The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Midweek Miscellany, November 11th 2009

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The Nabokov Collection — Art Director John Gall on the Vintage Nabokov redesign at Design Observer:

Nabokov was a passionate butterfly collector, a theme that has cropped up on some of his past covers. My idea was also a play on this concept. Each cover consists of a photograph of a specimen box, the kind used by collectors like Nabokov to display insects. Each box would be filled with paper, ephemera, and insect pins, selected to somehow evoke the book’s content. And to make it more interesting… I thought it would be fun to ask a group of talented designers to help create the boxes.

John’s short essay is accompanied by a great slide show of the specimen boxes (above: The Luzhin Defense by Paul Sahre; below Speak, Memory by Michael Bierut).

And Joseph at The BDR has a nice follow up post, with a couple of nice vintage Nabokov covers.

So, do the specimen boxes (lovely as they are) work as covers? You tell me…

Amazon releases a Kindle app for PCs. But who cares? Hmm… I don’t know if I ‘care’ as such, but I do think it’s significant. Is it one more nail in the plastic coffin of single use devices? There’s more on the app at the Washington Post

And while we’re on the subject of e-books…

The Internet Isn’t Killing Anything — From Russell Davies:

Something That’s Growing Is Not The Same As Something That’s Big.

Something That’s Declining Is Not The Same As Something That’s Small.

…Worth remembering I think.

Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2009 – The New York Times choose their favourites (accompanied with a lovely slide show). The New Yorker‘s Adam Gopnik talks about the selection process with Sam Tanenhaus on the Book Review Podcast (pictured above: Tales From Outer Surburbia written and illustrated by the awesome Shaun Tan).

And finally…

A sneak peak at the new Krazy & Ignatz cover by Chris Ware for Fantagraphics.

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One Comment

  1. Wow, that Krazy & Ignatz cover is beautiful.

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