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How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons (2014)

por Bob Mankoff

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
22214119,865 (4.01)15
"Memoir in cartoons by the longtime cartoon editor of The New YorkerPeople tell Bob Mankoff that as the cartoon editor of The New Yorker he has the best job in the world. Never one to beat around the bush, he explains to us, in the opening of this singular, delightfully eccentric book, that because he is also a cartoonist at the magazine he actually has two of the best jobs in the world. With the help of myriad images and his funniest, most beloved cartoons, he traces his love of the craft all the way back to his childhood, when he started doing funny drawings at the age of eight. After meeting his mother, we follow his unlikely stints as a high-school basketball star, draft dodger, and sociology grad student. Though Mankoff abandoned the study of psychology in the seventies to become a cartoonist, he recently realized that the field he abandoned could help him better understand the field he was in, and here he takes up the psychology of cartooning, analyzing why some cartoons make us laugh and others don't. He allows us into the hallowed halls of The New Yorker to show us the soup-to-nuts process of cartoon creation, giving us a detailed look not only at his own work, but that of the other talented cartoonists who keep us laughing week after week. For desert, he reveals the secrets to winning the magazine's caption contest. Throughout, we see his commitment to the motto "Anything worth saying is worth saying funny." "-- "The New Yorker has published over 75,000 cartoons since its founding, and 95% of them were done by only a few hundred cartoonists. For decades now, Mankoff has been at the center of this talented group of artists. He starts his story at age eight, when he started doing funny drawings, and follows his unlikely stints as a high school basketball star, draft dodger, and sociology grad student--all the while turning out cartoon after cartoon. We see his unwavering determination to have The New Yorker publish his work ("After two years of submitting all I had to show for it were enough New Yorker rejection slips to wallpaper my bathroom . . .I kept at it. I had other rooms that needed wallpaper"), the lucky breaks he finally gets at the magazine, and his most popular cartoons (the one that lends this book its title earned him a spot in The Yale Book of Quotations). A story about making a career out of your passion, How About Never is also about why some cartoons make us laugh and others don't, and why it's so damn impossible to win the New Yorker caption contest"--… (mais)
  1. 00
    My Mistake por Daniel Menaker (DetailMuse)
    DetailMuse: Both are memoirs about working at The New Yorker Magazine in the late 20th Century -- Mankoff's is about cartooning and creativity, Menaker's is about writing/editing with more about his personal life.
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Of course I reserved this book in order to see my old favorite New Yorker cartoons ("On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog", "Lassie, get help! and the captionless picture of the legless frog pulling himself out of the restaurant kitchen) and to perhaps glean a fact or two. But to my surprise, I devoured the entire book! Mr. Mankoff not only has an illustrious cartooning career, he found a way to share the with all of his with his creation of the Cartoon Bank, and as the current cartoon editor of the New Yorker. Not only that, but he writes with a truly engaging and captive style. Kudos...A real pleasure! ( )
  schoenbc70 | Sep 2, 2023 |
My life waiting for Halloween Book Bingo to begin has been frustrating. I’m in the tail end of a weird book slump that feels like it’s lasted forever (over a year to be sure), and my recovery still feels precarious, like it could go either way. Because of this, I’m not doing any pre-planning for Bingo, but I still know there are a few books I’m waiting to read that will fit, so I’m trying to hold off.

Last night, I was sooo bored with this plan that I almost scrapped HB all together and just started in on the small stack I’m trying to wait on, and in a last ditch effort to find something else on my TBR to hold my attention, I found How About Never? Is Never Good for You? on a very small outlier of my TBR pile. I’d forgotten all about it, and honestly can’t remember where I bought it, only that I did so because I like most of the New Yorker’s cartoons, and I’d read Mary Norris’ Between You and Me which I thoroughly enjoyed, leaving me with a positive feeling about the staff’s extracurricular writing.

How About Never? Is Never Good for You? turned out to be a very engaging, and very fast read. I knew nothing about Bob Mankoff before reading it and therefore had no expectations. The subtitle is My Life in Cartoons which is a nice double play on words, as this memoir covers almost exclusively his career as a cartoonist and cartoon editor for The New Yorker, and the book is liberally sprinkled with cartoons, both his and others’ works, which is, along with the engaging writing, the reason the read goes so fast.

