The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Midweek Miscellany


Catcher in the Rye — Illustration and hand-lettering by Toronto-based Darren Booth (self-directed project). Darren has done a rather fine Lord of the Flies cover as well.

The Catastrophist — Chris Hitchens on J.G. Ballard in The Atlantic:

For most of his life, our great specialist in catastrophe made his home in the almost laughably tranquil London suburb of Shepperton, the sheltered home of the British movie studios. He obviously relished the idea of waking one day to find himself the only human being on the planet, to explore a deserted London and cross a traffic-free Thames, to pillage gas stations and supermarkets and then to drive contentedly home.

Read the Printed Word!

I Pledge to Read The Printed Word — Buttons from

“A Day Pass to Fucking Narnia” —  Paul Carr’s ‘Anticipating the Apple Tablet: When Journalism becomes Fan Fiction’ at TechCrunch:

I get that an Apple tablet is big news. I agree with those who say that Apple’s product launches deserve more attention than those from other companies as their products tend to be ‘game-changers’… But until the official launch announcement comes, I would rather not hear another word about Apple and their tablet. Not because it isn’t news – but because so many of the journalists anticipating the launch have dropped any sense of responsibility to their readers and replaced it with cloying fanboyism.

(Please note the funny, if slightly schoolboy, URL of the post)

And finally…

A rather fine new cover by David Drummond.

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  1. Re Catcher: My 17-year-old loathes that book, all his friends loathe it, and a teacher friend of mine said that her students’ reaction to it is a combination of boredom and horror. I wonder if those who love it are all over 40.

    Nicely re-imagined cover, though.

  2. Hey Joseph. I always thought that teaching a book was a surefire way to kill any love you might have for reading it (I still sort of resent Steinbeck — or at least the teacher that taught him — in a deep personal way 20 years later).

    But is it really surprising that Catcher doesn’t resonate with 17-year-olds in 2010? It is, what? 60 years old? Your 17-year-old probably doesn’t listen Miles Davis Birth of the Cool either… (or maybe he/she does??) ;-)

    And, honestly, 17 is just too old to read it. It would probably have more impact with a 13 year old. It might still seem a least a little dangerous at that age…

    Anyway, I think Catcher still has amazing cultural resonance even after all this time… And it is a gorgeous cover!

  3. love seeing the cap on the cover of CITR. it’s a great feature of the book but rarely singled out

  4. Gorgeous Catcher in the Rye cover; does anyone know where I can buy it? None of the bookstores have that cover.

  5. Hi Sophia. As I understand it, the Salinger cover/illustration was a self-directed project and so sadly it was not actually used commercially. Sorry. :-(

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