Friday, March 30, 2012
From The New York Daily News here.
Have you ever wondered what the Mad Men characters read in their spare time when they are not drinking, smoking, eating red meat, having sex and, oh, yes, brainstorming advertising campaigns?
We took an informal poll of the people associated with Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and here are their reading selections from books published in that mad, mad year, 1966.
Of course these are really just my vodka gimlet-fueled imaginings.
Main mad man Don Draper (back for his fifth season on AMC this Sunday night) is intrigued by Norman Mailer’s “An American Dream.” Originally written on demand in monthly installments for Esquire magazine, the published novel tells the story of war hero and TV talk show host, Steven Rojack, and the nightmarish 24 hours that ensue after an argument leads to the murder of his drunken, shrewish wife. Call it the road not taken.
Silver-haired Roger Sterling, a man who has seen it all, finds it difficult to put down Roderick Thorp’s debut novel, “The Detective,” in which a Midwestern P.I. becomes involved in a case that lays bare big city corruption, sexual duplicity and marital infidelity in a fictional American metropolis. With his world-weary air, Roger could definitely moonlight as a gumshoe. (Fun fact: the book became a Frank Sinatra movie dud in 1968, but its sequel, “Nobody Lives Forever,” was the basis for 1988’s Bruce Willis mega-hit, “Die Hard”).
Betty Draper Francis, who’s finally had enough of Don’s endless infidelities, is mesmerized by Sue Kaufman’s proto-feminist novel, “Diary of a Mad Housewife,” because of her intense identification with the main character, a Manhattan wife and mother torn between a demanding husband who ignores her and a playwright lover who mentally abuses her. (The book was made into a memorable 1970 movie directed by Frank Perry.) Finally, Betty, here's someone who makes your life look good in comparison.
Precocious pre-teen Sally Draper is dutifully making her way through James Ramsey Ullman’s YA novel, “Banner in the Sky.”
But when Betty is out of the house, curious Sally sneaks a peak at her mother’s copies of Jacqueline Susann’s “Valley of the Dolls” and Harold Robbins’ “The Adventurers,” two steamy adult bestsellers from the golden age of 1960’s schlock. This is why flashlights and bedcovers were invented.
Peggy Olson has very adventurous tastes as befitting a young copywriter alive to what’s happening in the zeitgeist. Right now she is enjoying novels by two folk singers making their first forays into the world of fiction—Leonard Cohen’s “Beautiful Losers” and Richard Farina’s “Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me,” books that will end up as literary touchstones of the counterculture. All she needs is an espresso and bongo drums playing in the background.
Pete Campbell may be an ambitious conformist at heart, but there are occasional flashes of a different Pete, which is why he likes to indulge his literary wild side by reading Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s first book, “Hell’s Angels,” the gonzo journalist’s account of the year he spent riding with the notorious California motorcycle gang. Can’t you just picture Pete on a Harley with Trudy riding pillion?
Spending all day navigating the sexual politics of Sterling Cooper, the indispensible Joan Holloway Harris finds inspiration in “The Diary of Anais, Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934,” about the early years of the sexually liberated French writer and lover of American novelist Henry Miller. It’s her Midnight in Paris.
Living in America, English partner Lane Pryce likes to keep in touch with his roots across the pond. Since no author better represents his homeland than Graham Greene, Lane is currently engrossed in the author’s latest “entertainment,” “The Comedians,” which tells the story of an English expatriate hotel owner trying to survive amid the terror of Papa “Doc” Duvalier’s reign in Haiti. There but for the grace of God…
Founding partner Bert Cooper is a deep thinker. That’s why his spare time reading consists of the ultra-weighty “The Order of Things: An Archeology of Human Sciences” by the French philosopher and social theorist Michel Foucault, a history of thought by one of the founders of the Postmodernist movement. Take off your shoes and scratch your head. (Confession: I have no idea what this book is about.)
Account executive Ken Cosgrove has a literary bent (he sold a short story to the “Atlantic Monthly”), which explains why he is drawn to John Fowles’ “The Magus,” in which an Englishman falls under the spell of a wealthy intellectual on a Greek island and experiences several levels of reality when he falls in love with a beautiful woman who might be a ghost. Eat your heart out, Kenny.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll put some Esquivel on the hi-fi, pour myself a martini and settle in for the night with James Clavell’s “Tai-Pan.”
