10 ‘Mad Men’ books to keep you going until 2012
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Tuesday’s news that AMC’s hit show, ‘Mad Men,’ won’t be back until 2012 was devastating to many; viewers have so many unanswered questions: Does Don marry his secretary? Will the new dress code include miniskirts and bell-bottoms? Will Sally run away to Woodstock?
Current contract disputes have also delayed the publication of a Benedikt Taschen-Matt Weiner collaboration on a behind-the-scenes guide in Taschen’s sleek XL edition style. The book was tentatively scheduled for a fall release date.
In the meantime, as fans wait, here’s a list of ‘Mad Men’-related books that hopefully will take care of their withdrawals for at least a few months.
1. ‘Mad Men (Reading Contemporary Television),’ by Gary R. Edgerton (I. B. Tauris): a collection of essays and analytical observations by television scholars on the effect of the show on popular culture.
2. ‘The Ultimate Guide to ‘Mad Men’: The Guardian Companion to the Slickest Show on Television,’ by Will Dean (Random House UK): For those not initiated into Don Draper’s world, this episode-by-episode guide covers through Season 3 and includes interviews with the show’s creators and stars.
3. ‘Analyzing ‘Mad Men’: Critical Essays on the Series,’ by Scott F. Stoddart (McFarland) (forthcoming in July): Here are 12 critical essays that offer a scholarly and psychoanalytical approach to the relevance of the show with parallels to contemporary issues such as consumerism, capitalism and sexism.
4. ‘Mid-Century Ads: Advertisements from the ‘Mad Men’ Era,’ by Steven Heller, Jim Heimann (Taschen) (forthcoming in the fall): The authors present 800 color pages of American print advertising from the 1950s and 1960s that give insight into the industry and campaigns on which the show and its storylines are based, including Lucky Strike, Honda and Jantzen.
5. ‘Mad Men’s Manhattan,’ by Mark Bernardo (Roaring Forties Press): A guide to New York City taverns, restaurants, hotels and other locations that inspired memorable scenes.
6. ‘ ‘Mad Men’ Unbuttoned: A Romp through 1960s America,’ by Natasha Vargas-Cooper (Harper Design): A historical look at the news and artifacts of the time period in which ‘Man Men’ takes place. The book is filled with trivia, a profile of real-life ad man Leo Burnett and events and people linked to episodes, including skinny ties, ‘Think Small’ Volkswagen ad campaign, John Cheever and Jackie Kennedy’s White House tour on CBS.
Which Nobel Prizewinner makes the list? He’s after the jump at No. 7.
7. ‘The Sound and the Fury’ by William Faulkner (Vintage): Joy, one of Don’s conquests in Season 2 (he hooks up with her in Palm Springs), is seen reading this classic novel about a Southern family in turmoil after one of their romps. ‘Is it good?’ Don asks. She replies that the sex was good, the book ... just OK. 8. ‘The Unofficial ‘Mad Men’ Cookbook,’ by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin (Smart Pop): A guide and recipes to the food and drinks inspired by and featured in the show, from Sterling Cooper power lunches to Baked Alaska and Betty’s ‘Around the World Dinner.’ (To be published in December)
9. ‘The Group’ by Mary McCarthy (Mariner Books): Viewers can briefly catch Betty reading this book in the tub in Season 3. Considered an early feminist novel with its forward-thinking views on love, sex and marriage, the story centers around a group of upwardly mobile New York society women who attended Vassar College.
10. ‘Meditations in an Emergency,’ by Frank O’Hara (Grove Press): This collection of O’Hara’s poems, first published in 1957, plays a prominent role in episode 13 and one of my favorite montage scenes from Season Two.
In celebration poetry month in April, here’s an excerpt:
Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.
The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funny
not just darker, not just grey.
It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.
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-- Liesl Bradner