|The brilliant book I borrowed, but still must own!|
Okay, so yeah, I didn't have ENOUGH to do, apparently ... or rather, I had SO much to do I desperately needed to take a mental break, and do something different, like read a great book.
Reading a great book that was brief (about 36k by Mankoff's admission) and that also made me laugh (which is good for the health!) made the absolute best of a squishy-time-situation.
I borrowed How About Never, Is Never Good For You? from the library because I had waited far too long to purchase it. I'd found out it existed sometime last fall and I really just wanted to finally read it already. I knew that putting myself in the unseemly position of having to read a book on a deadline (because I'd have to return it) was crazy -- in light of me having about 20 books that I already owned all piled around the house for me to read -- but I SO wanted to know what Mankoff had to say!
So I went and borowed it anyway -- and I LOVE THIS BOOK! I still have to buy it. I just love this book.
And I for one, am not a person who is afraid to Laugh Out Loud when I'm home by myself and reading something funny (or even in a coffee shop surrounded by strangers -- though I'm less likely to guffaw or allow myself to fall out of my chair then!).
Why do I love this book? Well, it goes beyond the whole I'm a fan of The New Yorker cartoon in general and of their many-faceted hilarious weirdnesses ... and it goes beyond the "I so wish I could cartoon this way but I'm not even going to try!" I'm not going to try because I KNOW it takes everything to make them funny and make them work. The writing and art of it is such an artform (YEAH, I SAID THAT) -- that the making of them deserves the cartoonist's absolute focus.
I love it because Bob Mankoff's sheer obsession is inspiring!
I mean, here's a guy who dedicates the book to all The New Yorker cartoonists -- past. present and future -- and even leaves blank lines for hopefuls to fill in their names because they may be included in future printings!! How great is that?
Tangentally it reminds me of what I love about the documentaries "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" or "Bill Cunningham New York" -- it's the absolute devotion to the development of one's craft and vocation.
We get to know Mr. Mankoff's background, his obsession with the history of The New Yorker cartoon -- which helped not only drive his development as a TNYer cartoonist but also equipped him to become their Cartoon Editor -- and he even gives you pointers on what makes a New Yorker cartoon what it is (to put it super-simply), and how to give their Caption Contest the best go.
Any serious cartoonist of any genre would do themselves a huge favor by owning this book.