The First Last Tuesday Book Club Meets Here Today

Welcome to the first Last Tuesday Book Club! For those of you who may not know, I’ve started a new book club on my blog. On the last Tuesday of each month, we will discuss the book we’ve read for that month.

The book for March was The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro.

For those of you who haven’t read the book yet, here’s a quick synopsis:

You may recall reading in the papers back in 1990 that paintings worth over 500 million dollars were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in a stunning heist that still baffles investigators today. The paintings were by such masters as Rembrandt, Degas, Vermeer, and Manet. The Art Forger is a fictional account of what happened following the heist.

Claire Roth, a struggling artist living in Boston, makes a meager living by reproducing famous paintings. She works for an online retailer of artistic reproductions and she is very good at her job.

Claire is somewhat of an outcast in the art community for reasons that are explained in the book. Because of her lesser stature in the art world, she is eager to score an opportunity for a one-woman art show in a famous Boston gallery. The trouble is, in exchange for being invited to do the show, she has to agree to copy one of the masterpieces allegedly stolen during the Isabella Stewart Gardner heist. When she becomes convinced the “original” which hung in the museum was actually a forgery, she becomes deeply entrenched in a web of deceit that could spell the end of her art career.

I enjoyed the book. It offers plenty of food for thought about the reasons certain artworks become “famous” or “classic.” Is it because of the inherent value of a piece of art or is it because a famous person painted it?

I’ve curated some discussion questions from several places online, and I’ve sprinkled in some of my own, too. Please feel free to join the discussion in the comments below and ask any questions you  may have.

  • Do you think Claire shares any of the blame for Isaac Cullion’s suicide?
  • Do you find Claire to be a sympathetic character? How about Aiden?
  • Can you imagine yourself in a position where you want something so badly that you would do anything–even something unethical or illegal–to get it?
  • Do you think Aiden loves Claire? Why do you have that opinion?
  • What about the lies Aiden and Claire tell each other, or the corollary of that, what about the truths they keep from each other–do you think they can love with that level of deception toward each other?
  • Who is your favorite character and why?
  • Why are Claire’s works suddenly very valuable at the end of the book? They’re the same paintings that haven’t sold for years–is it their intrinsic beauty that makes them valuable, or the artist’s reputation, or something else?
  • Did you leave a review of the book online? 🙂

I must confess that as of the writing of this post, I haven’t reviewed the book online yet. I’ve got to put that on my to-do list. I hope you enjoyed reading and discussing The Art Forger. If you have any suggestions for a May book club selection, I’d love to hear them in the comments below. In the meantime, the selection for April is Stolen Memories, a Gothic mystery by Mary Miley. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s queued up on my Kindle and ready to read.

Until next time,

Amy

Shaking Things Up

I’ve been on vacation.

It was a much-needed, relaxing, and warm vacation in Hawaii and now I’m back home in New Jersey, freezing, sore from shoveling, and dealing with jet lag. But I’m not complaining–if that’s what it takes to go on vacation, sign me up.

So that’s why I haven’t posted in a few weeks, except for the #WATWB on the last Friday of 2017. But now I’m back with new energy and a couple new ideas for Reade and Write.

I would like to start an online book club. My idea is to host a book discussion on the last Tuesday of each month.

It wouldn’t start until March because I have the last Tuesdays booked up until then. But I figure that would just give us more time to read our first book. I’ll choose the first book and the second book, then take suggestions for the books after that. My plan is to ask readers to make book suggestions in the comments on the last Tuesday of the month, then I’ll pick a title out of a hat and schedule that book for two months later.

How does that sound to you? Would you be interested in participating?

Another idea I have is to make the first Tuesday of each month a day to share new recipes with readers. I figure this is a sneaky way to force me to put more new meals into my family’s monthly rotation. And I would love to share recipes that readers have tried, too. If you try a new recipe that’s a keeper (or if you have an old favorite that’s new to us!), email the recipe or the link to me at amymreadeauthor@gmail.com and I’ll print it in the first Tuesday’s post.

That leaves two, and sometimes three, posts in the middle of the month during which I’ll still showcase author interviews, book recommendations, and other posts. My goal is to inject some predictability into my weekly posting.

Do you have other ideas you’d like to see on Reade and Write? Please let me know in the comments below.

Here’s my pick for The Last Tuesday Book Club in March: The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. It was written in 2013, so it should be available in most libraries.

Until next time,

Amy