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

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

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

March 19, 2018
by Dan
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ABCD Award Winners 2018

I am unfashionably late to the party here, but the winners of the 2018 Academy of British Cover Design (ABCD) Awards were announced last week.  The ABCD Awards are always pleasantly surprising. Every year the shortlists include at least two … Continue reading

March 16, 2018
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note March 2018

Lots to see this month, including several YA covers (which I know will please some regular readers), some ‘big’ literary fiction, and a couple of confrontational nonfiction covers to round it out. Enjoy!     Aetherial Worlds by Tatyana Tolstaya; design … Continue reading

February 16, 2018
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note February 2018

I such good intentions to post more often this year. Ah well… Here are this month’s cover selections at least… An American Marriage by Tayari Jones; design by Jaya Miceli (Algonquin Books / February 2018) Building and Dwelling by Richard … Continue reading

January 2, 2018
by Dan
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The Rest of the Best 2017

Happy New Year! Let’s hope it’s better than the last one, eh? But before we finally bid adieu to 2017 and toss it onto the flaming garbage fire, here’s are some of the other lists that looked back at the … Continue reading

December 20, 2017
by Dan
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Notable YA Covers of 2017

So here it is, Merry Xmas, everybody’s having fun, my YA (and middle-grade) covers round-up for 2017. This is far from my area of expertise (I mostly work on the adult trade side of things), but until someone else steps … Continue reading

November 14, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note, November 2017

It’s my last monthly cover round-up of the year! Watch out for my review of 2017 next month…  After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry; design by Pete Dyer (Serpents Tail / November 2017) Basket of Deplorables by Tom … Continue reading

October 20, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note, October 2017

I have steadily fallen further and further behind with my cover posts this year. There is some cracking work in this month’s round-up. But I can’t help feeling that there are some covers missing. Somehow it almost November, and I … Continue reading

August 3, 2017
by Dan
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David Pearson on Books and Typography

At the Monotype blog, Theo Inglis talks to designer David Pearson about his career and his type-centric approach to book covers: We are increasingly being urged to create objects of desire and the cover obviously plays a key role here, … Continue reading

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