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

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

November 25, 2016
by Dan
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Adaptation

Tom Gauld for The Guardian.  (Tom has touched on this subject before…)

October 26, 2016
by Dan
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Darran Anderson on Imaginary Cities and Books as Maps

Author Darran Anderson discusses his book Imaginary Cities with Rhys Tranter: [M]y intention was to write something that isn’t self-contained; a book that somehow spills out of its pages and into the world… I wanted to send people out looking for … Continue reading

October 17, 2016
by Dan
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The Fantastic Ursula K. Le Guin

Julie Phillips long profile of author Ursula K. Le Guin for The New Yorker is wonderful: Starting in the nineteen-eighties, [Le Guin] published some of her most accomplished work—fiction that was realist, magic realist, postmodernist, and sui generis. She wrote the Borgesian feminist parable “She … Continue reading

August 22, 2016
by Dan
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Bookworm: Tom McCarthy on Satin Island

Author Tom McCarthy talks to Bookworm about his latest novel Satin Island: KCRW Bookworm: Tom McCarthy on Satin Island mp3 The rather splendid cover for the US paperback edition published earlier this year by Vintage (pictured above) was designed by John … Continue reading

July 25, 2016
by Dan
1 Comment

Innovations for the Modern Novelist

Tom Gauld for The Guardian. Who needs people?

May 31, 2016
by Dan
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Find Your Stories in the Dirt

I mentioned Andrew F. Sullivan’s piece on High-Rise last week, and I recently spoke to the author about his own novel WASTE, and about influence of David Lynch on his writing in a Q & A for Publishers Group Canada: Initially, … Continue reading

May 28, 2016
by Dan
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Title Fight

At The Paris Review blog, author Tony Tulathimutte (PRIVATE CITIZENS) considers how the titles of books get chosen: Every literary generation has its naming conventions, and it’s as hard to imagine the sixty-five-word original title for Robinson Crusoe passing muster … Continue reading

May 4, 2016
by Dan
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Author Health Hazards

Tom Gauld for The Guardian.

February 18, 2016
by Dan
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Robert Caro on New York

At The Gothamist, Christopher Robbins talks to writer Robert Caro about New York and The Power Broker, his classic Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of city planner Robert Moses: Moses had done something no one else had ever done. Everyone thought power comes from being … Continue reading

January 8, 2016
by Dan
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George Saunders: On Story

Storytelling, at least from my experience of it… I think it’s a stand-in for day to day life. So, when you come to a story with this attitude we’ve been talking about, which is kind of hopeful, generous, not to … Continue reading

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