Book Review: How About Never?

“How About Never? Is Never Good For You? My Life In Cartoons” – a book review

Bob Mankoff, the The New Yorker’s cartoon editor since 1997, has written a new book with a title inspired by his own most popular cartoon: “How About Never? Is Never Good For You? My Life In Cartoons.”

How about neverIt’s part memoir, part cartooning how-to, part (dishy!) behind-the-scenes look at the magazine, and 100% fun.

Mankoff not only shares the story of his own life and cartooning career, but throws in a concise and illuminating history of cartooning itself, with a special focus on the evolution of the “New Yorker“ cartoon. (During the Tina Brown era? Sex cartoons were in! During the William Shawn era? Not so much.)

We get a nuts-and-bolts look at what makes a cartoon work, with “do” and “don’t” examples from popular “New Yorker” cartoonists. Plus a wealth of sound advice for any creative person. “To get good ideas in any field,” Mankoff suggests, “the best method is to generate lots of ideas and throw out the bad ones.”

In “How About Never?” he shows us the editorial process used to select the 17 cartoons that appear in each issue. He even includes tips for winning the Caption Contest! (With entertaining examples of submitted captions, both inspired and abysmal.)

There’s a laugh on just about every page, including terrific ‘toons by Mankoff himself, as well as other “New Yorker” pros, both old-timers and up-and-comers. James Thurber! Roz Chast! Liza Donnelly! Sam Gross!

What’s not to love? Once you’ve picked “How About Never?” up, when will you want to stop reading this gem? The answer should be obvious.

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Roz Warren
Roz Warren Roz is the author of Our Bodies, Our Shelves: A Collection Of Library Humor. She writes for The New York Times and The Funny Times. Her work also appears in Good Housekeeping, The Christian Science Monitor, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Humor Times. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter or visit her website.
  • bethannchiles

    Looks like a great book to pick up! I will have to check it out and see if our library has it. Always looking for new reads so thank you!

    • rozwarren

      You’re welcome. I got my copy from the library where I work. (Right now there are 8 holds on this title.)

  • Darlene Fadem

    Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll have to go check it out.

  • SharonGreenthal

    I saw him on 60 Minutes a while back and I thought I’d get his book – thanks for the reminder!

  • Valerie Rind

    Thanks Roz, it looks like a great book! I grew up reading The New Yorker cartoons and even understood most of them. The humor worked because it was so uncomplicated.

  • Helene Bludman

    I would definitely enjoy this book. I’m a longtime New Yorker cartoon fan.

  • Kathy

    Definitely would enjoy this book. Put it on my reading list. Thanks for sharing

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