The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

December 13, 2016
by Dan
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The Rest of the Best

When it comes to choosing the year’s best book covers, it seems that everyone is at it these days… “These covers are challenging without being impenetrable and playful without being precious — none of which is an easy task for … Continue reading

February 19, 2016
by Dan
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Matt Dorfman American Illustration Interview

Robert Newman interviews mighty Matt Dorfman, illustrator, book cover designer and art director for The New York Times Book Review, for American Illustration: I’m a big disciple of using abstraction to highlight emotional conditions. To that end, I love the kitchen sink … Continue reading

August 10, 2015
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note August 2015

The entire book industry isn’t on vacation. It only seems that way. Here’s August’s book covers of note… The Aesthetics of Middlebrow Fiction by Tom Perrin; design Palgrave Macmillan (Palgrave Macmillan / August 2016) Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes by … Continue reading

June 3, 2015
by Dan
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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

July 17, 2014
by Dan
Comments Off on Books on Book Covers

Books on Book Covers

It started, innocently enough, with a tweet from my friend Steven Beattie, book review editor of Canada’s Quill & Quire magazine, about the cover of The Most Dangerous Book, Kevin Birmingham’s new ‘biography’ of Ulysses by James Joyce, designed by Ben … Continue reading

June 2, 2014
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note June 2014

Well, this seems to have become a regular thing doesn’t it? I have to confess that I still haven’t quite figured out exactly what covers to include in these monthly posts, only that they’re recent and I like them. It’s … Continue reading

February 27, 2014
by Dan
3 Comments

Recent Covers of Note February 2014 Edition

It’s almost March and I’ve just realised that I haven’t posted very many book covers this year. To make up for this lapse, here are ten of my favourite covers from the last few months: All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu; … Continue reading

December 13, 2011
by Dan
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Favourite Covers of 2011

After posting my long overdue picks for 2010 last week, here are my selections for my favourite book covers of 2011. I’m currently reading Where The Stress Falls a collection of writing by Susan Sontag published in 2001. In an … Continue reading

May 11, 2011
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Half Crazy — Matt Dorfman on his great book cover design for The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, published by Riverhead Books: Riverhead did not skimp on the production touches for this one. They sprung for a combination gritty matte … Continue reading

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