The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Something for the Weekend


Today is Penguin’s 75th Birthday! Happy Birthday Penguin.

Tony Lacey, Publishing Director of Penguin, discusses the Penguin Decades series:

And The Guardian interviews Penguin Chief Executive John Makinson, who sounds pretty pleased with himself (Penguin just announced record-breaking half year results):

“[E-books] redefine what we do as publishers and I feel, compared with most of my counterparts, more optimistic about what this means for us,” he says. “Of course there are issues around copyright protection and there are worries around pricing and around piracy, royalty rates and so on, but there is also this huge opportunity to do more as publishers.” Publishing, he says, must embrace innovation: “I am keen on the idea that every book that we put on to an iPad has an author interview, a video interview, at the beginning. I have no idea whether this is a good idea or not. There has to be a culture of experimentation, which doesn’t come naturally to book publishers.

In other news…

Copy Writer from the Dark Side — Author Will Self (Liver) discusses advertising with Gordon Comstock for an interview the Creative Review:

I straighten my dog collar and point out some of the things we might have in common, the novelist and the adman. The love of epigrams, the twisting of cliché, the use of animals behaving uncannily – all Self tropes, all things that a copywriter might well have in his book.

It’s a notion I can imagine certain writers would bridle at, but Self only nods philosophically, “Well, maybe I am a copywriter that’s gone to the dark side, I don’t know.”

Wonder Woman Returns — Kate Beaton goes all superhero and shit at Hark! A Vagrant. Kate is now also selling prints directly from her site and from TopatoCo.

And finally, on a related note and because it’s Friday,…

Lady Gaga Kidnaps Commissioner Gordon:

Supervillain Lady Gaga brazenly abducted Commissioner James Gordon from a charity fundraiser Tuesday, leaving police baffled and the citizens of Gotham fearing for their safety. Known for her outlandish costumes and geometric polygon hair, the criminal madwoman made a daring escape from Arkham Asylum last week and has been taunting authorities by interrupting television broadcasts ever since… While the kidnapping occurred at stately Wayne Manor, home of playboy jet-setter Bruce Wayne, the eccentric billionaire was not available for comment.

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