The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

June 28, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

ABDA Awards Interview

I talked to the Australian Book Design Association about book cover design and judging this year’s ABDA Awards: I think we’re seeing a more global approach to covers as a result of publishers deciding to hold on to the international … Continue reading

February 3, 2012
by Dan
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Riga Black Balsam

I’m sorry — there won’t be a round-up of fascinating things from around the internet today. A lot of emails and late night with some of Canada’s most illustrious book designers is largely to blame. Take my advice, if a book designer … 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

November 29, 2010
by Dan
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Back from Vancouver

I was in Vancouver last week for the Raincoast Books Spring 2011 sales conference. It snowed (see above) and I heard about a lot of new titles I’m looking forward to seeing next year (I can’t wait to get my … Continue reading

October 21, 2010
by Dan
6 Comments

From My Desk…

I’ve mention Kate Donnelly’s blog a couple of times here previously, but now you can take a look at my office space on From The Desks Of… should you be so inclined. Other (more interesting) recent contributors to From The … Continue reading

May 21, 2010
by Dan
0 comments

Proust

Open Book Toronto recently asked me to complete their version of the Proust Questionnaire. They have posted my answers — which include recommendations for Memories of the Future by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky and Colony by Hugo Wilcken (more of which at … Continue reading

March 17, 2010
by Dan
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Interview at Books@Torontoist

I was recently interviewed by James Grainger, book columnist and author of The Long Slide, as part of the Books@Torontoist Litblog Spotlight series. Assuming that you don’t have anything better to do, you can read it here.

March 10, 2010
by Dan
1 Comment

Tales of the Unread

To commemorate the first year of The Second Pass website, editor John Williams asked a few readers to recommend their favorite out-of-print book and he very kindly (some might say charitably) asked me to contribute. I chose to write about … Continue reading

March 1, 2010
by Dan
0 comments

The Silver Lining Top 5

The nice folks at The Silver Lining blog — consistently one of my favourite blogs for vintage design goodness — were kind enough to ask me for a contribution to their ‘Top 5’ feature last month, and so, as of … Continue reading

January 27, 2010
by Dan
3 Comments

Under the Covers: Reviewing the Covers of 2009

Tonight is the BPPA‘s annual review of the best and worst book covers of the year. Sadly Alan Jones, Senior Designer at HarperCollins Canada, had to drop out at the last minute and is being replaced by Boy Wonder David … Continue reading

January 5, 2010
by Dan
5 Comments

Books of the Decade

Back in November, the chaps at The National Post asked me and a selection of eminently more qualified Canadian book types what we thought the most important publishing story of the past 10 years was. They ran the results at … Continue reading

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