The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Midweek Miscellany


Literary prints by Evan Robertson, AKA Obvious State.

Chairman of the Bored — Bruce Handy on collecting boring books:

My hobby has two rules: I buy books only on the street. (Uniquely boring books must present themselves willingly; you can’t hunt them down.) And the titles must meet a standard of boring intrigue that I have a hard time putting into words, beyond “I know it when I see it.” This is where — if I may shed any pretense of modesty — taste and connoisseurship come into play.

Niche — Will Brooker, author of Hunting the Dark Knight, on comic books at The Browser:

[Comics] are a unique storytelling medium. They can tell a story in a way that no other medium can. But I’m not evangelical about comics, and I don’t have a problem if they’re a niche interest. There was a time in the eighties when everyone thought comics were going to break through. They were sold in bookshops. “Sequential art”, “post-textual literature” and all kinds of other pretentious terms were bandied about. I don’t think that’s necessary. Comics are their own thing, and work on their own terms, in different ways to novels and films.

See also: Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero by Larry Tye reviewed for The New York Times.

And finally…

Steven Hyden on My Bloody Valentine album Loveless at Grantland:

Listening to Loveless is not unlike the sensation of having just endured a two-hour sonic hurricane, then feeling an intense yet melodic pounding in your eardrums for the next week. And I mean that in the most pleasant way imaginable. What took so long for Shields to find in the studio was the ecstatic pleasure point buried in the suffocating psychic evisceration caused by pure unadulterated volume. On most rock records, the music drowns out the lyrics; on Loveless, the music drowns out the music.

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  1. Despite the lack of evidence this is an actual Hemingway quote, I like the simplicity of the design.

  2. “Despite the lack of evidence this is an actual Hemingway quote”.

    I’m skeptical myself. The Hemingway quote on writing and drinking I’m aware of is you can’t write well after even one drink — literally the case. It’s possible the one cited in the design is from an earlier period, or it’s possible *both* are apocryphal. But one has its roots in romanticism, the other in maturity.

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