The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

May 14, 2018
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note May 2018

America is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo; design by Gray318 (Atlantic Books / May 2018) A great new entry in the books on book covers genre!  Awayland by Ramona Ausubel; design by Alex Merto (Riverhead / March 2018) Be … Continue reading

May 7, 2018
by Dan
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The Nine Rs

Grant Snider for the New York Times. (Oh, and Grant has a book out too)

April 30, 2018
by Dan
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Living with a Genius

Tom Gauld for The Guardian.

April 30, 2018
by Dan
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Geoff Dyer on Photographs and Essays

Geoff Dyer, whose new book The Street Philosophy of Gary Winogrand features personal essays inspired by Winogrand photographs, considers other books that combine images and essays in The New York Times: John Szarkowski was for many years the head of photography at … Continue reading

April 26, 2018
by Dan
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Women and Critics: Roxane Gay and Michelle Dean

Michelle Dean talks about her new book, Sharp:The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion, and the nature of criticism with Roxane Gay for The Cut:  I tend to judge a piece of criticism by how smart I find … Continue reading

April 23, 2018
by Dan
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Find Your Place in the Market

Tom Gauld for The Guardian.

April 18, 2018
by Dan
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Olivia Laing on Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca

I am about a month late to this, but Oliver Laing (author of books you should read), wrote about Daphne Du Maurier, and the strangeness of her bestselling novel Rebecca, for The Guardian:   Rebecca has a disturbingly circular structure, a closed … Continue reading

April 13, 2018
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note April 2018

Here are April’s cover selections. Lots of very big type this month!  Black Swans by Eve Babitz; design by Kelly Winton (Counterpoint / April 2017) This goes rather nicely with last year’s cover for Babitz’s novel Sex and Rage also … Continue reading

April 10, 2018
by Dan
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The Archaeology of the Book Tower

Well, this is a little close to home isn’t it? Tom Gauld for The Guardian.  On a related note, Tom’s musical cover for April 16 edition of The New Yorker is lovely.  

April 9, 2018
by Dan
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Grown Men Reading Nancy

Writing for the New York Review Books, Dash Shaw reviews How To Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden:  Today, comics are studied in colleges and reviewed in prominent magazines, but they … Continue reading

March 23, 2018
by Dan
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One Book, Two Titles

Writing for the Globe and Mail, Claire Cameron, author of The Last Neanderthal, takes a look why at Elisabeth de Mariaffi’s new novel is being packaged differently in Britain and Canada:  A novel is like a question – what happens when…? … Continue reading

March 22, 2018
by Dan
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2018 AU Presses Book, Jacket, & Journal Show

The Association of University Presses recently announced the selections for their 2018 Book, Jacket, & Journal Show. The show is the oldest continuous book design competition in the US, and I was lucky enough to join McSweeney’s designer Sunra Thompson … Continue reading

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