The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Monday Miscellany, February 9th, 2009

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“Books exist because we want and need them” — A slide show of pages from Robert Bringhurst’s new book The Surface of Meaning: Books And Book Design In Canada (pictured) published by CCSP Press in The Globe and Mail. (Disclosure: The Surface of Meaning is distributed by Raincoast in Canada).

A bookshop is a dynamite-shed — Bookride have posted a splendid John Cowper Powys rant about second-hand bookshops:

[A] bookshop — especially a second-hand bookshop — is an arsenal of explosives, an armoury of revolutions, an opium den of reactions. And just because books are the repository of all the redemptions and damnations, all the sanities and insanities, of the divine anarchy of the soul, they are still, as they have always been, an object of suspicion to every kind of ruling authority.

Pessimism Porn — Hugo Lindgren explains his addiction to nightmarish economic news  in New York Magazine:

“[E]cono-porn… feeds a powerful sense of intellectual vanity. You walk the streets feeling superior to all these heedless knaves who have no clue what’s coming down the pike. By making yourself miserable about the frightful hell that awaits us, you feel better. Pessimism can be bliss too.”

Publishing certainly has its fair share of addicts…

Visionary locations — Toby Litt on J.G. Ballard in the Guardian:

“Plenty of other writers now fictionally venture into multistorey carparks, airport hospital wards, decaying hotels, but they do so in the knowledge that they’re trespassing on Ballard’s territory. He was here first; he was the pioneer – back when these places were seen as totally unliterary. What could possibly happen on a motorway embankment that was of interest?”

Finding alternative best sellers — Toronto bookshop This Is Ain’t The Rosedale Library profiled by Brian Joseph Davis in the Globe and Mail.

Is CondéNet Dead? — Slate’s The Big Money examine how “a publishing giant failed to get the Web”. Lessons (if more were needed) for book publishers (via @jafurtado):

“To say that we’re just a magazine company in this day and age is like saying that we’re a buggy company.”

PUFF — lovely pictures of PUFF by William Wondriska (published in 1960 by Pantheon Books Inc.) at the wonderful Grain Edit (pictured above).

Image Spark— A neat image bookmarking tool. V. excited about this as you can probably imagine… (via @michaelSurtees/DesignNotes) .

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