The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

August 26, 2016
by Dan
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Will Evans: One-Man Publishing Show

The Rumpus interviews Will Evans the founder and publisher of Deep Vellum, an independent small press focused on works in translation based in Dallas, TX: I’m very new to this, and I’m most definitely an outsider. I don’t really know how … Continue reading

June 2, 2016
by Dan
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Monocle on Books in Translation

On the latest Monocle 24 Culture show, host Robert Bound discusses the recent rise in translated fiction with Anne Meadows, commissioning editor at Portobello and Granta, and Lisette Verhagen, foreign-rights agent at David Godwin Associates, while Andrew Mueller talks to Deborah Smith, Man Booker International Prize-winning … Continue reading

October 16, 2015
by Dan
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Deep Vellum Book Cover Design by Anna Zylicz

At the Toronto launch of John Freeman’s new anthology last night — encouragingly called ’10 Reasons to Not Shoot Yourself in the Face Over the State of Literature’ — Literary Hub‘s Jonny Diamond mentioned design as a reason to be optimistic about current state of publishing. … Continue reading

August 20, 2015
by Dan
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Europa Editions’ Small Objects of Desire

The New York Times T Magazine profiles Italian small press Europa Editions: Even if you haven’t heard of Europa Editions, you’ve probably heard of some of its hits. There’s Muriel Barbery’s “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” (more than a million copies … Continue reading

August 10, 2015
by Dan
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NYRB: Publishing Serious Literary Books

Larry Rohter profiles the New York Review Books, the publishing offshoot of the literary magazine The New York Review of Books, for the New York Times: “From the beginning, it was our intention to be resolutely eclectic, and build our … Continue reading

March 17, 2014
by Dan
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How Do Novels Get Translated?

A: Tiny Robots. Always. (Tom Gauld)

April 3, 2013
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Work / Life — An interview with the brilliant Louise Fili, designer and former art director of Pantheon Books, at The Great Discontent: Everybody wanted to use standard fonts, but I just wasn’t satisfied doing that. I didn’t realize this … Continue reading

May 23, 2012
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Krazy Kriticism — Sarah Boxer on George Herriman’s long-running newspaper comic strip Krazy Kat, at the LA Review of Books: [E]ven 95 years ago the truth was as loud and clear as a pair of clapping mitten rocks rising up … Continue reading

November 16, 2011
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Book Sniffing — Six writers on their book collecting habits, including Gary Shteyngart: I’m big on sniffing books. The old Soviet ones really have this strong smell, reminding me, for some reason, of tomato soup in a cheap Soviet cafeteria. Fear … Continue reading

November 3, 2011
by Dan
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Jay Rubin on Translating Murakami

In an interview for the New Yorker, Haruki Murakami’s longtime translator Jay Rubin talks about the work of the Japanese author (whose new book 1Q84 has just been published) and his own work as a translator: New Yorker Outloud: Translating Murakami mp3 … Continue reading

September 23, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Peirene Press is small independent publisher in the UK specializing in previously untranslated contemporary European novellas. Their most recent series of books, designed by Sacha Davison Lunt, has been short-listed for the 2011 British Book Design and Production Awards in … Continue reading

August 24, 2011
by Dan
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Is That a Fish in Your Ear?

In this lovely animated book trailer by Matt Young for Penguin UK, author David Bellos talks about words, language and his new book Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything: (via @alantrotter who produced the … Continue reading

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