The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

March 1, 2013
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

Impressionable Minds — Edward Tenner on Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary and the legacy of the controversial cartoonist, at The Atlantic: I still think of Fosdick as Capp’s masterpiece, running postmodern-style as a comic strip within a strip and … Continue reading

January 9, 2013
by Dan
4 Comments

Midweek Miscellany

Ghost Shapes — Writer Warren Ellis talks comics and, very briefly, his new novel Gun Machine at Robot Six: Gun Machine is as much about the ghost shape of Manhattan’s previous settlements and roadways as it is about its modern architecture, … Continue reading

March 5, 2012
by Dan
1 Comment

Monday Miscellany

It is all hands to the pump at The Optimist HQ right now (meetings, deadlines, house maintenance, and vomit-propelled kids), but apologies for the missing links on Friday. Here’s a very quick Monday round-up to make up for it: Designer Stuart … Continue reading

February 8, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

Beautiful children’s book and magazine covers from Korea in the 1950’s and 1960’s at the amazing 50 Watts. Not a Pretty Scene — Tess Thackara on design and the future of printed books at Guernica magazine: Amy Martin’s illustrations for … Continue reading

August 5, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows, reviews Retromania by Simon Reynolds for The New Republic: Who wants yesterday’s papers?” sang Mick Jagger in 1967. “Who wants yesterday’s girl?” The answer, in the Swinging 60s, was obvious: “Nobody in the world.” … Continue reading

March 9, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

Two stunningly minimal designs by Rodrigo Corral for New Directions. Faceout Books is back after a hiatus. First up, an interview with Jennifer Heuer about her design for Down and Delirious in Mexico City by Daniel Hernandez. Haystacks of Needles … Continue reading

March 4, 2011
by Dan
1 Comment

Something for the Weekend

Beep Beep — Nicholas Carr (The Shallows) reviews The Information by James Gleick: As a celebration of human ingenuity, The Information is a deeply hopeful book. But it ends on an ambivalent note. The mathematical analysis of information, Gleick points … Continue reading

March 2, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

The new cover for Daniel Clowes’ The Death Ray available this fall from Drawn + Quarterly. (The usual disclosure: D+Q is distributed in Canada by my employer Raincoast Books). The Enemy of Creativity — Jim Holt reviews Nicholas Carr’s The … Continue reading

February 8, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

Too Much Information

That the reality of machines can outpace the imagination of magic, and in so short a time, does tend to lend weight to the claim that the technological shifts in communication we’re living with are unprecedented… The scale of the … Continue reading

January 20, 2011
by Dan
1 Comment

Technologies That Changed Our Brains

I think what the book… gave us a more attentive way of thinking. What the book does as a technology is shield us from distraction. The only thing going on is the, you know, the progression of words and sentences … Continue reading

December 31, 2010
by Dan
0 comments

Favourite New Books of 2010

Ducking in just under the wire, here is my list of favourite of new books of the year. It’s not meant to represent the “best” of 2010. Rather, it’s a completely unscientific, very subjective list of books (arranged in alphabetical … Continue reading

December 9, 2010
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

Past and Present — An excerpt from Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig by Steve Heller and Elaine Lustig Cohen at Design Observer*: Lustig’s designs fluidly shift from past to present. For his early “experimental” work he … Continue reading

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