Rhody Reads: Six Selections to Inspire Your Inner Artist

July 2022

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Art is all around us in the Ocean State – from murals on city walls to festivals to books that bring the creative world closer to home. In this month’s Rhody Reads, we’ll highlight six titles connected to the arts and Rhode Island. Take a look and find one that inspires you. And, of course, pick it up at your local bookstore. 

Stan Lee was a legend in the comic book industry. The writer, producer, editor, and publisher was known as a consummate artist. Rhode Island-based journalist and author Abraham Riesman digs a little deeper into his story in True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee. The laboriously researched biography reads like a thriller exploring a host of questions that linger around the larger-than-life enigma. 

With Dining in the Dark, restaurant critic Bryan Miller artfully tells the story of his struggle with debilitating depression, a struggle that cost him everything. A former reporter for the Providence Journal and culinary arts student at Johnson & Wales University, Miller rose to the top of his field writing a column for The New York Times until it all became too much to handle. Experience both the depths of despair and true hope and inspiration in this compelling memoir. 

With great artistry, Rhody-based author Padma Venkatraman weaves the tale of a young Indian boy who has only known life in prison since birth. Born Behind Bars tells the heartbreaking story of Kabir, who is unprepared for the challenges and obstacles he faces in the outside world. But maybe, with the help of a new friend, he’ll find a way to get by. A thought-provoking read for middle schoolers. 

Graphic designer and former Providence Monthly art director Scott Leta illustrates a new series of books that give kids the opportunity to visit nearby places from an intimate perspective. With bright colors and delightful artwork, Local Baby: Queens highlights some of the most famous landmarks in this well-known borough including Rockaway Beach, Forest Park, and even a Met’s game. Also in the series is Local Baby: Maine. 

Join author and traveler Daniel Seddiqui in his journey across the country meeting artists and creative thinkers in his book, Piecing Together America. See where he chose to visit when he came to Rhode Island, attempting to learn an age-old craft that takes years of practice to perfect. The results may just blow you away. Let him inspire you to explore a new craft and see where it takes you. 

Got writer’s block? Even Shakespeare needed a little spark to get those creative juices flowing, which is why North Kingstown resident and book coach Lisa Tener developed The Joy of Writing Journal. With page after page of inspiring prompts, you’ll put pen to paper before you know it, finding your flow and the momentum to produce your best work. Unleash your hidden writer with this invaluable tool.

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