The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

April 27, 2017
by Dan
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The Prophet of Dystopia

I am terribly late to this, but Rachel Mead, author of My Life in Middlemarch, profiled Margaret Atwood for The New Yorker earlier this month. Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale has just been released as a TV series starring Elizabeth Moss: … Continue reading

April 13, 2017
by Dan
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Dystopia

Tom Gauld for The Guardian.

April 13, 2017
by Dan
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Australian Book Design Awards 2017 Shortlist

The Australian Book Design Association just announced their Shortlist (PDF) for the 65th Australian Book Design Awards. Happily (if somewhat implausibly), I was asked to be the international judge this year (you can read about the other, imminently more qualified judges, here). As a … Continue reading

April 12, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note April 2017

This edition of ‘book covers of note’ is brought to you entirely by Gray318 who designed the covers of all the books published this month. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but Jon did design FOUR of the covers on my list — all … Continue reading

April 8, 2017
by Dan
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Elena Ferrante Covers Designed by Angelo Bottino

The covers of the Anglo-American editions of Elena Ferrante’s novels published by Europa Editions have been… well, controversial to say the least (read an interview with the art director about their “kitsch” quality here). The Australian editions of Ferrante’s Neapolitan … Continue reading

April 4, 2017
by Dan
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The Last London

The London Review of Books has a brilliant, sprawling, melancholy essay by author and psychogeographer Iain Sinclair titled ‘The Last London’. It’s difficult to know what to quote from the essay as it touches on so many interesting, diverse things, but this … Continue reading

March 20, 2017
by Dan
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Will You Help Us Destroy the Evil Galactic Empire?

Tom Gauld for The Guardian. (I’m working on my sardonically witty literary novel as we speak.)

March 9, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note March 2017

Holy smokes! There are a lot of good covers this month! Feast your eyes on March’s book covers of note: Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay; cover art by Sean Qualls (Penguin / March 2017) The Book of Greek and Roman … Continue reading

March 3, 2017
by Dan
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Books

Modern Toss (This is a little too close to the bone)

March 3, 2017
by Dan
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ABCD Award Winners 2017

The winners of the annual Academy of British Cover Design (ABCD) Awards were announced at a glittering ceremony London in last night. The dashing Danny Arter has a posted a full report on the proceedings at The Bookseller. You can see all … Continue reading

February 27, 2017
by Dan
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The Rise of Roxane Gay

At Brooklyn magazine, Molly McArdle profiles Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State, Bad Feminist and, most recently, Difficult Women:  “What more could I say that I haven’t already said?” Gay asks in an conversation about publishing and diversity we had via email last … Continue reading

February 23, 2017
by Dan
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Alan Aldridge 1943-2017

British artist and designer Alan Aldridge died last week aged 73. In the words of designer Mike Dempsey, Aldridge “was a major influence on the British design and illustration scene in the 1960’s.” Although he is perhaps best known for … Continue reading

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