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AMA Book Club Opens New Season on July 18

Participants can vote online on books that will be discussed 

When the AMA Art Lovers Book Club opens its new season of meetings on Tuesday, July 18, at the Albany Museum of Art, the topic of discussion will be Cat’s Eye, a 1988 novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood.

While the topic for the opening session is set, the lineup of books for the rest of the year is being determined by online voting, AMA Director of Education and Public Programming Annie Vanoteghem said.

“We have an online ballot with books that have been nominated, but a voter also can nominate a personal favorite for consideration,” she said. “We will announce the selections at the July 18 meeting, which starts at 6 pm in the Willson Auditorium at the AMA.”

Each season consists of six meetings, which occur every other month on the third Tuesday. “It is free and there is no formal membership,” Vanoteghem said. “You can attend as many or as few club meetings as you like. We do ask that you register at no cost online or call the AMA so that we will have adequate seating set up. At the meetings, we have light refreshments, and wine is available for adult participants.

The five books that will join Cat’s Eye for Season 5 will come from the nominations that include:

  • The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt;
  • Girl Reading, by Katie Ward;
  • All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr;
  • All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me, by Patrick Bringley;
  • Tapestry, by Beth Duke;
  • Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, and the Reinvention of Seeing, by Laura J. Snyder;
  • Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel Paperback, by Arthur Golden;
  • The Portrait, by Emilia Kelly.

The book up for discussion on July 18 took over two decades to develop. Atwood began working on the novel about the life of fictional painter Elaine Risley in 1964, but set it aside before revisiting the story in the 1980s. The story, set in Canada, takes place in the mid-20th century, from World War II until the late 1980s. A finalist for the 1988 Governor General’s Award and the 1989 Booker Prize, it looks at cultural elements over that span, including modern art movements and feminism.

In the novel, Risley thinks back on her childhood when she returns to Toronto for a retrospective exhibition of her artwork, which frequently includes the thematic element of a cat’s eye. Now a famous, influential artist, she deals with anger, guilt, and confusion because of childhood bullying, and the odd behavior and disappearance of her friend Cordelia. The retrospective show and the rediscovery of a forgotten item enable her to gain a new perspective on her life.

Information about the AMA Art Lovers Book Club may be found HERE.

You can register for free to attend the July 18 book club meeting HERE.

“If you like good art, good books, and good company, it’s a wonderful way to spend an evening,” Vanoteghem said.