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

October 30, 2015
by Dan
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James Gleick on What Libraries Can (Still) Do

James Gleick (The Information, Faster) on libraries, and James Palfrey’s book BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, at the NYRB Blog: In the midst of an information explosion, librarians are still the most versatile information … Continue reading

February 24, 2015
by Dan
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Ten Good Reasons the Book is Important

Over at Design Observer, writer Timothy Young gives 10 reasons why the book is still important. Number seven is that it is an object fixed in time: “A book can tell us about its status in history. If we look through first editions of Moby … Continue reading

November 22, 2013
by Dan
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Our Public Library

Earlier this week, someone I know (you know who are!) suggested that people who work in publishing like to pay lip-service libraries while not actually making use of the services they offer. I can’t speak for everyone else in the … Continue reading

February 28, 2013
by Dan
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Libraries of the Future

You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, which collects many of Tom Gauld’s cartoons for The Guardian, is out in April.

July 25, 2012
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

A long interview with Darwyn Cooke about his latest Donald Westlake/Richard Stark adaptation, The Score (out this week if you’re interested). Shadows and Fog — Jimmy Stamp on Batman and architecture, for ArchDaily: Since its inception, Gotham City has been presented as the embodiment … Continue reading

June 6, 2012
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

I really enjoyed Naïve: Modernism and Folklore in Contemporary Graphic Design, so I really think I have to pick up  Echoes of the Future: Rational Graphic Design and Illustration, also published by Gestalten. A “compilation of recent graphic design and illustration … Continue reading

September 26, 2011
by Dan
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Private Library

In this short film, New York architect Andrew Berman discusses a commission to design a beautiful writing studio in the woods in Long Island:

August 3, 2011
by Dan
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Whither the Library?

Going to the library is one of my earliest memories. I don’t remember much about the books, but I remember the building — its steps and its smell — and I remember the funny pinkish orange library tickets for children. … Continue reading

July 22, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Potential for Infection — A lovely essay by Alan Bennett on books, libraries, and bookcases, in the LRB: ‘Books Do Furnish a Room’, wrote Anthony Powell, but my mother never thought so and she’d always put them out of the … Continue reading

May 20, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

The New Museum — Steven Heller profiles Will Schofield, the man behind the awesome 50 Watts blog, for The Atlantic: For want of money, Schofield notes that he always bought cheap used copies and mass-market editions of the books he … Continue reading

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