The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

August 22, 2016
by Dan
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Bookworm: Tom McCarthy on Satin Island

Author Tom McCarthy talks to Bookworm about his latest novel Satin Island: KCRW Bookworm: Tom McCarthy on Satin Island mp3 The rather splendid cover for the US paperback edition published earlier this year by Vintage (pictured above) was designed by John … Continue reading

September 23, 2015
by Dan
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At the Bookbinders

The London Review Bookshop visit Shepherds bookbinders in London to watch them put together a special limited edition of Tom McCarthy’s Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel Satin Island (yours for only £185):

January 8, 2015
by Dan
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Front Row: The Art of Book Cover Design

BBC Radio 4’s Front Row talks to Suzanne Dean, creative director at Random House UK, about the art of book cover design. Dean, who was very publicly thanked by Julian Barnes for her work on his book The Sense of … Continue reading

March 21, 2012
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

The Forger — Tom McCarthy (whose novel Men in Space has finally been published by Vintage in the US) at Interview Magazine. People in Business — An interview with Dennis Johnson, publisher of Melville House, at The Economist: I think it’s very … Continue reading

November 25, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Jacob Covey’s stunning cover for Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1943-1945 due in March 2012 from Fantagraphics. Anxiety and Time — Adam Roberts, author of By Light Alone, on science fiction at The Browser: The common belief that SF is … Continue reading

November 2, 2011
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

On Record — Rick Poynor at Design Obsever waxes all lyrical about Continuum’s 33 1/3 music series: The best 33 1/3 titles… have an urgent personal mission, even obsession, and they tunnel deep down into an album’s defining moment and milieu: … Continue reading

September 21, 2011
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

A short interview with Tom McCarthy, author of Remainder and C, in The Guardian. Heart of Darkness — William Deresiewicz on Harold Bloom and his new book The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life: I started to develop the Heart of … Continue reading

September 9, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

The Technological Sublime — Rick Poyner on the science fiction artist Chris Foss and Hardware, a new book collecting his work, at Design Observer: These visionary images have a stillness, a control of atmosphere and a mood of mystery and wonder, … Continue reading

August 12, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

John Gall’s new cover for the paperback edition of C by Tom McCarthy. It can’t have been easy following this monster of cover. NPR listeners pick their 100 favourite science fiction and fantasy books. On first glance, it looks like a … Continue reading

June 24, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

An interview with Toronto based lettering designer Ian Brignell at The Case and Point: I’m influenced by just about everything, but I especially like the work that was done on packages from the 19th and early 20th century. I also … 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
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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

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