The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

February 7, 2017
by Dan
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Chris Ware on George Herriman and Krazy Kat

The New York Review of Books has an essay by cartoonist Chris Ware on George Herriman the creator Krazy Kat, one of the most beautiful, poetic and inventive comic strips ever created:     Krazy Kat has been described as a parable of love, … Continue reading

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

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

November 18, 2016
by Dan
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Choose Your Own Memoir

Grant Snider for the New York Times Book Review.

October 20, 2016
by Dan
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William Eggleston, the Pioneer of Color Photography

Augusten Burroughs’ strange and sad profile of photographer William Eggleston for T, the New York Times Style Magazine: WE LEAVE THE OFFICES of the Eggleston Trust and go to his apartment. The first thing one sees upon entering is a bright red … Continue reading

October 17, 2016
by Dan
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The Neighborhood Bookstore’s Unlikely Ally

The New York Times on the small independent bookstores making the most of social media and online sales: Undoubtedly, the bookselling industry is still digging out of a deep trough. Sales of physical books in physical stores were just $11 … Continue reading

May 28, 2016
by Dan
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Moholy-Nagy: Future Present

The New York Times on a new exhibition of work by Hungarian artist and designer Laszlo Moholy-Nagy at the Guggenheim in New York: The first large Moholy-Nagy exhibition in this country in over 50 years may also be, its organizers … Continue reading

April 3, 2016
by Dan
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Poetic Justice

Grant Snider marks National Poetry Month for the New York Times.

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

February 2, 2016
by Dan
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Chris Jackson: Building a Literary Movement

New York Times Vinson Cunningham profiles Chris Jackson, executive editor at Spiegel & Grau and editor of award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates: Jackson’s role… is to perform nothing less than a kind of magic. He stands between the largely white culture-making machinery and artists … Continue reading

October 16, 2015
by Dan
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Why I Love Comics

Chris Ware for the New York Times Sunday Book Review.

August 24, 2015
by Dan
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Amazon: Pass This Letter To My Wife and Kids

I wasn’t going to mention that New York Times article about Amazon. We already know the company treats its workers poorly (there are almost too many articles to link to at this point), it’s just that some people rather admire this kind of ruthlessness … Continue reading

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