The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

February 3, 2016
by Dan
0 comments

Jeff Shotts: Artful and Enduring Experiences

At Literary Hub,  Jeff Shotts discusses his work an editor at Minneapolis-based publisher Graywolf Press with Kerri Arsenault: At Graywolf, we choose what we choose because these books deal with uncomfortable issues. Sometimes we need comfort, but what comforts us as readers, when so … Continue reading

January 25, 2016
by Dan
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David Bowie’s Forgotten Non-Fiction Books

Tom Gauld for The Guardian. (And, on a related note, if you are looking for Bowie links, Daniel Benneworth-Gray is compiling a list)

January 20, 2015
by Dan
1 Comment

Ladybird by Design

The Guardian‘s Kathryn Hughes visits Ladybird By Design, an exhibition of over 200 original illustrations from the golden age of Ladybird Books: To enter Ladybird’s world again is to relearn a universe that is both strange yet uncannily familiar. Inevitably the books express the … Continue reading

August 20, 2014
by Dan
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It Kills Everything It Touches

At the LA Review of Books, Daniel Mark Janes discusses last month’s curious conference at Birkbeck College (University of London) about the author Geoff Dyer: Anyone who has written about Geoff Dyer will have been tempted to emulate his style, particularly his tendency to digress: … Continue reading

May 6, 2011
by Dan
1 Comment

Something for the Weekend

A distinctively typographic cover by David Pearson for Vault by David Rose, new from Salt Publishing. Giving Up Irony — John Self reviews Edward St. Aubyn’s At Last: The author’s background, like Patrick’s, is of inherited wealth; perhaps it is … Continue reading

April 20, 2011
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

How Much Is It Worth? — Ivan Brunetti on teaching, and his book Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, at The Comics Journal: To me, art is not about talent, it’s about hard work. It’s about developing one’s intelligence, thoughtfulness, and sensitivity. … Continue reading

April 6, 2011
by Dan
0 comments

The French Connection | Critics’ Pick

The New York Times movie critic A. O. Scott looks at the enduring appeal of The French Connection: William Friedkin’s 1971 film was a fictionalized adaptation of the nonfiction book The French Connection: A True Account of Cops, Narcotics, and … Continue reading

December 31, 2010
by Dan
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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 23, 2010
by Dan
2 Comments

A Year in Reading 2010

2010 was a year of losing battles and one of the first casualties was time for personal reading. The moments I did have were snatched on the subway and, if I could keep my eyes open, last thing at night. … Continue reading

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