Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bob Mankoff heralds "The New Yorker"'s new "Page-Turner" blog with a bevy of appropriately themed "New Yorker" cartoons


Interviews with writers are one of the things promised
for The New Yorker's new "Page-Turner" books blog

"If you were to boil your book down to a
few words, what would be its message?

by Ken

Last Tuesday The New Yorker inaugurated a new blog called "Page-Turner," blurbed as "Criticism, contention, and conversation about books that matter," and cartoon editor Bob Mankoff celebrated the blessed event in his newsletter-slash-blogpost last week, "The Great American Books Blog."

The blog in fact kicked off with a cartoon slide show curated by our Bob, "a selection of New Yorker cartoons about the literary life. The first actual books post followed: "What We're Reading: Tony Judt, Joan Didion, Hilary Mantel, and More," a superpost of "notes from the New Yorker staff on their literary engagements of the week" -- Dexter Filkins on Judt and Timothy Snyder's Thinking the Twentieth Century, Sarah Larson on Didion's out-of-print Miami (themed to a family vacation there), and Daniel Mendelsohn ("normally a one-book-at-a-time guy") doing a three-book parlay of Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies, Wesley Stace's Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer, and Rebecca West's Black Lamb and Gray Falcon.

As I write (on Monday; I planned this post for yesterday, but it gave way to my post remembering Robin Gibb), the most recent "Page-Turner" entry, posted by Maile Meloy, is "the first post in a series where we ask New Yorker writers what book they have revisited most often." Meloy muses on the phenomenon of rereading, or sometimes hearing audio-book versions of books already read, before settling on Maile Meloy the excellent, easy-to-understand choice of Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger, "the only book I've read three times (or more) on paper" ("It helped me understand what a story collection was, and should be"), with different sets of favorites each time.

"Did you ever have a blog that you just couldn’t put down?

"Well, you’ve got one now," he says. "Page-Turner," you'll recall, spotlights "the three C's" about "books that matter," and Bob, combing The New Yorker's cartoon archives, has come up with illustrations for all three:

"Criticism" [cartoon by William Hamilton, born 1939]
"Sorry, old man. Because of the weak imagery,
scanty plot, and pedestrian language in your latest,
we've turned your table over to Joyce Carol Oates.

"Contention" [cartoon by Bruce Eric Kaplan]
"I don't just want to write. I want to be in literary feuds."

"Conversation" [cartoon by Chon Day, 1907-2000]
"Which ten books would you have brought, if you'd known?"


. . . for "Page-Turner." There are also going to be:

"Staff recommendations" [cartoon by Harry Bliss]

"Updates from the publishing world" [cartoon by David Sipress]
"Great news! Your novel is in a medium-size pile in the middle of the floor about four feet from the left side of Oprah's assistant's desk."

And "interviews with writers," as illustrated by the cartoon by the great Edward Koren (born 1935) at the top of this post.

including a fiction podcast (which will nevertheless be checked for accuracy by The New Yorker's legendary fact-checking department) and photography (I actually don't know what's going to be in this section, although I'm told it may feature racy shots of books au naturel, without their dust jackets). Have I left anything out? Mais certainement, la spécialité de la maison -- les cartoons. But don't worry, Francophobes, they're not in French, and there's a slide show right here -- bet you can't view just one.

For notes on the cartoonists, I've consulted the "New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z" list-in-progress on New Yorker cartoonist Michael Maslin's website, a site frequently cited by Bob Mankoff as an invaluable resource. Here, by the way, is Maslin's own tale of his first New Yorker cartoon (in 1978), in Bob's "First Cartoon" series.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home