Arts

New England literary news

The art of making art

Painter and sculptor Joe Fig has made a career out of depicting places where art is made. His new book “Inside the Artist’s Studio” (Princeton Architectural) presents his paintings and sculptures of artists and their workspaces and his interviews about their creative process and daily routines. Most of the 24 individuals featured live in New York, but a few, like Fig, are in Connecticut, and one, Tom Friedman is in Massachusetts.

The images are compelling, and the advice Fig’s subjects offer is not just for young artists but is surprisingly universal. Kate Gilmore suggests: “Be humble when you get good things, because tomorrow you won’t.”

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Works by Fig, including some sculptures from his book, are on display through Dec. 19 at Carroll and Sons Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave., Boston.

Book lovers flock to Raven’s new home

Real estate agents often say: location, location, location. Now Raven Used Books knows it’s true. After 10 years in Harvard Square quarters below street level, the shop moved a few blocks this fall to a light-filled storefront on Church Street. The new place is about the same size as the old one, but the new location, with 30-foot ceilings and a wall of windows, is more inviting.

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Since the move book lovers have come; they’ve browsed; and they’ve bought. Owner John Petrovato says November was his biggest sales month in 20 years of bookselling. He’s owned shops in Amherst, Northampton, Montague, and on Newbury Street in Boston.

Raven’s biggest strength remains philosophy books. Literary fiction, history, religion, and sciences are also very strong, Petrovato says. In addition, books from the mid-19th century as well as modern first editions have been selling well.

Petrovato might have stayed put, but his landlord only offered a short-term lease. His new landlord, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, gave him what he calls a “generous” deal.

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Speaking of locations, Petrovato is looking for a spot to open Boston Book & Bar, modeled on the successful Portsmouth Book & Bar he helped launch in New Hampshire in 2012.

Listen to live poetry

There are two opportunities this week to take in live poetry samplers. “An Evening of Inspired Leaders” takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday at the Huntington Theatre. Rock ‘n’ roller Peter Wolf, historian David McCullough, Boston arts czar Julie Burros, author Andre Dubus III, chef Jody Adams, and City Year founder Michael Brown are among the local luminaries lined up to share a favorite poem. As part of Mass Poetry’s fund-raiser, each will read a poem and talk about how it inspires them. General admission ticket prices start at $75. College students are $25; high school students get in free.

On Thursday, Cambridge’s inaugural poetry populist Toni Bee will host “Poets Explore Parenthood.” Readers include Charles Coe, author of “All Sins Forgiven: Poems for My Parents” (Leapfrog), and poetry slam champion Neiel Israel. The free event takes place at Cambridge’s Central Square Library from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Coming out

 “Ashley Bell” by Dean Koontz (Bantam)

 “Inherit the Stars” by Tessa Elwood (Running)

 “Wandering Star” by Romina Russell (Razorbill)

Pick of the week

Katharine Nevins of MainStreet BookEnds of Warner in Warner, N.H., recommends “The Selected Poems of Donald Hall” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt): “From this former US poet laureate comes a gift of honesty, intimacy, and pure genius. As Hall is no longer writing poetry, this collection, selected from decades of published work, is the perfect introduction to Hall’s literary contributions, as well as closure for his many ardent followers.”

Jan Gardner can be reached at JanLGardner@yahoo.com.
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