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 1, 2018
by Dan
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The Collection

The Collection is a short documentary about two friends and their discovery of a unique collection of movie memorabilia, comprised of over 40,000 printer blocks and 20,000 printer plates used to create the original newspaper advertisements for movies released in the … Continue reading

April 20, 2018
by Dan
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Design Canada

Design Canada, is a new documentary celebrating the ‘golden era’ of Canadian graphic design:  The film is screening in Canada in the summer 2018, and releasing digitally in the fall.  (via Coudal)

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

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 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 23, 2018
by Dan
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Rams: Teaser Trailer

Filmmaker Gary Hustwit has posted the first teaser trailers for his documentary about designer Dieter Rams on his website.  The documentary, set to be released later this year, will include in-depth conversations with the designer, and feature original music by … Continue reading

February 22, 2018
by Dan
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The Counterpress x Derwent

A lovely short film about The Counter Press, a design studio and letterpress workshop in east London: 

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 16, 2018
by Dan
2 Comments

Book Covers of Note January 2018

I was sure that 2018 would be different from 2017, and yet here we are… Happy New Year!  The Age of Caesar by Plutarch; translation by Pamela Mensch; design by Catherine Casalino (W.W. Norton / January 2018) The Book of … 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

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