits or the stories? Which were you initially drawn to in And When I Dream? Did your process change as you continued through the book? Discuss the juxtaposition of photographs with texts.
10. The title of And When I Dream was taken from a phrase in Edward's story. How does the title of And When I Dream strike you? What are your own dreams like? Have your dreams in life changed with the passing of time?
11. If Bert Katz had approached you in a café or on a sidewalk, how comfortable would you have been sharing your own story? How open could you have been with someone you had just met? Would you be comfortable sharing your own story in And When I Dream?
12. "The Picture Man" shares his own story in the book. What is your perception of Bert Katz after experiencing And When I Dream? What type of person do you think he must be in order to persuade these people to share their lives with him?
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