The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Something for the Weekend, June 19th, 2009

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50/50 — AIGA announce their 50 Books/50 Covers of 2008. Included in the fifty is the cover of Kenneth Hayes’ Milk and Melancholy designed by Toronto’s Underline Studio (pictured above).

Gxuu! — Linguist Arika Okrent, author of In the Land of Invented Languages, chooses her 10 favourite words from invented languages for The University of Chicago Magazine. Having been kind of fascinated with Volapük after reading William Gibson‘s  Spook Country, I was happy to see the inclusion of ‘pük’ (via the incomparable Kottke of course):

In Volapük, pük means “language.” It comes from the English word “speak” but it’s hard to tell (vol, means “world”, so Volapük is “world language.”) Unfortunately, it looks a lot like a different English word. And even more unfortunately, it shows up in various other words related to the concept of language: püked – “sentence” and pükön – “to speak.”

Nice Work — Mark Thwaite interviews novelist, critic and Emeritus Professor of English Literature, David Lodge about his new book Deaf Sentence for The Book Depository blog:

One’s ideal reader is intelligent, alert, open-minded but demanding, and equipped with what Hemingway called “a built-in shit-detector.” He/she does not actually exist. In a way you try to be that reader when you read and re-read your own work in progress, and not to kid yourself if something isn’t quite right. That’s a rather different matter from one’s “readership” which in my case, I’m aware, is probably well-educated, well-read, maybe Catholic, and getting more and more senior in years, like myself.

A Special Specimen — A lovely post by James Phillips Williams at amassblog about Paul Rand, Jan Tschichold and a very special type specimen book.

And speaking of Paul Rand, be sure to visit Daniel Lewandowski’s tribute site to the great man (via grain edit).

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