The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

November 7, 2016
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note November 2016

I’m not sure anyone is paying too much attention to book design this week, but if you’re looking for a few minutes diversion from the awfulness of almost everything, here’s this month’s selection of quirky, beautiful, and otherwise interesting book covers… Black Water by Louise … Continue reading

April 8, 2016
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note April 2016

All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage; design by Mario Hugo (Knopf / March 2016) The Assault by Harry Mulisch; design by Oliver Munday (Pantheon / April 2016) The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan; design by Matt … Continue reading

November 9, 2015
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note November 2015

Next month I’ll say goodbye to 2015 with my annual list of my favourite covers of the year. Until then, here’s November’s book covers of note, my last monthly covers post for the 2015: Baddeley Brothers by The Gentle Author; design David Pearson (October 2015) … Continue reading

April 20, 2015
by Dan
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Salman Rushdie and Adult-YA Crossovers

The cover of the US edition of Salman Rushdie’s first adult novel in seven years. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights (Random House, September 2015), was revealed on Buzzfeed last week. While the cover itself is perfectly fine, the most remarkable thing about … Continue reading

April 15, 2015
by Dan
3 Comments

Today in Micro-Trends: Neon Signs

Inspired by the recent Blur album cover designed by Tony Hung (read more about it here) amongst other things, here are a selection of (relatively) recent books cover designs using lettering inspired by neon signs (pictured above: Bright Shiny Morning … Continue reading

November 3, 2014
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note November 2014

This is the last of the monthly cover round-ups for 2014, and I have a lot to cram in before I start on my big end of year list, so it’s a bit of corker (if I do say so … Continue reading

September 23, 2014
by Dan
7 Comments

Beasts!

Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my! I’m kicking off a new series today on animal book covers. The first post is on ‘beasts’ — mostly ‘wild’ beasts, but one or two more domesticated (and dead) animals may have nosed … Continue reading

July 17, 2014
by Dan
Comments Off on Books on Book Covers

Books on Book Covers

It started, innocently enough, with a tweet from my friend Steven Beattie, book review editor of Canada’s Quill & Quire magazine, about the cover of The Most Dangerous Book, Kevin Birmingham’s new ‘biography’ of Ulysses by James Joyce, designed by Ben … Continue reading

June 16, 2014
by Dan
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Memento Mori

The threat of death… A warning… A memento mori… A comprehensive visual history of the human skull is surely an entire Steven Heller book in the making (I guess we’ll just have to make do with a Wikipedia page for … Continue reading

June 2, 2014
by Dan
7 Comments

Book Covers of Note June 2014

Well, this seems to have become a regular thing doesn’t it? I have to confess that I still haven’t quite figured out exactly what covers to include in these monthly posts, only that they’re recent and I like them. It’s … Continue reading

January 30, 2013
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

A bit late in the day on this, but the British edition of HHhH by Laurent Binet, designed James Paul Jones Senior Designer at Vintage Books, is quite something. The book was recently released in paperback in the UK. And, if you’re … Continue reading

March 9, 2011
by Dan
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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

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