Groton READS will be reading and celebrating "The Art Forger" by Barbara Shapiro this year.

It is an entertaining literary thriller sparked by the 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The Groton Public Library will be hosting several exciting programs for this community-wide reading event.

The kick-off event will be held on Feb. 26, with a bus trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston for a group tour of the museum and special exhibit about the theft by Sophie Calle. Space is limited to 30, so sign up promptly. Registration is open online at gpl.org.

As part of our Lifelong Learning Program at the Library, Donna Nowak will lead an encore performance of "Why we call it art," a five-week course on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. beginning Feb. 25 and running through March 25. Have you ever looked at a famous painting and wondered why it is considered great art? Using the basic visual elements and the principles of design, this course will take some of the mystery out of understanding art. Please sign up online, as space is limited to 15 participants.

Geoff Kelly, the FBI Agent who headed up the Gardner Heist investigation, and the Gardner's Security Director, Anthony Amore, will present "The Gardner Heist" on Sunday, March 9, at 2 p.m. Find out first-hand about the largest unsolved art heist in history, and about the efforts to recover the 13 stolen pieces, including masterpieces by Vermeer and Rembrandt -- now valued at more than $500 million.


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"A Journey Inside Rembrandt's Paint" will be held on Sunday, March 23, at 2 p.m. by local visual artist Donald Shambroom, whose work hangs in the MFA and the MMOA in New York. Shambroom will use one of the Gardner's stolen paintings, "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee" by Rembrandt, to show how Rembrandt captured movement, light, and drama in paint. He will also discuss the painting techniques as described in The Art Forger.

Wonderful art isn't just in museums -- it is everywhere, as evidenced by the many talented artists in and around Groton. We celebrate these local artists by turning the Library's top floor into a "Pop Up" Local Artists' Fair on Sunday, March 30, from 1 to 5 p.m. Drop by to view the art, meet the artists, sample food from local bakeries, and listen to live music. As a preview for this fair, we have a current exhibit of works from participating artists in the Library's Art Gallery for you to enjoy through the end of March.

The Grand Finale for all Groton READS events will be held on Tuesday, April 8, with a visit from author Barbara Shapiro at 7 p.m. at the Library. She will speak about how her decades-long fascination with Isabella Stewart Gardner, the 1990 art theft from the museum, and a recent interest in art theft and art forgery all came together in "The Art Forger," her first bestselling novel. There will be time for questions, as well as book signing at the end. Books will be available for purchase at the event.

Wish to discuss the book before meeting the author? Please join our GPL Book Discussion Group as they discuss "The Art Forger" on Tuesday, March 25, at 7 p.m. All are welcome. We hope other local book groups will also read and discuss this year's Groton READS book. The Library has several copies and can borrow many more from other libraries. The book is available in hardcover, paperback, large print, audio CD, on library e-readers, and as downloadable e-books and audiobooks from OverDrive and Freading (available through the Library).

There are Groton READS events for younger audiences, too. There will be an Art Scavenger Hunt Family Activity at the Library on Saturday, March 1, from 4-6 p.m. Do you like solving puzzles? Come the Library for some after-hours fun and adventure! We will have activities for teenagers, children and families throughout the building: Figure out clues, hunt for objects, and play games to collect pieces to solve the ultimate puzzle!

There are also corresponding Groton READS book selections for fourth- through eighth-graders. Middle-schoolers will read "Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking" by Erin Dionne, a mystery involving the Gardner Art Heist, and author Erin Dionne herself will attend the "Hot Books, Hot Chocolate" Book Discussion on Thursday, March 6, 7-8 p.m. Book Worms, our monthly book discussion group for fourth- and fifth-graders, will be reading "Masterpiece" by Elise Broach, about recovering a Durer drawing stolen from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for their meeting on Tuesday, March 4, 4-4:30 p.m.

For teens grades 6 and up, author Erin Dionne will read "Boston's History and Mystery" on Thursday, March 6, 6-6:45 p.m. The city of Boston is known for its historical sites, but did you know it's full of real-life mysteries? From the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist to pirate treasure on the Boston Harbor Islands, we'll uncover some of Boston's secrets. The author will explain what drew her to these real-life puzzles and how she created the book "Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking."

Except for the bus trip, all events will be held at the Groton Public Library. Groton READS and all events are made possible by the GPL Endowment Trust. For more information about programs or to sign up, please visit gpl.org or call the library at 978-448-8000.