The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

May 24, 2015
by Dan
0 comments

Tim Parks on Where I’m Reading From

At BOMB Magazine, writer Tim Park discusses his new book Where I’m Reading From, a collection of his essays from the NYRB Blog, with Scott Esposito (co-author of The End of Oulipo): In a way, this book is an autobiography of someone brought … Continue reading

April 30, 2015
by Dan
1 Comment

Too Many Books

At the NYRB Blog, Tim Parks wonders if there are just too many books: Is there a relationship between the quantity of books available to us, the ease with which they can be written and published, and our reading experience? … Continue reading

December 4, 2013
by Dan
0 comments

Tim Parks: Life Transformed into a Series of Categories

Tim Parks on literature and bureaucracy for the New York Review of Books blog: So could it be—and this is the question I really want to ask—that however much literature may appear to be opposed to bureaucracy and procrastination, it … Continue reading

June 13, 2013
by Dan
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Tim Parks: The Romance of Train Stations

Taken from his new book, Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo, Tim Parks considers the emotional drama of the Italian train station: The train station is the ideal scenario for greetings and farewells. The car is … Continue reading

August 15, 2012
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Drawing for a Living — A 1994 interview with the late, great Joe Kubert, who died earlier this week aged 85, at The Comics Journal: Doing comics was usually not a matter of choice, for most artists. I guess they … Continue reading

March 28, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

Midweek Miscellany

“Everybody Thinks Their an Auteur” — Film director and critic Peter Bogdanovich at New York Daily News book blog Page Views: Auteurism today? Well, everybody thinks they’re an auteur. But nobody seems to understand what the whole auteur thing was. … Continue reading

March 16, 2012
by Dan
1 Comment

Something for the Weekend

Tim Maughan on the influence of  the Jean Giraud on science fiction for Tor.com: [The] combination of neon-lit noir streets, cramped towering city blocks, airborne traffic jams and scruffy characters seems almost a cliche today. But this was the first … Continue reading

March 5, 2012
by Dan
1 Comment

Monday Miscellany

It is all hands to the pump at The Optimist HQ right now (meetings, deadlines, house maintenance, and vomit-propelled kids), but apologies for the missing links on Friday. Here’s a very quick Monday round-up to make up for it: Designer Stuart … Continue reading

February 15, 2012
by Dan
2 Comments

E-Books Can’t Burn

Author Tim Parks has an interesting post on the virtues of e-books on the NYRB blog: The e-book, by eliminating all variations in the appearance and weight of the material object we hold in our hand and by discouraging anything … Continue reading

January 20, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

Adrift in the World — Tim Parks on fiction and place for the NYRB Blog: If there is a problem with the novel, and I’m agreed with [David] Shields that there is, it is not because it doesn’t participate in … Continue reading

June 22, 2011
by Dan
3 Comments

Midweek Miscellany

There’s been much speculation online about who designed the wonderful hand-drawn cover for Big Machine by Victor LaValle (pictured above). Thanks to the nice folks at UK publisher No Exit, I can finally identify the designer as Lynn Buckley, who originally designed … Continue reading

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