Book review: The Art Lover’s Almanac

June 26, 2017

The Art Lover’s Almanac

Serious Trivia for the Novice and the Connoisseur

Publisher: Jossey-Bass

Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team

Available on Amazon

Recommended: Yes

Here is a big, fat book that will teach you a lot about art – history, terminology, museum guides, trivia – with absolutely no high-brow attitude whatsoever.  The Art Lover’s Almanac is assembled as a book of lists and fun facts.  In contrast to an encyclopedia, the Almanac contains few paragraphs. Instead, the book serves up the information in a direct and quick format.

The best way to explain the book is to highlight some of the table of contents:

    75 Art Terms to Know
    Great Art Thefts
    25 Books for the Art Lover
    Judaid Motifs
    Chinese Dynasties
    Museums with Special Folk Art Collections
    Prominent Glass Artists
    Museums to Visit Around the World
    Guide to the "Old Masters"
    Looking at Sculpture
    Frank Lloyd Wright Places You Can Visit

This is just a sampling of the 800+ pages of information, but it gives some idea of the accessibility of the book.  You don’t need an art history degree to gain a lot from the Almanac, for education is the goal.  The author, Helen Hume has written other books on art. Her focus seems to be providing practical helps for teachers of art.

I access a lot of information about art from the internet, and have a broad collection of helpful links.  In order to compare the Almanac to the internet, I searched the web for some of the topics contained in the book.  While the internet sites provided more depth on an individual artist or period of time, the Almanac beats the web in terms of breadth of knowledge and ease of accessibility.
And the best part of the Almanac is the price – less than $20 brand new.  This is definitely a resource I recommend putting on the home reference shelf.  Homeschoolers should especially take notice, for this is an extremely helpful resource that does not stretch the pocketbook.

Available on Amazon

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