The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

September 19, 2017
by Dan

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

March 9, 2017
by Dan

Book Covers of Note March 2017

Holy smokes! There are a lot of good covers this month! Feast your eyes on March’s book covers of note: Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay; cover art by Sean Qualls (Penguin / March 2017) The Book of Greek and Roman … Continue reading

February 8, 2016
by Dan

Book Covers of Note February 2016

Adios, Cowboy by Olja Savicevic; design by Sunra Thompson (McSweeney’s / February 2016) The Encounter: Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu; design by David Pearson (Pushkin Press / February 2016) Empire of Things by Frank Trentmann; design by Coralie Bickford-Smith (Allen … Continue reading

December 22, 2015
by Dan

Series Design 2015

In my last post on the book covers of 2015, I thought I would take a look back at some of the series that caught my eye this this year… Stephen Baxter / Manifold; design by Mike Topping (Harper Voyager … Continue reading

December 1, 2015
by Dan

Notable Book Covers for 2015

Back in 2014, there were signs that book cover design was maybe, just maybe, having a moment. Suzanne Dean was on the BBC. Peter Mendelsund was on… well, everything. But if 2015 has felt a little quiet by comparison, there … Continue reading

October 7, 2015
by Dan

Book Covers of Note October 2015

A little bit later than scheduled, here is my October selection of book covers. There are three from Verso, and two by James Paul Jones, but I think it’s still another month of interesting, diverse, and eclectic work. I hope you agree… … Continue reading

September 2, 2015
by Dan
1 Comment

Book Covers of Note September 2015

Something of a bumper post this month — a real mix of approaches, and a number YA titles to boot. Enjoy! The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector; design by Paul Sahre (New Directions / August 2015) Consumed by David Cronenberg; design by David A. … Continue reading

June 3, 2015
by Dan

Book Covers of Note June 2015

I don’t know where last month went, but somehow it’s June already and it’s time for another selection of recent book covers: A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa; design by Julia Connolly (Harvill Secker / June 2015) The … Continue reading

April 6, 2015
by Dan

Book Covers of Note April 2015

Never mind that still feels like some crazy never-ending winter in Toronto, it’s (allegedly) April so here are a few new and recent covers that have caught my eye in the past month… American Warlord by Johnny Dwyer; design by Oliver Munday (Knopf … Continue reading

December 7, 2014
by Dan

50 Covers for 2014

Book designers, you do amazing work. Thank you. I am especially grateful to all the designers and art directors (not to mention publicists and other publishing folk) who have shared their wisdom, provided me with images, and helped me with design credits this year — these … Continue reading

December 5, 2014
by Dan

Catalogue Covers: A Request for Submissions

For the past few years, Quill & Quire (magazine to the stars) has asked Canadian books designers choose their favourite covers of the year. This year, however, instead of choosing a book cover like everybody else, David Gee picked out the McGill-Queen’s University Press Spring 2015 catalogue designed … Continue reading

September 25, 2014
by Dan

Beasts! Reptiles and Amphibians

As a Friday follow-up to Tuesday’s post on wild beasts, here’s a look at reptiles and amphibians on book covers: Alligator by Lisa Moore; design by Bill Douglas (House of Anansi Press / September 2005) The Andalucian Friend by Alexander Söderberg; … Continue reading

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