The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

May 4, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

The Rise of the Global Novel

At the New Republic, Siddhartha Deb, author of The Beautiful and the Damned, reviews The Global Novel: Writing the World in the 21st Century by Adam Kirsch: Foreign writers might still be considered strange or different, and they might not be covered … Continue reading

January 12, 2017
by Dan
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Brutalist Dreams

At the New York Review of Books, American architecture critic Martin Filler casts a critical eye over a slew of new books on Brutalist architecture:  In addition to its echoes of art brut—Jean Dubuffet’s name for outsider art—New Brutalism was … Continue reading

March 2, 2014
by Dan
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Fred the Clown: Book Review

By Roger Langridge. I’ve read reviews like this (except the bit about liking books usually comes at the beginning).

February 8, 2011
by Dan
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Too Much Information

That the reality of machines can outpace the imagination of magic, and in so short a time, does tend to lend weight to the claim that the technological shifts in communication we’re living with are unprecedented… The scale of the … Continue reading

March 9, 2010
by Dan
3 Comments

Midweek Miscellany

A true miscellany here: letterpress to Gil Scott-Heron with a lot of meat sandwiched in between… This is quite possibly why I blog… Ditoria — An amazing video about showing the letterpress printing process by Roberto Bolado. The Cost of … Continue reading

May 29, 2009
by Dan
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Something for Weekend, May 29th, 2009

Hard-boiled — New designs for Ross MacDonald’s Lew Archer books by Joe Montgomery seen at FaceOut Books. I know I link to FaceOut just about every other week, but it’s an awesome site and the juxaposition of images in this … Continue reading

March 23, 2009
by Dan
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Monday Miscellany, March 23rd, 2009

The Story Artist — Stand back and admire Cristiana Couceira’s cover for the New York Times Book Review (pictured above) illustrating Colm Toibin’s review of Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthelme by Tracy Daugherty (St. Martin’s Press).  You can … Continue reading

February 27, 2009
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend, Feb 27th, 2009

The 5 Rules of Book Cover Design Book — John Gall, VP and art Director at Vintage, talks about designing books at Barnes & Noble (video). There is also a nice print interview with John Gall from 2007 at STEP … Continue reading

January 14, 2009
by Dan
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The Confessions of a Literary Editor

With regard to the challenges facing book review editors, mentioned here yesterday, Scott Pack has posted an interesting Q & A with Robert McCrum, former literary editor of The Observer newspaper (and former editor-in-chief at Faber & Faber): What criteria … Continue reading

January 13, 2009
by Dan
1 Comment

The New Globe & Mail Books

As announced in December last year, The Globe and Mail replaced its standalone Books tabloid with a combined ‘Focus and Books’ section this weekend, simultaneously launching a new Books website that will feature, amongst other things, daily book reviews, news … Continue reading

December 10, 2008
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany, Dec. 10th, 2008

NPR’s Best Graphic Novels of 2008 include Josh Cotter’s Skyscrapers of the Midwest, Local by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s Goodbye, and Alan’s War by Emmanuel Guibert (pictured). There’s an excerpt available of each book selected. Nice. (Thanks … Continue reading

December 4, 2008
by Dan
1 Comment

Goodbye, Globe

According The Quill & Quire, The Globe & Mail will be folding it’s weekly standalone Books tabloid into the Focus section of its Saturday paper in the new year: Globe editor-in-chief Edward Greenspon argued that the move is aimed at … Continue reading

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