The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Something for the Weekend


You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack — Tom Gauld has a Tumblr (The title is a reference to this of course).

Legacy Issues — Stephen Page, chief executive of Faber & Faber, writing at The Guardian:

Let’s deal with technological obsolescence. Media businesses are not technology businesses, but they can be particularly affected by technology shifts. I run a so-called legacy publishing house, Faber & Faber. Most of our business is based on licensing copyrights from writers and pursuing every avenue to find readers and create value for those writers. We are agnostic about how we do this. For our first 80 years, we could only do it through print formats (books); now we can do it through books, ebooks, online learning (through our Academy courses), digital publishing (such as the Waste Land app) and the web. Technology shifts have tended to result in greater opportunity, not less.

Bibliophiles in London — The Economist on The London International Antiquarian Book Fair:

Most interesting, perhaps, is the air of optimism—there is not the slightest whiff of gloom at the state of the book world. The internet, paradoxically, has made books “à la mode”, says Claude Blaizot of the Librarie August Blaizot in Paris, purveyor of first editions of “Tintin” and fantastically bound livres d’artiste. “It has brought people to books, and shown them booksellers they never would have known existed before,” he says. Clive Farahar, the Antiques Roadshow’s book specialist, agrees that technology has opened up the book trade, and made the world of books much more accessible to all. “It’s not just the dim little shop on the high street anymore,” he said. “We can learn so much now we never would have known before.”

Simplicity — A two-part interview with Apple designer Jonathan Ive at The Telegraph:

“Simplicity is not the absence of clutter, that’s a consequence of simplicity. Simplicity is somehow essentially describing the purpose and place of an object and product. The absence of clutter is just a clutter-free product. That’s not simple.”

(part two)

And finally…

Daniel Clowes at

“Digital seems like such a step back from a printed book… For me, the whole process involves envisioning this book in my head as I’m working. That is what I’m trying to create. That’s the work of art. That’s the sculpture I’m chipping away at, and when I’m finally done, I will arrive at that perfect 3-D object. The iPad version would be like a picture of the book, which doesn’t hold any interest at all for me. Even if I only had 10 readers, I’d rather do the book for them than for a million readers online.”

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