Perhaps most of all, Mr. Angell — like Updike and White — is a prime noticer: a sharp-eyed collector of details, gathered over the course of nearly 10 decades, and dispensed here, with artistry and élan, in these jottings from a long and writerly life.
The pieces in This Old Man range from literary criticism to baseball writing to first-person essays to light verse and personal correspondence. The collection suffers slightly from an editorial penchant for over-inclusion. Fewer comic haikus and personal letters would have made for a slimmer, more consistently engaging volume. But the best pieces are very good indeed.
He may be old — ancient even — but his voice on the page is still as nimble and strong as that of the kid who talked his way into LaGuardia's office. As Angell tells it straight, it's not much of a pleasure to be very old, but it is a great pleasure to spend time in the company of This Old Man.