The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

January 15, 2016
by Dan
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Some Murder Methods for Modern Mystery Writers

Tom Gauld for The Guardian.

May 25, 2015
by Dan
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Errors Commonly Made by Inexperienced Murder-Mystery Novelists

Tom Gauld.

October 31, 2011
by Dan
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Stark’s Grofield Novels Designed by David Drummond

David Drummond designed the covers for the University of Chicago Press recent reissues of Richard Stark’s ‘Parker’ novels. Now David has designed great new covers for the reissues of Stark’s ‘Alan Grofield’ novels as well – The Dame, The Damsel, Blackbird … Continue reading

September 16, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Not My Type — Paul Shaw really doesn’t like Just My Type by Simon Garfield: This is the second time I have tried to write a review of Just My Type. It is a frustrating book—warm and friendly on the … Continue reading

August 31, 2011
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Nick Hornby on book cover design at We Made This: [I]ncreasingly the big retailers, Amazon and the supermarkets, have a say in how a book looks before publication, if the book in question has serious commercial prospects. I don’t really know what … Continue reading

August 17, 2011
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Superhybridity — Tom Payne reviews Retromania by Simon Reynolds for The New York Times: It’s not so much the selling-­out that saddens Reynolds. Rather, it’s our ready acceptance that the past is our only future: that after postmodernism, with its … Continue reading

August 2, 2011
by Dan
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George Pelecanos

Author George Pelecanos talks to NPR’s Morning Edition about race, class and setting all his novels in Washington, DC: NPR MORNING EDITION: Taking On Crime In A Racially Divided D.C. George Pelecanos’ new novel The Cut is released later this … Continue reading

July 18, 2011
by Dan
1 Comment

Richard Price Paperbacks | Henry Sene Yee

Columbine and A Wall in Palestine: cover designs by Henry Sene Yee Henry Sene Yee is a designer and art director at Picador USA. The very of his best work (and all of it is good) — his cover designs … Continue reading

July 12, 2011
by Dan
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Les Diaboliques | A. O. Scott

New York Times film critic A.O. Scott turns his attention to the 1955 French thriller Les Diaboliques directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot: Les Diaboliques was based on the novel Celle qui n’était plus (She Who Was No More) by Pierre Boileau and … Continue reading

July 4, 2011
by Dan
2 Comments

Henning Mankell | BBC World Book Club

Author Henning Mankell talks to Harriett Gilbert about Faceless Killers, the first novel featuring Inspector Kurt Wallander, for the BBC World Book Club: BBC WORLD BOOK CLUB: Henning Mankell

April 8, 2011
by Dan
1 Comment

Jo Nesbø | BBC World Book Club

With A.A. Knopf FINALLY publishing his novel The Snowman in the US this May, Norwegian author Jo Nesbø discusses his earlier Harry Hole novel The Redbreast with the BBC World Service Book Club: BBC WORLD BOOK CLUB: JO NESBØ

April 8, 2011
by Dan
2 Comments

Something for the Weekend

FF Spinoza — A nice looking new type family designed by New York-based art director Max Phillips: With the goal of readability in mind, Phillips named the typeface after 17th century rationalist and lens-grinder Baruch Spinoza, a man whose job … Continue reading

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