The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Monday Miscellany


“I have always enjoyed photographing loners” — A lovely BBC audio slideshow of “Writers’ Rooms” narrated by award winning photographer Eamonn McCabe. The project, appearing weekly in The Guardian and currently on show Madison Contemporary Art in London, captures the working environments of novelists, biographers and poets.

Book Industry Enters Shaky Chapter: NPR’s Lynn Neary looks at last week’s horrorshow.

The 10 Best Books of 2008 according to The New York Times Book Review. Interesting that they’ve also created a mini-site which has promotional material for the top 10 books, including shelf talkers, bookmarks, and posters for bookstores to download . There are also web banners and a video with author Toni Morrison. This is has to be a good idea.

“The news is still big. It’s the newspapers that got small”: A spectacular Roger Ebert rant about the death of criticism :

The celebrity culture is infantilizing us. We are being trained not to think. It is not about the disappearance of film critics. We are the canaries. It is about the death of an intelligent and curious, readership, interested in significant things and able to think critically. It is about the failure of our educational system. It is not about dumbing-down. It is about snuffing out.

Spot. On.  I actually met Roger Ebert a few years back in Pages bookstore. The Toronto International Film Festival must have been on. I had no idea who he was at the time (a colleague told me later), but he was very nice about it.

“The Most Dangerous Man in Publishing”:  A profile of publisher Barney Rosset in Newsweek:

Before Rosset challenged federal and state obscenity laws, censorship (and self-censorship) was an accepted feature of publishing. His victories in high courts helped to change that. Rosset believed that it was impossible to represent life in the streets and in the dark recesses of the heart and mind honestly without using language that in the mid-20th century was considered “obscene”—and therefore illegal to sell or mail. To a significant extent, the books he published convinced others that this was true.

The Well-Tended Bookshelf— Laura Miller on culling one’s book collection:

There are two general schools of thought on which books to keep, as I learned once I began swapping stories with friends and acquaintances. The first views the bookshelf as a self-portrait, a reflection of the owner’s intellect, imagination, taste and accomplishments… The other approach views a book collection less as a testimony to the past than as a repository for the future; it’s where you put the books you intend to read.

Which leads me rather nicely to…

Books At Home: A blog about bookshelves. It is possible that this just too nerdy. Even for me.

Relevance: Brian at interviews author Tim Manners , editor and publisher of The Hub and It’s a fascinating discussion that covers innovation, brands, and the consequences of overabundant advertising (amongst other things).

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  1. Thank you for the mention. Yes, Tim has a lot of ideas running through his mind, and it was fun to be able to banter with him.

  2. Thanks for dropping by Brian. I enjoyed the interview. Cheers.

  3. Pingback: Pages tagged "overabundant"

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