The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

February 10, 2017
by Dan
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Bibliomania

At The Guardian, Lorraine Berry looks into the curious history of compulsive book buying: In the 19th century, book collecting became common among gentlemen, mostly in Britain, and grew into an obsession that one of its participants called “bibliomania”. Thomas Frognall … Continue reading

January 16, 2017
by Dan
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Obama and Books

The New York Times has published a transcript of Michiko Kakutani’s recent conversation with US President Barak Obama about books: Some of the craft of writing a good speech is identical to any other good writing: Is that word necessary? Is it … Continue reading

October 26, 2016
by Dan
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Darran Anderson on Imaginary Cities and Books as Maps

Author Darran Anderson discusses his book Imaginary Cities with Rhys Tranter: [M]y intention was to write something that isn’t self-contained; a book that somehow spills out of its pages and into the world… I wanted to send people out looking for … Continue reading

September 13, 2016
by Dan
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Promotional Stickers for Novels

Tom Gauld‘s latest cartoon for The Guardian. It seems kind of appropriate for the day this year’s Man Booker Prize shortlist is announced…

June 6, 2016
by Dan
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All the Books

At Literary Hub, Designer Oliver Munday discusses his design process and reading the whole text: As designers, we are forced to read quickly, and incisively, mining for the clues to the coveted iconic cover. It can feel careless at times, … Continue reading

May 31, 2016
by Dan
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Find Your Stories in the Dirt

I mentioned Andrew F. Sullivan’s piece on High-Rise last week, and I recently spoke to the author about his own novel WASTE, and about influence of David Lynch on his writing in a Q & A for Publishers Group Canada: Initially, … Continue reading

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

February 5, 2016
by Dan
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Moustache

Will McPhail for The New Yorker.

October 30, 2015
by Dan
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James Gleick on What Libraries Can (Still) Do

James Gleick (The Information, Faster) on libraries, and James Palfrey’s book BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, at the NYRB Blog: In the midst of an information explosion, librarians are still the most versatile information … Continue reading

August 8, 2015
by Dan
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Tom Gauld’s Suitcase

Tom Gauld for The New Yorker.

June 22, 2015
by Dan
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Available Only in Bookshops

To mark Independent Bookshop Week in the UK, author Helen Dunmore celebrates browsing the shelves: Readers go their own way, and this is what frustrates governments and tantalises publishers. You can drag the reader to the water with the most … Continue reading

March 10, 2015
by Dan
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The Book Thieves of London

At The Dabbler, gentleman bookseller Steerforth recalls his run-ins with book thieves over the years: After a while I became quite good at spotting the biblioklepts. Sometimes they gave themselves away through their body language, other times it was their … Continue reading

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