The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Something for the Weekend


Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows, reviews Retromania by Simon Reynolds for The New Republic:

Who wants yesterday’s papers?” sang Mick Jagger in 1967. “Who wants yesterday’s girl?” The answer, in the Swinging 60s, was obvious: “Nobody in the world.” That was then. Now we seem to want nothing more than to read yesterday’s papers and carry on with yesterday’s girl. Popular culture has become obsessed with the past—with recycling it, rehashing it, replaying it. Though we live in a fast-forward age, we cannot take our finger off the rewind button.

And Mr. Reynolds has been a busy man. Not only is his book also reviewed at the A.V. Club, he is interviewed about it at Pitchfork, The Quietus and The Second Pass.

Shiny and New — Designer Matt Roeser talks about his New Cover project with Ian Shimkoviak at Covered Up:

I love physical books. I have more books than I have space for in my house, but there’s just something about a physical book that is so appealing to me that an e-book will never be able to replicate. Now, whether the rest of the world feels that same way is yet to be seen. I definitely think there is a large population that doesn’t care how they’re experiencing the book; they just want to be able to read it.

And finally…

Drinking, Gambling and Grandma — Lorrie Moore, author of A Gate at the Stairs, on the TV show Friday Night Lights for the NYRB:

The series wants Dillon [Texas] to function as a microcosm of larger working- and middle-class America: it takes its fifty or so hours and opens a window on American family, education, community race relations, athletics, social class and its various brokennesses. But lest you go away, it keeps you involved with the drama of high school—its romantic student soap operas, its tense and dire administrative politics, plus the multigenerational home life that has dads in prison, dads in Iraq, dads gambling and drinking and roaming around the country while Grandma sits in the front room.


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