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.

July 25: On this day in 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge died of heart disease at the age of sixty-one.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).