The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Something for the Weekend


After a week of feeling gloomy about publishing, here are a few links to some less apocalyptic book-related stories that I’ve been reading:

“Your…fucking…book” : Author Michael Lewis, who just happened to chronicle Wall Street’s excess in the 80’s in his book Liar’s Poker, tries to figure out what the hell just happened for Portfolio magazine (via kottke):

“This was what they had been waiting for: total collapse… Lehman Brothers had vanished, Merrill had surrendered, and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were just a week away from ceasing to be investment banks. The investment banks were not just fucked; they were extinct.”

Did someone just say ‘Schadenfreude’? Well, I guess it is reassuring that there’s an industry more fucked than publishing… Anyway, Lewis is apparently writing a book about the whole financial crisis…

Contempt for the beautiful losers: Slate‘s Ron Rosenbaum goes to town on BuzzMachine’s Jeff Jarvis (author of the forthcoming book What Would Google Do?) taking in journalism, new media, publishing, the Frankfurt Book Fair, and “New Age boilerplate mysticism” of Paulo Coelho on the way:

“If Jarvis values books (and I can’t help think that despite all the digital bluster, he’s an intelligent guy who likes reading), do we just listen to the market and focus-group what we should print and give away, which is likely to result in all Coelho, all the time, with maybe a little bit of Jarvis thrown in?”

Inevitably you can already read Jarvis’ response on his blog. Despite all the overblown cattiness, it’s actually an interesting argument. (via fimoculous)

More Information Than You Require: Former literary agent turned author John Hodgman, best known for playing PC in those increasingly misfiring Apple commercials, interviewed by The Book Bench blog:

“I believe that by releasing ‘passing interest/low keepsake-value literature’ from the burden of physicality, you are actually releasing the words from their worst liability: the price and inconvenience of actual bookness.”

“Lord Death Man”: PowellsBooks.Blog previews  Chip Kidd’s latest pet project Bat-Manga! (pictured).

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