Get off the sofa, get your literary fix out on town

You can hear a favorite author or poet, or maybe even read a work of your own at several spots

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When the weather gets cold, there's nothing better than curling up with a good book. But if you want to get out of the house and still get your literary fix, check out one of the Baltimore area's many bookish venues. Depending on the place, you might meet an author, listen to poetry or read some of your own work.

Atomic Books

This independently owned bookstore in Hampden (its slogan: Literary Finds for Mutated Minds) offers a wide selection of books, graphic novels and zines, as well as toys, gifts and some musical items. It frequently hosts book signings. This month, featured guests are Sarah Kramer (Sunday) and Heather Chaplin, Aaron Ruby and Sid Meier (Nov. 17). 1100 W. 36th St. Call 410-662-4444, or visit atomicbooks. com.

Clayton Fine Books

Clayton Fine Books and Cafe offers a wide variety of books, including out-of-print and rare books. The downtown store also hosts poetry readings on some Saturday afternoons. Today from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Carly Sachs, Cathy Eisenhower and Christophe Casamassima will share their original works. A reading featuring Cole Swenson, Tom Orange and Heather Fuller will take place Nov. 19. 317 N. Charles St. Call 410-752-6800 or visit

Enoch Pratt Free Library

Besides being a true temple to the written word, the library's branches seem to host some literary event or another almost daily. This month, numerous authors will appear for readings and signings of their works, among them: Tonya Maria Matthews (Wednesday), Miriam Weinstein (Nov. 14), Jules Witcover (Nov. 15), Joan Mellen (Nov. 29), Sun movie critic Michael Sragow (Nov. 30) and Marc Leepson (Dec. 1). Call 410-396-5430 or visit


The Howard County Poetry and Literature Society is a regular producer of reading and other literary events. This month, it presents "Speaking of Healing: Howard County Writers Panel," featuring local writers including Anne Barney, Ann Bracken, Mike Clark and Brendan Donegan discussing writing as a means of expressing and coping with life's challenges, on Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. at Tai Sophia Institute, 7750 Montpelier Road in Laurel. Admission is $5; space is limited. To buy tickets, call 410-772-4568 or send a check and self-addressed stamped envelope to HoCoPoLitSo, ILB 239, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia 21044. Visit


Through the rest of the school year, Maryland Institute College of Art hosts the Spoken Story Word Series. Each night of the series will feature various artists presenting music, story or dance. The series premieres Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. with the Ola-Olu Griots family storytellers. Subsequent events are scheduled for Jan. 20, Feb. 17, March 24, April 29 and May 19 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. Falvey Hall, 1301 Mount Royal Ave. Call 301-916-6328.

Minas Gallery

Minas Gallery is two venues in one: a vintage clothing store and an art gallery. The gallery has been a fixture in Baltimore for more than 12 years (formerly in Fells Point), as well as the host of a long-running series of poetry readings. Every second and third Sunday of the month, local authors gather there to participate. Any author or artist who wants to share his or her work is welcome; space must be reserved. 815 W. 36th St. Call 410-732-4258.

Rockfield Manor

Enjoy poetic presentations by the Harford Poetry and Literary Society each Tuesday at 1 p.m. Listen to poetry readings and programs about poets or take part in poetry workshops and other literary events. All programs take place at Rockfield Manor, 501 Churchville Road, Bel Air. Call 410-877-1625.

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