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Book Club April

april edition:
The AucArt Book Club

With Spring around the corner and the UK’s road map well underway, things are starting to look a little brighter. Visions of picnics in the sun aren’t looking so distant after all and perhaps reading outside might even be within reach?

With that in mind, Book Club has decided to do things a little different this month, with the AucArt team sharing their recommendations for April's installment. We hope this selection of light-hearted reads will inspire your next book of choice, encourage you to pick up where you left off with the novel sitting by your bedside, or even spark a chat with a friend over a coffee. Certainly, there has never been a better time to connect, communicate and have a good old barney about the joys of getting stuck into a book.

Natasha arselan

1.

UNTAMED

by Glennon Doyle

Untamed is the third of Glennon Doyle’s memoirs and it does not disappoint. Sitting at the number 1 spot on The New York Times nonfiction best-seller list for seven weeks, this has become a cult favourite of many – notably including Adele, who aptly described it as making your “soul scream”. In the book Glennon talks about taking the steps to follow her inner voice and stop pleasing others. She investigates gender and society through experiences of her own and those of her family, sifting through all life lessons, from life changing decisions down to the everyday mundane. If you’re looking for something to stop you in your tracks and make you really think, this one’s for you. 

2.

the war of art

by Steven Pressfield

The War of Art was born out of Pressfield’s desire to help others succeed in the creative industry – whether it be embarking on a  business venture or writing a novel. The succinctly engaging and practical guide, delivers a battle plan to inspire those who struggle to unlock their creative potential, investigating what keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do?

3.

Out of This Century Confessions of an Art Addict:

The Autobiography of Peggy Guggenheim

by Peggy Guggenheim

Guggenheim, whose contribution to art is staggering, as a dealer and collector and a champion of artists, left behind an extraordinary legacy which saw her find, curate, popularize, dignify, define, and preserve the canon of modern art as we know it today. The fascinating autobiography of the mistress of modern art, captures an eccentric bohemian lifestyle travelling across Europe, weaving in and out of stormy relationships recounted in her somewhat amusingly laconic tone. Her formidable list of “friends”, acquaintances, husbands and lovers notoriously includes the likes of Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Henry Moore, Salvador Dalí, Yves Tanguy, Jackson Pollock, John Cage, and Max Ernst (to mention just a few). A must-read for anyone looking to gain insight into the life of such a major patron of art  and delve deeper into the juicy drama of this seminal period of art history.

Each of these offer something completely different, Untamed - Social construct, gender identity, Peggy's love and passion for art. When feeling poetic, I have a collection of poems by Christina Rosetti & Rudyard Kipling at hand."

NATASHA ARSELAN

Joanna Hirsch

4.

The House of Gucci

by Sara Gay Forden

Sink your teeth into this fascinating tale of murder, madness and intrigue surrounding the infamous homicide of Maurizio Gucci. Forden’s story tackles the rise, fall and resurgence of the Gucci brand, with impeccably researched details on the fashion dynasty’s twists, turns and vendetta’s galore. This gripping tale of the Gucci fashion empire covers not only the sensational murder, but importantly the boardroom fiascos, power struggles and legal battles – a page turning account of high fashion meets high finance with a large serving of tragedy. 

A read for anyone looking to take their mind off the everyday; I was truly engrossed. Plus may be a good read to look forward to with Lady Gaga and Adam Driver in the film.

JOANNA HIRSCH

MARCO GALVAN

5.

The Master and Margarita

by Mikhail Bulgakov

One hot spring, the devil arrives in Moscow, accompanied by a retinue that includes a beautiful naked witch and an immense talking black cat with a fondness for chess and vodka. The visitors quickly wreak havoc in a city that refuses to believe in either God or Satan. But they also bring peace to two unhappy Muscovites: one is the Master, a writer pilloried for daring to write a novel about Christ and Pontius Pilate; the other one is Margarita, who loves the Master so deeply that she is literally willing to go to hell for him.

“It’s one of those books that requires an extra amount of effort to get into but once you do, you get obsessed with it. It blurs the lines between madness and sanity, and between sin and virtue. Though set in the 1930s Russia, the novel explores politics and philosophy that are still relevant today. It’s a reminder to us to confront our inner darkness and be brave enough to embrace it as part of our humanity. It redefines how we perceive evil vs. good in reference to what is dictated by a society where individuals always value hypocrisy over honesty.”

MARCO GALVAN

6.

Ignorance

by Milan Kundera

This short novel is about an emigre, Irena who runs into her former lover (and fellow emigre, Josef) from Prague, on her return to Czech Republic, having spent much of her adult life in France. Kundera offers a crisp story embodying a modern vision of the Great Return: the literary trope of homecoming. This re-imagining of the Odyssean journey home, simultaneously questions if such a return is even possible in the modern world. He frames the novel like a case study on the behaviour and effects of memory: how it is altered by the passing of time, how it is irreparably lost and fragmented, how it determines our present lives as it is shared – or not shared – between two people. A book in which each one of us can find ourselves in different proportions, exploring the extensive impact of mismatched memories in the relationship between two people.

One is considered a classic, very intricate but entertaining; the other one (definitely not a masterpiece) is like one of those notes that you stick on the fridge, to remember the (sometimes very) different perspectives of a shared experience between two people.”

MARCO GALVAN

Kiltie De Cleyn

7.

A Thousand Ships

by Natalie Haynes 

What Natalie Haynes’ re-telling of the Trojan war does is truly epic; breathing life, empathy and passion into the silenced women of one of the most important foundational texts of the Western tradition, The Iliad. Ironically, for a war infamously indebted to a woman – Helen of Troy – the women in Homer’s poem appear mute, passive objects and prizes for the opposition. Haynes’ fiercely feminist re-vision of the war, hands over the story to the women who practise a heroism greater than that of any warrior. 

I love how this text explores the struggles and the strengths of women, where war is traditionally seen as a man’s burden. Ancient texts usually teach us about the glory and conquests of men but Haynes instead focuses on the overlooked presence of women. A Thousand Ships explores not only the great suffering of women, but also the innate power wielded by mothers, sisters and wives; voices which are still frequently overlooked within many societies today."

KILTIE DE CLEYN

Sofia Topchishvili

8.

Ways of Seeing

by John Berger

Ways of Seeing is recognised as one of the most influential books on art in any language. Berger cuts through the mystification of art and strips it back to basics, showing the reader how to meaningfully engage and evaluate art, aptly coining him a “liberator of images”. 

John Berger The Ways of Seeing is THE book for everyone to read - I agree. In The Ways of Seeing - John Berger invites his readers to look into the common understanding of styles or themes such as "oil paintings" or " the nude - male gaze" and digs deeper, exploring the layers of meaning behind them. Criticising what seems obvious to us whilst we gaze at masterpieces that shape our modern day art perception

SOFIA TOPCHISHVILI

Pui Yee Wong

9.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

If you have the opportunity to time travel to meet someone again, would you? Knowing your temporary visit to the past would not change anything in the present, would you still take the risk. All takes place in a seemingly quiet café in a small back alley in Tokyo. Kawaguchi asks us what our reason is for wishing to temporarily relive a past memory? And what do we expect from this experience?

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