The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Something for the Weekend

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Potential for Infection — A lovely essay by Alan Bennett on books, libraries, and bookcases, in the LRB:

‘Books Do Furnish a Room’, wrote Anthony Powell, but my mother never thought so and she’d always put them out of the way in the sideboard when you weren’t looking. Books untidy, books upset, more her view. Though once a keen reader herself, particularly when she was younger, she always thought of library books as grubby and with a potential for infection – not intellectual infection either. Lurking among the municipally owned pages might be the germs of TB or scarlet fever, so one must never be seen to peer at a library book too closely or lick your finger before turning over still less read such a book in bed.

Not A Sexy Trend Story — Dennis Johnson’s scathing must-read post on the Borders bankruptcy (and the way it is being reported) at MobyLives:

[T]his is a story that has become about some desired and sometimes advertiser-driven trend, and not the more complex reality — which is that what’s happened is not good for either print or digital books.

If there’s anything to take away from the Borders story, it’s this: It doesn’t at all represent that fewer people want to buy print books. It represents that fewer big corporations want to sell them.

19th Nervous Breakdown — Jonathan Ross reviews Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero by Grant Morrison for The Guardian:

Shaving your head before dragging up in full fetish gear and wolfing down a magic mushroom omelette may well open the door to another realm, or give you access to demons and guardian angels. I have never tried it so I can’t say with absolute certainty. But I am pretty sure that what Morrison was experiencing and is describing is a cross between a nervous breakdown and a common-or-garden trip.

See also: David Itzkoff reviews the book (less sympathetically) for The New York Times.

And on a related note… Joe Carducci reviews Absolute Dark Knight by Frank Miller for the LA Review of Books.

And finally…

Typographical reference guide FontBook is now available on the  iPad:


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