The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

September 29, 2017
by Dan
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It Is a Truth Universally Acknowledged…

Tom’s new book, Baking with Kafka, is now available in the UK from Canongate Books, and in the US and Canada from D+Q next month.

September 21, 2017
by Dan
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No Offense!

Argentinian cartoonist Liniers celebrating Steven King’s birthday today: (I think it roughly translates as “I’m reading a scary book. ‘It’ by Stephen King… It’s about a clown monster with pointed teeth that appears to a chil… No offense!”)

September 19, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note, September 2017

Here are September’s cover selections with a few extra covers from earlier in the year, just for good measure… The Aeneid by Virgil, translated by David Ferry; design by Matt Avery (University of Chicago Press / September 2017) The Age … Continue reading

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: 

August 28, 2017
by Dan
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A Cocoon Over There!

‘A Cocoon Over There!’ is a lovely cartoon about going back to school by Argentinian cartoonist Liniers for the New York Times Book Review: Liniers has a new kids book out this fall from Toon Books called Goodnight, Planet.

August 4, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note August 2017

Oh hey, August. Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson; design by Milan Bozic (Amistad / May 2017) Robin Billardello‘s cover design for the hardcover of Another Brooklyn, released last year, is also great.  Bolshoi Confidential by Simon Morrison; design by Jo … 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

July 20, 2017
by Dan
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50 Books / 50 Covers Winners 2016

AIGA and Design Observer announced the results of the 2016 50 Books | 50 Covers competition while I was on vacation. You can find all the book selections here, and the cover selections here. I always look forward 50 Books | … Continue reading

July 18, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note July 2017

Something… something… vacation… something… jetlag…. something… inbox… something… Oh look! It’s July’s book covers! Album for the Young (and Old) by Vera Pavlova; design by Janet Hansen (Knopf / April 2017) Amanda Wakes Up by Alisyn Camerota; design by Kimberly … Continue reading

June 28, 2017
by Dan
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ABDA Awards Interview

I talked to the Australian Book Design Association about book cover design and judging this year’s ABDA Awards: I think we’re seeing a more global approach to covers as a result of publishers deciding to hold on to the international … Continue reading

June 27, 2017
by Dan
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SPINE Interview with Suzanne Dean

Designer Holly Dunn talks to Suzanne Dean, Creative Director at Vintage Books and one of the UK’s leading cover designers, for SPINE Magazine:

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