The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

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 7, 2015
by Dan
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Saying Goodbye to a Secret Bookstore

Also at The New Yorker, Brian Patrick Eha writes about the closure of Brazenhead Books, Michael Seidenberg’s secret New York bookstore: Michael Seidenberg’s one-of-a-kind bookshop, Brazenhead Books, closed last month. For seven years, it operated out of an apartment at … Continue reading

July 31, 2015
by Dan
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A Secret History of Manhattan’s Book Trade

Don’t miss Dwight Garner’s New York Times review of Martial Bliss.: The Story of the Military Bookman, Margaretta Barton Colt’s account of running an antiquarian bookstore in Manhattan that sold only military titles. If you ever worked in an independent bookstore, you’ll probably relate… Historians … Continue reading

July 14, 2015
by Dan
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The Antiquarian Bookshops of Old London

At the lovely Spitalfields Life blog, the Gentle Author reminisces about buying and selling used books in London, and shares some wondeful black and white photographs of the city’s secondhand bookshops taken in 1971 by Richard Brown: Frustrated by my … Continue reading

August 17, 2012
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

The brilliant Jon Gray and Jamie Keenan reveal the 20 irrefutable theories of book cover design. All of them are great. Also at The Guardian: Ahdaf Soueif, author most recently of Cairo: My City, Our Revolution, on fiction and the revolution in … Continue reading

May 25, 2012
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack — Tom Gauld has a Tumblr (The title is a reference to this of course). Legacy Issues — Stephen Page, chief executive of Faber & Faber, writing at The Guardian: Let’s deal with technological … Continue reading

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