The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Raincoast Spring Books


I was out west for the Raincoast Books spring 2012 sales conference last week. Sadly I didn’t get to see much of Vancouver or catch up with half the people I meant to, but I did get to hear about a lot of great new books including one about building (and losing) an android Philip K. Dick. It’s non-fiction. Thanks Henry Holt!

Henry Holt also have a new novel by Herta Mueller, winner of the Nobel Prize in 2009, called The Hunger Angel, and the latest from John Banville’s alter-ego Benjamin Black, Vengeance.

Picador are publishing a collected edition of Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose trilogy in January — the first time they’ve all been properly available in the US I believe — to coincide with the US edition of his new book At Last (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux). They also have a collection of essays by Siri Hustvedt, Living, Thinking, Looking.

While there was nothing on the list quite of the magnitude of this season’s long-awaited Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design, there are a few art and design titles that caught my eye. Princeton Architectural Press are publishing Woodcut, a book of beautiful prints by artist Bryan Nash Gill (you have surely have seen his work even if you don’t recognise the name immediately) and Up on the Roof, a collection of photographs by Alex MacLean of New York’s hidden rooftop spaces. They are also publishing a long overdue paperback edition of Michael Bierut’s Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design, and a paperback edition of the beautiful, if overlooked, Typography Sketchbooks by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico. Lawrence King are publishing a new book on the history of picture books, Children’s Picturebooks: The Art of Visual Storytelling by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles,  and a new edition of The End of Print by David Carson.

On the comics side, Drawn & Quarterly are publishing Jerusalem: Chronicle from the Holy City, the latest travelogue from Guy Delisle who previous books include The Burma Chronicles, Pyongyang and Shenzhen. D+Q are also publishing a new edition of Chester Brown’s controversial, scatological and long out-of-print comic Ed The Happy Clown.

I’m also looking forward to finally seeing more of Baby’s in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles in Hamburg by Arne Bellstorf which is being published by First Second in April (I just wish they’d gone in a different direction with the typography on the cover — the German and UK edition’s  have lovely swooping hand-drawn lettering).

And lastly — because I am big nerd and recently finished his earlier book Batman Unmasked — I’m excited about Will Brooker’s Hunting the Dark Knight: Twenty-First Century Batmanwhich is being published by I. B. Tauris in July.

Now, back to the Toronto grindstone…

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