Creative Space: Urban Homes of Artists and Innovators

There is a self-help voyeurism that prompts most of us to pore over interior design books, the unconscious hoping being that the lavish photography will reveal the savoir vivre secrets of the rich and famous. The fallacious promise between the covers being, ?if you lived like them, you could be like them?!? In Creative Space: Urban Homes of Artists and Innovators you get to see professionally distinguished creative people (often with multiple hyphenated résumé credits) in their idiosyncratic natural habitats, where they actually seem to produce work. As having a separate office space is not easily affordable or even necessary, many work-live, often in challengingly small quarters. The London set designer that stores dozens of rolls of masking tape stacked in vertiginous columns in the living room. The sculptor whose massive art installation made from thousands of dismembered clothespins remain is openly in progress by the easy chair. The trendy boutique owner?s tiny Tokyo apartment that is mainly a bed, with there being so little room to spare, the clothes and hats are stored in view as decoration. The filmmaker loft with a mini atelier box within the larger space. Quirky collections roost everywhere, providing non-minimalist inspiration. Here, the images are deliberately casual, non-prescriptive, and realistic, notably including the non-aesthetic imperfections -- the garbage cans with ill-fitting liners, snarls of electrical cords, sloppy paint jobs, a broken plate in plain view, down-market Ajax liquid soap left in its original packaging by the kitchen sink, etc. -- that normal busy people live with. While this book may not provide the aspirational punch of others in its genre, it does eloquently deliver the message that those who have brilliant careers guiltlessly allow it to be the dominant resident in their living spaces, which may make the apartments seem unlivable to others -- but so long as the muse is happy, feng shui principles be damned.

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."