Of the books listed in this article...
Diary of a Mad Housewife (movie was good too)
The Comedians (also a good movie but Liz and Dick didn't make bad movies, in my opinion)
The Diary of Anais Nin (both volumes; note typo in article -- comma between "Anais" and "Nin")
I've never read and never will:
The Magus (tried it; not a fan of John Fowles although I did like The French Lieutenant's Woman)
Valley of the Dolls (ditto for the movie)
Anything by Harold Robbins. I read one book by him way back in the 70s and that was enough. Too much actually.
Beautiful Losers (I had no idea that Leonard Cohen also wrote novels!)
The Order of Things: An Archeology of Human Sciences
Banner in the Sky
Nobody Lives Forever
I want to read:
An American Dream (Mailer)
Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me (Farina)
The Detective (Thorp) -- and I disagree strongly with the author; the Frank Sinatra movie based on this novel was not "a dud," it was great...very campy and 60s
Photo credit: www.tvequals.com
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
As seen on Facebook. It made me laugh but who am I to laugh at footwear? Here's what I'm wearing at the moment.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
I'm this close to getting bees again. But the days roll by and I don't make the phone call to order a nuc* so maybe I don't really want a hive again. My hesitation is about the irrational worry that the bees will sting someone and cause a serious reaction.
But I like the look of the beehive in my backyard. I moved it about 5 feet farther away from my house (compared to the location of my previous hive). And it's facing slightly more away from the back of the house, more southeast, which is fine. But the hive entrance doesn't face a nice open area like my first hive -- I have to think of a name for that hive... I never understood why people named their hives but now I do.
Meanwhile, under our back porch are these bee holes and I don't know what kind of bees are using them. They are not yellow jackets but they might be miner bees. But they are larger than honeybees and I've read that miner bees are the size of honeybees. They aren't very aggressive but they buzz around just enough to let you know that they know you're on their turf. Harmless. But what are they? They move way too fast for me to get a picture. Last year they were gone by mid-summer I think.
*The term “nuc” is short for nucleus colony. A nucleus colony is just a very small colony of a few thousand bees and a queen.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Is this creepy? (Update with answer: No, but apparently Pam's getting too old & stupid to have a blog)
Yesterday I was googling around and I typed in "Russell Square London." I went to the Google map in the upper right corner, satellite view, and saw this. What's that plane doing there? It had to have been photoshopped in but why? And here's what's really creepy. I told a friend, who was at work, to check out the site and on her computer there was no plane.......
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Santorum crept along, low in the pack and then, bam! he got attention, it leveled off a bit, then bam!
I like to study charts like this. I see the purple inching toward the brown until, finally, they blend into a brownish-purplish blob in Tampa.
Monday, March 5, 2012
I have a few hardy hellebore (aka Lenten rose) plants, and one of them has what looks like a patch of seedlings -- see small plants in lower left of middle picture. I have a book on hellebores and I did some reading. Self-sown seedlings do happen sometimes. Not all hellebore plants will self-sow, but some do and they can be prolific. If your garden includes different colors, the colors will mix (thanks to bees and other pollinators) unpredictably, leading to muddy colors in the adult plants that grow from the seedlings. Or something like that. The book description of growing hellebores was complicated but very interesting; maybe I'll come back later and fill in the details.
My question: do these seedlings look like baby hellebores? I also had some pachysandra growing in that general area. Could it be that? I have my fingers crossed that it's a nice bunch o' babies from that nice big mother hellebore with the nice pink flowers. To be continued.
I have many wonderful friends who surprise me sometimes with very thoughtful gifts. Stephanie gave me this handy-dandy cheat sheet when, years ago, she and I grumbled that there were too many writers with the last name of Wilson or White and the first name of Edward or Edwin or the initial E. This weekend I had to add a new name: James Q. Wilson. I realize that he's not an Ed, but he belongs with this group because he wrote books very much like another on the list, Edward O. Wilson. James Q. died this weekend. I think of him every time I visit New York City because some people (me for example) give him some credit for the city becoming more habitable. (See link above.)
As Anne of The Complaint Department says: that is all. Carry on.