Arts

new england literary news

Trident plans to reopen in August

Trident Booksellers on Newbury Street has renovated after being damaged by fire.
Holly Sullo
Trident Booksellers on Newbury Street has renovated after being damaged by fire.

Trident Booksellers and Cafe is planning a reopening in mid- to late-August, about six months after the Newbury Street store suffered extensive water damage from sprinklers triggered by a fire.

The whole place is in the process of being redone, explains store manager Courtney Flynn. New floors, new bar, new paint, new lights, not to mention the re-ordering of 25,000 titles to fill the shelves. “For the most part, it’s going to feel similar” to the way the store was, Flynn explains, but customers will notice some changes.

Some booths in the cafe will be moved to allow access to a window that had been previously blocked by bookshelves. Perhaps the biggest difference involves moving the children’s books upstairs so there will be a whole section devoted to kids.

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The store is also planning to ramp up events programming, with something taking place every night of the week. Before the closing, events were largely confined to Monday through Friday. “Tons of author events,” says Flynn, as well as trivia nights, Lego nights, and murder mystery events.

A fresh look at Martha’s Vineyard

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On Martha’s Vineyard, Tony the Scissor Man walked the streets with a 40-pound blade-sharpening apparatus strapped to his back. An artist named Frederic Louis Thompson, claiming to be possessed by the spirit of a famous landscape painter, tried to poison his wife, who sued him for $1 million for having “annoyed her to an unbearable degree.” The island’s first public hospital’s sole purpose was inoculating people against smallpox. Chris Baer’s entertaining book of island miscellany, Martha’s Vineyard Tales: From Pirates on Lake Tashmoo to Baxter’s Saloon’’ (Globe Pequot) gathers a wild mix of people and history, creating a portrait that’s quite a bit weirder and wilder than that usually associated with the picturesque island haven. Baer, who teaches graphic design and photography at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, includes a number of vintage images — of ships, of the interiors of pharmacies and markets, of old-timey characters in Victorian-era garb — and the book holds a number of curiosities and bits of history, pulled from Baer’s column in the Vineyard Times, “This Was Then.”

The culture of Charles Manson

It’s “impossible to imagine post-1960s American culture without Manson and the family somewhere near the center,” argues Cambridge resident and UMass Boston professor Jeffrey Melnick in his new book Creepy Crawling: Charles Manson and the Many Lives of America’s Most Infamous Family’’ (Arcade). The book veers from the stacks of volumes of true crime writing on Manson and serves more as cultural history. Melnick details Manson’s impact on life in the latter half of the 20th century and beyond; he explores who Manson’s “girls” were and how the family system was organized, as well as the Tate-LaBianca murders and how Manson moved in the “fluid social order” of 1960s Los Angeles. Hippies, freaks, insiders, outsiders, rock stars, and suburbanites feature in the book, and it tells us as much about ourselves as it does about Manson.

Coming out

Pretty Things’’ by Virginie Despentes, translated from the French by Emma Ramadan (Feminist)

The Standing Rock Portraits: Sioux Photographed by Frank Bennett Fiske 1900-1915’’ by Murray Lemley (Lannoo)

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The Carrying’’ by Ada Limón (Milkweed)

Pick of the week

Stef Kiper Schmidt at Water Street Books in Exeter, N.H., recommends Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore’’ by Elizabeth Rush: “One of my favorite books of the year, equal parts gorgeous and terrifying. Reading it felt like looking over Rush’s shoulder as she traveled to each devastated coastline location, discovering again and again the damage being done by rising sea levels — the homes being swept away, the lives being lost, the ecology being forever changed. She mixes her reporting with first person accounts and her own personal story to create something unique, compelling, and vital.”

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Nina MacLaughlin, author of “Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter, ” can be reached at nmaclaughlin@gmail.com.