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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

A Few Thousand Words About Love

edited by Mickey Pearlman

1. No love is more complicated than that of parents for their children. See Caroline Leavitt on childbirth, Brian Hall on his very young daughters, Myra Goldberg on the adoption of her daughter, Anna, and Caroline See on the friendship she shares with her adult daughters. Can you find your own parent/child experiences here?

2. Friends, as a wise person once said, are the family we choose for ourselves. Mickey Pearlman, Angela Davis-Gardner and Dennis McFarland are among those who have lost close friends. What do you think is the connection between love and friendship and loss?

3. Romantic heterosexual love is usually described as being about passion! sex! and drama! But in the essays by Larry O'Connor, Dennis McFarland, Ron Carlson and Shawn Wong (all about men in love with their wives) something more is expressed. What is it?

4. Both Peter Cameron and Katharine Weber write about adult grandchildren who loved and were influenced by grandmothers. How does your grandmother appear in memories?

5. What do crushes and obsessions have to do with love? Joyce Carol Oates's piece, "First Love," also addresses class, race and loneliness. How is this piece about love?

6. Elizabeth McCracken says that she learned about love from watching Abbott and Costello movies. Which movies influenced your ideas about love?

7. Linda Hogan, a Chickasaw poet, uses the image of water and light to characterize love. Or is she talking here about sex?

8. Tim Gautreaux, a son of the South, remembers the "Left-Handed Love" he experienced in rural Louisiana. Contrast these experiences with the love affair that Margot Livesey is having with many parts of the U.S.A.

A Few Thousand Words About Love
edited by Mickey Pearlman

  • Publication Date: December 10, 2012
  • Genres: Anthology, Nonfiction, Short Stories
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 0312217889
  • ISBN-13: 9780312217884