The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

February 16, 2018
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note February 2018

I such good intentions to post more often this year. Ah well… Here are this month’s cover selections at least… An American Marriage by Tayari Jones; design by Jaya Miceli (Algonquin Books / February 2018) Building and Dwelling by Richard … Continue reading

January 16, 2018
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note January 2018

I was sure that 2018 would be different from 2017, and yet here we are… Happy New Year!  The Age of Caesar by Plutarch; translation by Pamela Mensch; design by Catherine Casalino (W.W. Norton / January 2018) The Book of … Continue reading

January 2, 2018
by Dan
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The Rest of the Best 2017

Happy New Year! Let’s hope it’s better than the last one, eh? But before we finally bid adieu to 2017 and toss it onto the flaming garbage fire, here’s are some of the other lists that looked back at the … Continue reading

December 20, 2017
by Dan
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Notable YA Covers of 2017

So here it is, Merry Xmas, everybody’s having fun, my YA (and middle-grade) covers round-up for 2017. This is far from my area of expertise (I mostly work on the adult trade side of things), but until someone else steps … Continue reading

December 8, 2017
by Dan
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Notable Book Covers of 2017

Since 2010, I’ve posted an annual survey of the year in book covers. The post has expanded and developed over the past 7 years, but essentially it is a collection of the covers published in the previous 12 months that … Continue reading

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 7, 2017
by Dan
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Coralie Bickford-Smith’s Working Day

At The Guardian, writer, illustrator and Penguin Books designer Coralie Bickford-Smith talks about her working day: When I am at Penguin I design covers for classic literature. When I am at home I write, illustrate and design my own books. … Continue reading

June 13, 2017
by Dan
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The Appointment

Tom Gauld takes a look at editing process for The Guardian.  Tom’s recent comic ‘Editor’s Letter’ for the New York Times Magazine‘s ‘New York Stories‘ comic strip issue is also great:  Tom illustrated a story by Andy Newman called View Finder, … Continue reading

May 10, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note May 2017

Everything is awful. Except for book covers… Black Skins, White Masks by Frantz Fanon; design by David Pearson (Pluto Press / May 2017) The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes; design by Ami Smithson; illustration Petra Börner (Mantle / May … Continue reading

April 12, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note April 2017

This edition of ‘book covers of note’ is brought to you entirely by Gray318 who designed the covers of all the books published this month. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but Jon did design FOUR of the covers on my list — all … Continue reading

April 8, 2017
by Dan
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Elena Ferrante Covers Designed by Angelo Bottino

The covers of the Anglo-American editions of Elena Ferrante’s novels published by Europa Editions have been… well, controversial to say the least (read an interview with the art director about their “kitsch” quality here). The Australian editions of Ferrante’s Neapolitan … Continue reading

March 15, 2017
by Dan
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Will Eisner Centenary

On the centenary of his birth, The Society of Illustrators in New York is celebrating the life of cartoonist Will Eisner with an exhibition of his work, including original artwork from his graphic novels A Contract with God (1978) and Life on Another Planet (1983), … Continue reading

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