nonprofit nerd reads

I just returned from the Association of American Museums Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo. One of the things I love about the gathering is there’s always an official bookstore. My budget only allowed window shopping, but here’s what’s on my wish list.

The Quality Instinct: Seeing Art Through a Museum Director’s Eye by Maxwell L. Anderson. This book promises reflections and insights on a 30-year career in museums, along with advice on viewing art. While I hope for insider dirt, I’m sure Mr. Anderson has too much class to indulge in that.

A Life in Museums: Managing Your Museum Career by Greg Stevens & Wendy Luke. Considering the most-viewed post on this blog is about professional development and I’m often asked how to enter the museum field professionally (Shameless plug alert: I am currently fielding offers – hire me!), this book is right on time, offering common-sense advice for all stages of museum careers.

All Together Now: Museums and Online Collaborative Learning by Will B. Crow and Wei-Hsin Din. There is practically unlimited potential for designing museum education programs that include multiple disciplines, involve worldwide audiences, and position museums as community engagement centers. This book examines the idea of the “digital commons” and provides in-depth case studies.

Any museum-related books that you’re excited about?

nonprofit nerd reads

While I’m extremely grateful for the free coffee and tea in the company break room, what really excites me is the new Read & Recycle Bookshop.  Yep, that’s right, FREE books, magazines and CDs available just steps away from my office! The idea–take what you want, leave what you can–really speaks to the book lover (and hunter) in me.  Every time I go in there, which is pretty often, I find something new.   This installment of nonprofit nerd reads highlights some of the books I’ve discovered in this miraculous place.

The Fourth Stage of Gainsborough Brown by Clarissa Watson.   Eccentric painter, gallery shenanigans, seemingly accidental death and an amateur sleuth armed with nothing but a sketch pad.  What’s not to love, right?




Winter in the Blood by James Welch focuses on a dysfunctional, destructive and inexplicably likeable young man stumbling through life as he struggles with identity, ethnicity and tragedy against the harsh backdrop of the Montana wilderness. 



The Ruins by Scott Smith.  This is my second reading of this novel, and it still gives me nightmares.  Set in Cancun, Mexico, four American tourists detour from their dream vacation to help a German tourist track down his missing brother, to disastrous results.  A disturbing tale of what can happen when you don’t stick to your vacation itinerary.


Have you stumbled across any literary finds lately?

nonprofit nerd reads

While this may seem like bibliophile blasphemy, my reads this month are inspired by television.   The Roommate teases me about  finding the most random things to watch, but that tends to happen when you have three thousand cable channels.   


How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein.   I remember constant tests in grade school about states and their capitals, and a brief blurb on the Louisiana Purchase, yet we never touched on how the physical boundaries of states were defined.   The show of the same name is onThe History Channel.


Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale by Raechelle Smith & Loren L. Coleman.  Inspired by “Finding Bigfoot” on Animal Planet, this is the companion book to the exhibition at the Bates College Museum of Art.   I’ve always been fascinated by tales of seemingly outlandish creatures (remember when the giant squid was just a myth?) that lurk among us. 


Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things  by Randy O. Frost & Gail Steketee.   As a person who can get a bit cluttery, I watch A&E’s “Hoarders” to remain aware of that slippery slope, and stay mindful of the power  our possessions can hold over us.


What are you reading this month? Also check out Modern Art Notes’ suggested summer beach reads for art lovers.