About

Look to the MFAH for good books and great conversations!

The MFAH presents a unique book club inspired by history. Throughout the year, the two house museums host free discussions about books on life in America and Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Meetings alternate between Bayou Bend and Rienzi.

Drop in to participate! Call 713.639.7800 or 713.639.7759 or e-mail rienzi@mfah.org for more information. For additional details, scroll through the sections below, and visit mfah.org/calendar.

2017–2018 Book Club Calendar

September 13, 2017, 1:30 p.m. (at Bayou Bend)
Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine
by Sarah Lohman | Reading Guide

November 8, 2017, 1:30 p.m. (at Rienzi)
Darjeeling: The Colorful History and Precarious Fate of the World’s Greatest Tea
by Jeff Koehler

January 10, 2018, 1:30 p.m. (at Bayou Bend)
Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848–1868
by Cokie Roberts

March 7, 2018, 1:30 p.m. (at Rienzi)
The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
by Richard Holmes

May 9, 2018, 1:30 p.m. (at Bayou Bend)
Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad
by Eric Foner

July 11, 2018, 1:30 p.m. (at Rienzi)
The Diary of Samuel Pepys (Modern Library Classics)
by Samuel Pepys

Library

September 2011
At Home: A Short History of Private Life
by Bill Bryson | Reading Guide

October 2011
A History of the World in Six Glasses
by Tom Standage | Reading Guide

November 2011
Taste: The Story of Britain through Its Cooking
by Kate Colquhoun | Reading Guide

December 2011
Christmas: A Candid History
by Bruce David Forbes | Reading Guide | Vintage Trailer

January 2012
Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution 
by Caroline Weber | Reading Guide

February 2012
The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth 
by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich | Reading Guide

March 2012
The Arcanum: The Extraordinary True Story
by Janet Gleeson | Reading Guide

April 2012
Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation
by Andrea Wulf | Reading Guide

May 2012
Young Romantics
by Daisy Hay | Reading Guide

June 2012
Pets in America: A History 
by Katherine C. Grier | Reading Guide

July 2012
Madame du Barry: The Wages of Beauty
by Joan Haslip | Reading Guide

August 2012
Eight Cousins
by Louisa May Alcott | Reading Guide

September 2012
In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life
by James Deetz | Reading Guide

November 2012
Inheritance: The Story of Knole and the Sackvilles
by Robert Sackville-West | Reading Guide

January 2013
The Wordy Shipmates
by Sarah Vowell | Reading Guide

March 2013
Women and Their Gardens: A History from the Elizabethan Era to Today
by Catherine Horwood | Reading Guide

May 2013
The Sot-Weed Factor
by John Barth | OverviewReading Guide | Postmodernism | Original 17th-Century Poem

July 2013
The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casualand the Modern Home Began
by Joan DeJean | Reading Guide

September 2013
The Brother Gardeners
by Andrea Wulf | Reading Guide

November 2013
The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things
by Paula Byrne | Reading Guide

January 2014
Mahogany: The Costs of Luxury in Early America
by Jennifer K. Anderson | Reading Guide

March 2014
The Sugar Barons: Family, Corruption, Empire, and War in the West Indies
by Matthew Parker | Reading Guide

May 2014
Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin
by Jill Lepore | Reading Guide

July 2014
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
by Robert K. Massie | Reading Guide

September 2014
Writing on the Wall: Social Media—The First 2,000 Years
by Tom Standage | Reading Guide

November 2014
Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens
by Andrea Wulf | Reading Guide

January 2015
Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation
by Cokie Roberts Reading Guide

March 2015
Dancing to the Precipice: The Life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, Eyewitness to an Era
by Caroline Moorehead | Reading Guide

May 2015
The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities (Part I)
by Richard Lyman Bushman | Reading Guide

July 2015
White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India
by William Dalrymple | Reading Guide

September 2015
The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities (Part 2)
by Richard Lyman Bushman | Reading Guide

November 2015
Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine Bonaparte
by Kate Williams

January 2016
Unwise Passions: A True Story of a Remarkable Womanand the First Great Scandal of 18th-Century America
by Alan Pell Crawford | Reading Guide

March 2016
The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
by Simon Winchester | Reading Guide

May 2016
When America First Met ChinaAn Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail 
by Eric Jay Dolan | Reading Guide

July 2016
Our Tempestous Day: A History of Regency England
by Carrolly Erickson | Reading Guide

September 2016
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
by David McCullough | Reading guide

November 2016
Passionate Minds: Emilie du Châtelet, Voltaire, and the Great Love Affair of the Enlightenment
by David Bodanis

January 2017
The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th-Century America
by Paul E. Johnson and Sean Wilentz | Reading Guide

March 2017
A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III
by Janice Hadlow | Reading Guide

May 2017
Cotton: The Biography of a Revolutionary Fiber
by Stephen Yafa | Reading Guide

July 2017
Jewels: A Secret History
by Victoria Finlay | Reading Guide

Resources

Selected book club texts, as well as an overflowing array of decorative arts and historical resources, are available at the Kitty King Powell Library and Study Center at Bayou Bend's Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center.

Some book club selections are available at the Shop at Bayou Bend. Discount for MFAH members.

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