The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

September 8, 2017
by Dan
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Books Will Always Matter

“Even though we think of reading as something that we do alone in our rooms by ourselves, we talk about books, and we take the ideas that we learn from books and the stories that we have heard about books, … Continue reading

September 5, 2017
by Dan
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At Least She’s Reading

Another back to school appropriate comic, this time by J.A.K. (AKA Jason Adam Katzenstein) for The New Yorker: 

March 17, 2016
by Dan
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The Custodian of Forgotten Books

In a lovely piece for The New Yorker, Daniel A. Gross talks to blogger Brad Bigelow, the man behind the Neglected Books, about rediscovering forgotten literature: Most novels are forgotten. Glance at the names of writers who were famous in the nineteenth century, … Continue reading

August 8, 2015
by Dan
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Tom Gauld’s Suitcase

Tom Gauld for The New Yorker.

February 15, 2012
by Dan
2 Comments

E-Books Can’t Burn

Author Tim Parks has an interesting post on the virtues of e-books on the NYRB blog: The e-book, by eliminating all variations in the appearance and weight of the material object we hold in our hand and by discouraging anything … Continue reading

January 17, 2011
by Dan
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There’s More to Life Than Reading…

With library closures threatening in the UK, here’s Tom Gauld’s comic ‘Withdrawn‘ for The Guardian‘s Saturday Review:

December 31, 2010
by Dan
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Favourite New Books of 2010

Ducking in just under the wire, here is my list of favourite of new books of the year. It’s not meant to represent the “best” of 2010. Rather, it’s a completely unscientific, very subjective list of books (arranged in alphabetical … Continue reading

December 23, 2010
by Dan
2 Comments

A Year in Reading 2010

2010 was a year of losing battles and one of the first casualties was time for personal reading. The moments I did have were snatched on the subway and, if I could keep my eyes open, last thing at night. … Continue reading

August 31, 2010
by Dan
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Images and Words

Photographer Steve McCurry, best known for his iconic National Geographic portrait ‘Afghan Girl’, recently posted two sets of beautiful photographs on his blog of people reading books. Publishing Perspectives spoke to McCurry about the ongoing project: As a photographer, McCurry is … Continue reading

June 18, 2010
by Dan
7 Comments

Father’s Day: Men and Reading

Thriller writer Jason Pinter recently rattled some publishing china by suggesting that a stubborn belief that Men Don’t Read is alienating male readers: I’m tired of people saying Men Don’t Read. Men LOVE to read… But the more publishing repeats … Continue reading

June 10, 2010
by Dan
2 Comments

Some Football Literature for the Weekend

Somehow I managed to miss most of the hype leading up to the World Cup, but now that things are about to kick off I’m actually genuinely excited (not least by England vs. The U.S. on Saturday) and have spent … Continue reading

March 1, 2010
by Dan
0 comments

The Silver Lining Top 5

The nice folks at The Silver Lining blog — consistently one of my favourite blogs for vintage design goodness — were kind enough to ask me for a contribution to their ‘Top 5’ feature last month, and so, as of … Continue reading

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