The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

April 19, 2018
by Dan
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The Making of 2001: A Space Odyssey

Dan Chiasson takes a look at the making (and meaning) of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ for The New Yorker: Kubrick brought to his vision of the future the studiousness you would expect from a history film. “2001” is, … Continue reading

September 5, 2017
by Dan
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At Least She’s Reading

Another back to school appropriate comic, this time by J.A.K. (AKA Jason Adam Katzenstein) for The New Yorker: 

February 8, 2017
by Dan
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Fade to Black

Hilton Als on James Baldwin, movies, and Raoul Peck’s documentary I Am Not Your Negro, for The New Yorker: One has the sense, in the sections of “I Am Not Your Negro” that are devoted to Baldwin’s relationship to film, that Peck … Continue reading

June 20, 2016
by Dan
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Punctuation

Grant Snider has drawn a lovely series of cartoons on punctuation for The New Yorker.      

May 25, 2016
by Dan
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Fable

Not an actual book cover, but a new Tom Gauld illustration for a Charles Yu (Sorry Please Thank You) short story in The New Yorker. Tom has also just joined Instagram if that’s your thing.

March 17, 2016
by Dan
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The Custodian of Forgotten Books

In a lovely piece for The New Yorker, Daniel A. Gross talks to blogger Brad Bigelow, the man behind the Neglected Books, about rediscovering forgotten literature: Most novels are forgotten. Glance at the names of writers who were famous in the nineteenth century, … Continue reading

March 5, 2016
by Dan
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Cold Comfort Books

Roz Chast for The New Yorker.

February 24, 2016
by Dan
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“Awesome” is the New “Massive”

The New Yorker‘s ‘Comma Queen’ Mary Norris considers (mis)use of the words “massive” and “awesome”:

February 17, 2016
by Dan
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New Directions Staying Small

Maria Bustillos visits New Directions and talks to publisher and president Barbara Epler about the business for The New Yorker: Today’s visitor to New Directions’ elegantly shabby offices, in Chelsea, may stand on the nineteenth-floor balcony beside Epler, who is in … Continue reading

December 10, 2015
by Dan
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Update

Pretty much. YA covers for 2015 coming soon. (Cartoon by Bruce Eric Kaplan for The New Yorker)

November 11, 2015
by Dan
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Christoph Niemann’s Coffee Break

Christoph Niemann for The New Yorker.

October 30, 2015
by Dan
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George Saunders Writing Education

The New Yorker has a lovely essay by George Saunders, excerpted from a new book called A Manner of Being: Writers on Their Mentors, on his education as a writer: For me, a light goes on: we are supposed to be—are required to … Continue reading

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