MFAH Book Club Tours
This is where art and literature meet! Designed for established book clubs—whether formal or informal groups—the MFAH Book Club links works of literature to works of art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The MFAH Book Club presents three selections per year. Each book:
- Is featured for a four-month period in the fall, spring, and summer
- Is accompanied by a downloadable discussion guide to facilitate group discussions
- Culminates with a docent-led tour at the Museum, scheduled in advance (see below)
Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland
In 1937 Lisette Roux and her husband, André, move from Paris to a village in Provence to care for André’s grandfather Pascal. Lisette regrets having to give up her dream of becoming a gallery apprentice, but she soon discovers that the hilltop town is rich with unexpected pleasures, and that Pascal once worked as a frame maker, befriending Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne and trading his frames for paintings.
Pascal begins to tutor Lisette in both art and life, and, inspired by his advice, Lisette begins a list of vows to herself (#4. Learn what makes a painting great). When war breaks out, André goes off to the front, but not before hiding Pascal’s paintings to keep them from the Nazis’ reach. With the fall of Paris, Lisette sets out to locate the paintings. Her search takes her through the stunning French countryside, where she will learn to forgive the past, to live robustly, and to love again.
How to Participate
For book clubs and other groups of six or more confirmed participants:
- Read the book. Most MFAH Book Club selections may be purchased at the MFA Shop, where Museum members receive a discount. Reading copies are also available in the Museum’s Kinder Foundation Education Center and at the Museum's Hirsch Library.
- Download the discussion guide to facilitate your conversation. This guide features questions about the book and select artworks on view at the MFAH.
• Discussion Guide for Lisette’s List
- Request a docent-led tour by e-mailing email@example.com—a minimum of 3 weeks in advance—with the following information:
• The name of your group and number of participants
• The primary organizer's name, telephone number, and e-mail address
• Your preferred date and time for your tour (see below for tour availability)
Tours related to Susan Vreeland’s Lisette’s List are available between October 1, 2016, and January 31, 2017. Extended due to popular demand!
Choose from the following days and times:
Tuesdays, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m.
Wednesdays, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m.
Thursdays, 10:30 am, 3:30 p.m., or 6:30 p.m.
Sundays, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m.
Note: If your group meets on a specfic day and/or time not listed above, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with a request, which we will try to accommodate.
- Look for a confirmation e-mail, within 5 business days, with information about when and where to meet the docent at the Museum.
Questions? E-mail email@example.com
What to Expect on an MFAH Book Club Tour
• MFAH Book Club tours are free for MFAH members and free with general Museum admission for nonmembers.
• Tours last approximately 1½ hours.
• Camp stools are provided for seating.
• Docents facilitate tours, selecting several artworks on view at the Museum that they feel best connect with aspects of the featured book.
• Excerpts from the book are a vital component of these discussion-based tours, so we encourage you to bring your copy of the book along.
• Expect lively discussion of the book and artworks!
The spring 2017 selection for the MFAH Book Club is Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia.
Tours: February 1–May 31, 2017
• Download the Discussion Guide
About the Book
Cristina García’s acclaimed book is the haunting, bittersweet story of a family experiencing a country’s revolution and the revelations that follow. The lives of Celia del Pino and her husband, daughters, and grandchildren mirror the magical realism of Cuba itself, a landscape of beauty and poverty, idealism and corruption. Dreaming in Cuban is “a work that possesses both the intimacy of a Chekov story and the hallucinatory magic of a novel by Gabriel García Márquez” —The New York Times.
About the Author
Cristina Garcia is the author of seven novels. Her work has been nominated for a National Book Award and translated into 14 languages. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, and an NEA grant, among others. Garcia has taught at universities nationwide. Recently, she completed her tenure as University Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University-San Marcos and as Visiting Professor at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas-Austin. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
Since the MFAH Book Club's inception, the Museum has featured a wide range of fiction and nonfiction picks. Though tours are not offered for these past selections, discussion guides are available here.
The MFAH Book Club receives generous support from Aggie and Joe Foster.
All Learning and Interpretation programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, receive endowment income from funds provided by the Louise Jarrett Moran Bequest; Caroline Wiess Law; the William Randolph Hearst Foundation; The National Endowment for the Humanities; the Fondren Foundation; BMC Software, Inc.; the Wallace Foundation; the Neal Myers and Ken Black Children’s Art Fund; the Favrot Fund; and Gifts in honor of Beth Schneider.