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Richard Kain's Writings Posts

Book Highlights, Lowlights, and the Dud of 2016

2016 was a good year for the bookshelf and, increasingly, earbud. I still have difficulties with fiction on Audible or Overdrive — sometimes I want to pause or flip back a page or two which isn’t convenient. For self-help books (not covered below), perhaps its even ideal. What non-fiction loses when listened to in note-taking ease it gains in immersion.

Most of my highlights for the year were of slightly older vintage, so these are my personal highlights (and a few lowlights) rather than the best originally published in the year.

The Neapolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante (9/10): My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, The Story of the Lost Child.

Westmoreland County Museum of Art: A Diamond in the Rough, Promising to get Sharper

The Mellon Family’s impact on the Art world is enormous: Andrew Mellon established the core of the National Gallery of Art. His son Paul established the Yale Center for British Art (1977) in addition to huge donations to Yale’s main gallery. Andrew’s cousin Sarah Scaife is responsible for much of the world class art in the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

Her son, Richard Mellon Scaife, was a not insignificant collector in his own right. Better known for his funding of conservative political causes, his will threw at least a small loop at the art world when he died in July 2014. It specified that the recipients of his art would be two small Pennsylvania Museums, the Westmoreland County Museum of Art in Greensburg and the Brandywine River Conservancy in Chadds Ford. Works by the Pittsburgh-born John Kane would go to the Museum 90 minutes from Pittsburgh. The remaining 500 pieces were to be allocated in the ultimate art keeper league fantasy draft for these two institutions. That process began last year.

I got a chance two weekends ago to visit the Westmoreland Museum.

westmoreland-co-museum-of-art
Westmoreland County Museum of Art