John Adams Family

The John Adams Book Club meets monthly to discuss a book from  the rich range of American literature, fiction and non-fiction, from classics to current bestsellers. Our objective is to explore American culture in its myriad aspects – literature, art, politics, history, race relations, landscape, economy, education, science, technology, society.

Coordinator of the John Adams Book Club is Glen Kendall, an Amsterdam-based American with a life-long passion for books. As a veteran of the Vietnam War, he is also one of the authors in The War We Would Forget: Dartmouth Veterans and the Vietnam War.

Glen coordinates the selection of books and the discussions based on recommendations from the Club members. The discussions are always animated, very interesting and highly enjoyable. We have assembled an excellent group of members with different backgrounds and life experiences.  And the refreshments after the discussion allow for more informal conversation.

We discuss one book a month. Members can choose either a Wednesday or Thursday evening. Meetings are at Athenaeum Boekhandel, Spui 14-16, Amsterdam, 19:00 – 20:30, informal discussion and drinks afterwards.  In July and August there is only one meeting at a different venue. There is a €50 annual dues for each member.  Anyone who is interested in joining can attend a discussion without paying the annual fee.

Book Club Members receive a 10% discount on any books purchased at Athenaeum. And Book Club members can purchase tickets for John Adams Institute events at the reduced Members price.

The size of each discussion group is limited to 15 persons to facilitate discussion. There are currently a few openings for new members. For more information about membership, contact Glen at,

For January we will celebrate the American author and Nobel Prize Winner Toni Morrison who recently died.  We will read and discuss The Bluest Eye, her first novel.

“Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” is an inquiry into the reasons why beauty gets wasted in this country. The beauty in this case is black; the wasting is done by a cultural engine that seems to have been ‘designed specifically to murder possibilities; the “bluest eye” refers to the blue eyes of the blond American myth, by which standard the black‐skinned and brown‐eyed always measure up as inadequate. Miss Morrison exposes the negative of the Dick-and‐Jane‐and‐Mother‐and‐Father‐and‐Dog-and‐Cat photograph that appears in our reading primers, and she does it with a prose so precise, so faithful to speech and so charged with pain and wonder that the novel becomes poetry.” New York Times November 13, 1970

Toni Morrison with King Carl Gustaf of Sweden at the banquet celebrating her receiving the Nobel Prize


Wednesday 22 January and Thursday 23 January

Athenaeum Boekhandel
14 – 16 Spui
19:00 – 20:30 with informal conversation afterwards.

For February we will return to the west coast of the United States with Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep.

For a list of books we have previously read click here. Click here for a partial list of books and meeting dates for January through June 2020.