The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

January 17, 2017
by Dan
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Irma Boom’s Library

The New York Times visits Dutch designer and bookmaker Irma Boom‘s new library of experimental books: Irma Boom pays careful attention to word choice. The Dutch designer, one of the world’s pre-eminent bookmakers, is loath to say “client” and refers to … Continue reading

January 16, 2017
by Dan
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Obama and Books

The New York Times has published a transcript of Michiko Kakutani’s recent conversation with US President Barak Obama about books: Some of the craft of writing a good speech is identical to any other good writing: Is that word necessary? Is it … Continue reading

January 13, 2017
by Dan
1 Comment

The Scientific Erotica Book Club

Tom Gauld for New Scientist.

January 12, 2017
by Dan
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Future Shock

A decade after its first release, Vulture looks back at the terrifying new relevance of Alfonso Cuarón’s 2006 film (based loosely on a novel by P. D. James), Children of Men: Children of Men is having a remarkable resurgence — not just because of its … 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

January 6, 2017
by Dan
2 Comments

Book Covers of Note January 2017

My first post of 2017 includes some cracking new book covers fresh this month, and a few handsome stragglers from the end of 2016… Happy New Year!  Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson; design by Erin Fitzsimmons (Katherine Tegen Books / January 2017) Always Happy … Continue reading

December 13, 2016
by Dan
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The Rest of the Best

When it comes to choosing the year’s best book covers, it seems that everyone is at it these days… “These covers are challenging without being impenetrable and playful without being precious — none of which is an easy task for … Continue reading

December 13, 2016
by Dan
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Series Design 2016

Some of the most interesting and innovative book covers in the last few years have been designed as part of a series — designers and art directors seem to have more leeway with backlist titles (especially so if the author … Continue reading

December 7, 2016
by Dan
1 Comment

Notable YA Book Covers of 2016

Hot on the heels of my annual covers post, here is my look back at the year’s young adult book covers. As in previous years, this list is a somewhat crowd-sourced affair, so I must thank all the designers and Twitter-folk who … Continue reading

November 27, 2016
by Dan
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Notable Book Covers of 2016

It is that wonderful/awful time of year. Wonderful because we get to look back at some of the amazing work people have done over the past 12 months. Awful because lists are arbitrary and someone always misses out. I’m not going … Continue reading

November 25, 2016
by Dan
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Adaptation

Tom Gauld for The Guardian.  (Tom has touched on this subject before…)

November 18, 2016
by Dan
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Choose Your Own Memoir

Grant Snider for the New York Times Book Review.

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