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Rachel’s Reads – October 2018

After writing about my deep love of art in my publisher’s note, I want to take this opportunity to share some wonderful art related books in my monthly column. Art is such a broad topic. It continues to fascinate me, and there seems to be something to suit every taste. Whether describing a famous artist or a thrilling heist, books about art can provide insight and intrigue. Because art is one of my passions, culling my large list of recommendations was especially difficult. I grouped them by non-fiction and fiction, and I hope you will find something that speaks to you.

Here are a few of my non-fiction art reads:

  • Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
  • Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo
  • Curation: The Power of Selection in a World of Excess by Michael Bhaskar
  • The Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Han van Meegeren by Jonathan Lopez
  • Rogues’ Gallery: A History of Art and its Dealers by Philip Hook
  • The Monument’s Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel (a great one to read in conjunction with The Nelson exhibit, Discriminating Thieves: Nazi-Looted Art & Restitution from January 26, 2019 to January 26, 2020)
  • Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera
  • Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye by Rudolf Arnheim
  • The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art by Don Thompson
  • What Great Paintings Say by Rose-Marie Hagen and Rainer Hagen

There have been so many fantastic novels during the years either based on a painting or choosing some way to incorporate art into the plot. Below are some of my fiction suggestions:

  • The Painter From Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein
  • Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
  • An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X by Deborah Davis
  • Black Water Lilies by Michael Bussi
  • The Muralist by B. A. Shapiro
  • The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
  • The Art Lover by Carole Maso
  • The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

As for me, I’m currently enjoying the art novel Girl Reading by Katie Ward, She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore and Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven by John Eliot Gardiner. 

Happy Reading!


Rachel became the publisher of The Independent in March of 2017 and then married her husband Jake in May. Their goldendoodle Einstein joined the family last year. Rachel is an avid reader and loves to share book recommendations. (Don’t miss her column, Rachel’s Reads in the Magazine!) She can always be found with a book nearby, especially while traveling (another of her favorite things).


Bailey Pianalto Photography


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