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Topic: Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper by Harriet Scott Chessman

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Subject: Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper by Harriet Scott Chessman
Date Posted: 6/4/2008 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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Yesterday I received Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper by Harriet Scott Chessman and as I always do when I receive a new book, I read the first paragraph. The difference between this book and most of the others that I receive was that I could not stop reading after the first paragraph! The writing was so luminous, so beautiful that I was compelled to keep reading it until I finished it.

It is the fictionalized story of Lydia Cassatt, the sister of the renowned Impressionist painter, Mary Cassatt. In the book, she has just been diagnosed with Bright's Disease, a fatal malady. The book revolves around her sitting for five of her sister's paintings (which are included in the book) and traces the sister's relationship, the process of painting, and eventually, the acceptance of what Lydia's fate will be. Taking place in Paris, other characters that drift through the book are Degas, Pissaro, Manet, Monet and other Impressionist artists.

I knew nothing about this book when I ordered it, I was just intrigued by the title. What I received was one of the best reads I have had this year and I look forward to reading the author's other works.

I would love to know what others thought of this book. I am recommending it to everyone I know!

Date Posted: 6/4/2008 12:04 PM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2006
Posts: 2,819
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I really liked this book as well.  As a fan of Cassatt's art, I always wondered about her own life, especially a female artist in Paris during that time.   I thought the author did a wonderful job reimagining what her life was like then.  

It made me look into other fictionalized artist accounts, and have "The Painted Kiss" on my TBR, about Gustav Klimt's relationship with the woman in his famous painting "The Kiss."

Date Posted: 6/4/2008 10:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2008
Posts: 2
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I liked this book too. I read it seveal years ago, and i think I read it in a day - couldn't put it down.

A couple of other good books about paintings are The Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland,  the fictionalized story of a Renoir, and  Vreeland also wrote Girl in Hyacinth Blue which follows the travels of a Vermeer through a couple hundred years of owners.    And of course, Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 5:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2005
Posts: 295
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It's excellent. My review:


Date Posted: 6/7/2008 2:58 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2005
Posts: 463
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I was glad to see this post!   I have this book on my TBR shelf, so I was happy to see such positive reviews!  The book about "The Kiss" sounds good, too! 

Date Posted: 6/8/2008 10:07 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2008
Posts: 67
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A friend gave me this book for my birthday one year, and I must confess that I probably wouldn't have picked it up on my own....but I was so glad I read it.  It was just beautifully written, and the true definition of a "gem", even in size.  Great call!

Date Posted: 6/8/2008 10:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2005
Posts: 1,080
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Thanks I just ordered a copy of the book.

Date Posted: 6/18/2008 12:34 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2006
Posts: 33
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Thanks for telling about this book.  Mary Cassatt is my favorite artist and this sounds great.  I will definitely be adding it to my TBR list.