The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

December 7, 2016
by Dan
1 Comment

Notable YA Book Covers of 2016

Hot on the heels of my annual covers post, here is my look back at the year’s young adult book covers. As in previous years, this list is a somewhat crowd-sourced affair, so I must thank all the designers and Twitter-folk who … Continue reading

December 14, 2015
by Dan
3 Comments

52 YA Covers for 2015

As my 2014 post was such a hit, here is my second annual look at the past year’s young adult book covers. This isn’t my speciality, so this list is a lot more of a crowd-sourced effort than my very personal adult list. A special thank you to … Continue reading

May 31, 2015
by Dan
0 comments

Virago Modern Classics Daphne du Maurier

This summer UK publisher Virago is publishing two sets of Daphne du Maurier’s most famous titles with new and beautifully illustrated covers. According to editorial director Donna Coonan, du Maurier’s reputation has flourished in recent years. She is also an … Continue reading

April 20, 2015
by Dan
0 comments

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 13, 2015
by Dan
0 comments

There’s no one saying, “You can’t do this in a book for children.”

The New York Times profiles Julie Strauss-Gabel, the publisher of Dutton Children’s Books: She became publisher of Dutton in 2011, and right away, it was clear this was going to be a different sort of imprint. She whittled down the list … Continue reading

December 11, 2014
by Dan
3 Comments

50 YA Covers for 2014

Like all the best things on The Casual Optimist, this post started life as a conversation on Twitter. The topic this time was the under-representation of YA book designers in all these end of the year cover lists. YA covers are becoming more … Continue reading

June 23, 2014
by Dan
0 comments

Q & A with Matt Roeser, Candlewick Press

If you follow book design on social media at all, chances are you’ve come already across Matt Roeser‘s  funny, if somewhat dinosaur-fixated, Twitter feed. But over the past couple of years as senior designer at independent children’s publisher Candlewick Press in Massachusetts, Matt has been quietly producing some bright, brilliant, and … Continue reading

April 24, 2014
by Dan
1 Comment

Q & A with Erin Fitzsimmons

In recent years, I doubt there’s been a greater publishing success story than Young Adult — or ‘YA’ —  fiction. Sometimes mistakenly described as a genre, YA is actually an age-category roughly ascribed to books across a range of subjects and … Continue reading

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