The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

September 15, 2017
by Dan
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Race, Power, Money: Olivia Laing on Jean-Michel Basquiat

At The Guardian, Olivia Laing, the eminently readable author of To the River, The Trip to Echo Spring, and The Lonely City, on artist Jean-Michel Basquiat:  There is a graphomaniac quality to almost all of Basquiat’s work. He liked to … Continue reading

April 2, 2015
by Dan
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Olivia Laing on the Future of Loneliness

Olivia Laing whose new book The Lonely City is out in 2016, has a personal essay on loneliness and technology in The Guardian that, like her books To the River and The Trip to Echo Spring, weaves a lot of surprisingly disparate threads … Continue reading

November 11, 2014
by Dan
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Hilary Mantel: Speaking with the Dead

I’m finally, finally reading Wolf Hall (I know, I know…). It is excellent of course, and I’m looking forward to reading Hilary Mantel’s new collection of stories The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher just as soon as I’ve finished it (and Bring Up the Bodies). … Continue reading

June 24, 2014
by Dan
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Authors’ Cocktails

I didn’t see this weekend’s Guardian, but I assume Tom‘s cartoon is in reference to Olivia Laing’s article about 20th century female writers who drank, a follow-up to her excellent book The Trip to Echo Spring, which examines the link between creativity and … Continue reading

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