He discusses the rise of the periodical cartoon as an art form, the genesis of The New Yorker’s cartoons, the process by which the magazine chooses the cartoons each week, and the advent of, and the fiendish difficulty of, the “add a caption” contest and how not to win it. And he does it all with a charming brevity that is just long enough to be interesting and just thorough enough that the reader gets something out of it.

All in all, it turned out to be a delightful way to kill 3 hours or so last night. ( )
  murderbydeath | Feb 10, 2022 |
An amusing set of essays by Bob Mankoff, cartoonist and cartoon editor for the New Yorker. There's a chapter or two of biography, but primarily this is a lot of cartoons, Mankoff's thoughts on what makes cartoons work, and several chapters on the cartoon caption contest. This last part raises an interesting blindspot. He documents how every week what strikes him as most funny is not what strikes his assistant and his boss as most funny. Yet, when he gives 10 randomly selected entries for one contest, the two that made me laugh, he lists as "just plain bad" and "what we around the office call 'craptions'." What he liked best and eventually chose were at the bottom of my list. There's no surprise here. Unlike Mankoff, I am not a cartoonist, nor have I had to review hundreds of cartoons every week for decades. That readers with a very different prior history with cartoons would respond differently is no surprise. Perhaps the fact that Mankoff does not see this is what enables him to function as an editor.

Warning: the text in a number of the cartoons in the trade paper edition require a strong magnifying class.

Recommend for lovers of the New Yorker cartoons. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Jan 1, 2018 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
Funny, light, fast read with a lot of fun details from his time at the New Yorker. I enjoyed all the content about cartoonists, humor, and comedy, as well as the reflections offered on his life. I spent my childhood swiping my parents' copies of the New Yorker mag so that I could read (or often, puzzle over) the cartoons, so I suppose it fits that I'd enjoy this volume so much. ( )
  heavyleg | Oct 4, 2017 |
A light, easy read packed with lots of cartoons from the New Yorker magazine, as Bob Mankoff reviews his life as a cartoonist, and then as Comics Editor of New Yorker magazine. Funny, and a fascinating look at what makes things funny by someone who has obviously given it a lot of thought. Not so much a personal memoir as a professional one. ( )
  heidialice | Jan 9, 2016 |
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"Memoir in cartoons by the longtime cartoon editor of The New YorkerPeople tell Bob Mankoff that as the cartoon editor of The New Yorker he has the best job in the world. Never one to beat around the bush, he explains to us, in the opening of this singular, delightfully eccentric book, that because he is also a cartoonist at the magazine he actually has two of the best jobs in the world. With the help of myriad images and his funniest, most beloved cartoons, he traces his love of the craft all the way back to his childhood, when he started doing funny drawings at the age of eight. After meeting his mother, we follow his unlikely stints as a high-school basketball star, draft dodger, and sociology grad student. Though Mankoff abandoned the study of psychology in the seventies to become a cartoonist, he recently realized that the field he abandoned could help him better understand the field he was in, and here he takes up the psychology of cartooning, analyzing why some cartoons make us laugh and others don't. He allows us into the hallowed halls of The New Yorker to show us the soup-to-nuts process of cartoon creation, giving us a detailed look not only at his own work, but that of the other talented cartoonists who keep us laughing week after week. For desert, he reveals the secrets to winning the magazine's caption contest. Throughout, we see his commitment to the motto "Anything worth saying is worth saying funny." "-- "The New Yorker has published over 75,000 cartoons since its founding, and 95% of them were done by only a few hundred cartoonists. For decades now, Mankoff has been at the center of this talented group of artists. He starts his story at age eight, when he started doing funny drawings, and follows his unlikely stints as a high school basketball star, draft dodger, and sociology grad student--all the while turning out cartoon after cartoon. We see his unwavering determination to have The New Yorker publish his work ("After two years of submitting all I had to show for it were enough New Yorker rejection slips to wallpaper my bathroom . . .I kept at it. I had other rooms that needed wallpaper"), the lucky breaks he finally gets at the magazine, and his most popular cartoons (the one that lends this book its title earned him a spot in The Yale Book of Quotations). A story about making a career out of your passion, How About Never is also about why some cartoons make us laugh and others don't, and why it's so damn impossible to win the New Yorker caption contest"--

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