The Heckscher Museum's Book Club, which gathers monthly, met for it's fifth meeting of the 2009-2010 season on Monday at the Cold Spring Harbor Library to discuss "The Miracles of Prato" by Laurie Albanese and Laura Morowitz.
The book club was started in 2003 by the museum's former Public Programs Coordinator Jerene Weitman. Even though she left her position in 2006, Weitman continues her role as the book group's moderator. "The first year we had an English professor from a local college come in to moderate it, but when it did not work out as planned, I took over and I have been doing it ever since," she said.
The museum's Public Programs Coordinator, Michelle LaPorte, said the library was a perfect place to hold the book club meetings once the museum changed its hours for the winter. "The book club meets on Mondays, and since we are closed Mondays now, we needed to find a different meeting place for the meetings held this year," she said. "The library was perfect."
Weitman decided to start the book club after she read "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown. "I thought well, let's try this and everyone who attended was enthusiastic and I was, too, so we just kept it going," she said.
The club's book selections always center around an art theme, and Weitman uses other museums to inspire some of the book club's selections. "I look at other museum's websites to see their book club selections, and I check other places like Amazon.com to see how people like the art books and how they rate them," Weitman said. She also prereads the books and reads them a second time for better clarity. "I reread the books when it is close to coming up as the club's selection for a more in depth understanding and so forth to make it easier for the discussion," Weitman said. An added treat for the club is when an author joins the club for the review and even takes questions from the group's attendees. "If the author lives locally I will invite him or her but as most of them live elsewhere it usually only happens about once a season that an author actually joins us," Weitman said.
The club's other book choices this season were: "Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa" by R.A. Scotti; "Pictures at an Exhibition" by Sara Houghteling; "The Mask Carver's Son" by Alyson Richman and "The Way to Paradise" by Mario Vargas Llosa. The final book club of the 2009-2010 season, which will be held on Apr. 5, also at the Cold Spring Harbor Library, will feature "Dark Water: Art, Disaster and Redemption in Florence" by Robert Clark. If you are interested in attending please contact the museum directly at 631-351-3250 or visit their website: www.heckscher.org.