The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

May 25, 2017
by Dan
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Gerhard Steidl is Making Books an Art Form

Rebecca Mead’s long profile of publisher Gerhard Steidl for The New Yorker is a wonderful, fascinating read: Each Steidl title is unique, printed with a bespoke combination of inks and papers. But to the informed eye, and the informed hand, … Continue reading

February 27, 2017
by Dan
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The Rise of Roxane Gay

At Brooklyn magazine, Molly McArdle profiles Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State, Bad Feminist and, most recently, Difficult Women:  “What more could I say that I haven’t already said?” Gay asks in an conversation about publishing and diversity we had via email last … Continue reading

February 27, 2016
by Dan
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From Thomas Mann to Amazon — The Art of Literary Publishing in New York

The Millions has a long, but very interesting (and, at times, surprisingly blunt) essay by veteran Doubleday editor Gerald Howard on editing and literary publishing in New York: At the simplest, most basic level, I’ve been reading for a living … Continue reading

January 25, 2016
by Dan
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Where Pilgrims Arrive in Bewilderment

In a long profile for the Globe and Mail, book review editor Mark Medley visits Nicky Drumbolis owner of the singular Letters Bookshop in Thunder Bay: Walking through the store is an overwhelming experience. Everywhere I look I spot something I’ve never seen before … Continue reading

August 7, 2015
by Dan
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The Truth of Life: Paula Fox on Desperate Characters

At Longreads, Sari Botton talks to author Paula Fox talks about the latest reissue of her 1970 novel Desperate Characters: It’s for all kinds of tension, not just racial, but class—the poor, who don’t have money or success, against the … Continue reading

October 21, 2013
by Dan
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The Sprawling, Obsessive Career of Fritz Lang

As part of the The Dissolve’s ‘Career View‘ series,  Noel Murray surveys the work of German-American film director Fritz Lang: Over his first two decades as a movie director, Lang was responsible for some of the most memorable images in cinema’s … Continue reading

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