The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Monday Miscellany


Kitsune Noir Poster Club — Artists Frank Chimero, Mark Weaver, Jez Burrows, Cody Hoyt and Garrett Vander Leun reinterpret their favourite books as prints for Kitsune Noir . (Frank Chimero’s Slaughterhouse Five is pictured above).

And on the subject of posters…

Penguin US have made the jacket art from Graphic Classic Editions of Moby Dick and White Noise, designed by Tony Millionaire and Michael Cho respectively, available as posters.

From Trolls to Truth — Author Ursula K Le Guin reviews Tove Jansson’s The True Deceivers (available in the US from NYRB Books) for The Guardian:

On the patronising assumption that books for children are nice, ie morally bland and stylistically infantile, critics, reviewers and prize juries often dismiss those who write them as incapable of writing seriously for adults… Anyone familiar with Jansson knows it would be unwise to dismiss her or patronise her work on any grounds. Her books for children are complex, subtle, psychologically tricky, funny and unnerving; their morality, though never compromised, is never simple. Thus her transition to adult fiction involved no great change. Her everyday Swedes are quite as strange as trolls…

Quote/Unquote Bookends designed by Eric Janssen (via SwissMiss).

And lastly…

In my total blogging tardiness, Bookslut (inevitably) beat to the punch on this, but Simon Reynolds column on the music of the decade for The Guardian has so much resonance for books and the book industry:

“The fragmentation of rock/pop has been going on as long as I can remember, but it seemed to cross a threshold this decade. There was just so much music to be into and check out. No genres faded away, they all just carried on, pumping out product, proliferating offshoot sounds. Nor did musicians, seemingly, cease and desist as they grew older; those that didn’t die kept churning stuff out, jostling alongside younger artists thrusting forward to the light. It’s tempting to compare noughties music to a garden choked with weeds. Except it’s more like a flower bed choked with too many flowers, because so much of the output was good. The problem wasn’t just quantity, it was quantity x quality. Then there was the past too, available like never before, competing for our attention and affection. The cheapness of home studio and digital audio workstation recording, combined with the wealth of history that musicians can draw on and recombine, fuelled a mushrooming of quality music-making. But the result of all this overproduction was that “we” were spread thin across a vast terrain of sound.”

(Update: links to Tove Jansson’s The True Deceiver added)

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