The revised Mad Men Reading List is now availble here.
If you follow The Battery Park City Library on Twitter then you've seen our tweets linking to books that have appeared in the hit television show Mad Men. These titles are a great way to gain insight into the episodes and the social and cultural times in which the series is set. Like the set and costume design, the literary choices of the show really add a stamp of authenticity. Dipping into these classics is also a great way to help with withdrawals while waiting for new episodes to air.
Some of the titles are featured prominently in the series and others are mentioned in passing. Remember the book Sally read with her grandfather at bedtime? The book on Japanese culture the agency was told to read? The scandalous book the ladies passed between each other in secret? You can find all these and more! Search #MadMen #Reading on Twitter to stay up-to-date. Older tweets might temporarily be unavailable.
Also included at the end of the list is a "You might also like" section of related books and movies.
Do you have any favorite Mad Men books or literary quotes from the show? Please share!
For those of you who are not on Twitter here is the current book list:
Meditations in an Emergency - Frank O’Hara
The Best of Everything - Rona Jaffe
Confessions of an Advertising Man - David Ogilvy
Babylon Revisited and Other Stories - F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Chrysanthemum and the Sword - Ruth Benedict
Exodus - Leon Uris
Ship of Fools - Katherine Ann Porter
Lady Chatterley's Lover - D.H. Lawrence
The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
The Agony and the Ecstasy - Irving Stone
The Group - Mary Mccarthy
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Edward Gibbon
You might also like:
From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor - Jerry Della Femina
Advertising in America: The First 200 Years - Charles Goodrum and Helen Dalrymple
Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates (also check out this great post).
Revolutionary Road - DVD
The 1960s - John Peacock
The Male Mystique: Men's magazine Ads of the 1960s and '70s - Jacques Boyreau
A Double Scotch: How Chivas Regal and the Glenlivet Became Global Icons - F. Paul Pacult
Bye Bye Birdie - DVD
Furniture & Interiors of the 1960s - Anne Bony
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit - Sloane Wilson
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit - DVD
Producing Fashion: Commerce, Culture, and Consumers - edited by Regina Lee Blaszczyk
Pour yourself a scotch and enjoy!
Update: 9/19/10 episode: The Clue of the Black Keys - Carolyn Keene
9/22/10 update to "You might also like": The John Cheever short story "The Swimmer," and the movie based on the same, especially in relation to season 4 episode 8 (4.8), "The Summer Man."
10/1/10 update: I am rewatching everything with audio commentary. In the pilot episode Peggy is seen reading an "It's Your Wedding Night" pamphlet in her doctor's office. The subtitles of the publication: "What Every Bride Should Know" and "How to be a Good Wife." The episode takes place in March 1960.
10/1/10 update #2: Rosemarie DeWitt, who plays Midge Daniels in the first season, mentions in the audio commentary that Matt Weiner suggested she read Memoirs of a Beatnik by Diane di Prima.
10/2/10 update to "You might also like": three films from 1960: From the Terrace, The Apartment, Strangers When We Meet
10/3/10 update: What does Don Draper read at work? Here are some of the spot on period and subject titles that have appeared on the shelf behind his desk:
The Hidden Persuaders - Vance Packard
The Lonely Crowd - David Riesman
The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America - David Boorstin
The Hucksters - Frederick Wakeman
10/4/10 update: In the 10/3/10 episode "Chinese Wall" (4.11) the book Meeting with Japan by Fosco Maraini is seen on the bookshelf behind Peggy's bed. The book Faye is reading while waiting in Don's apartment is Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships by Eric Berne.
10/12/10 update: Literary references in the 10/10/10 episode “Blowing Smoke” (4.12) : Dylan Thomas and Brendan Behan.
10/18/10 update: In the season four finale "Tomorrowland" (4.13) Don is reading John Le Carré's The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
10/20/10 update: Literary references: "Our worst fears lie in anticipation." - Balzac. The actual quote is "Our worst misfortunes never happen, and most miseries lie in anticipation." The line was used in two episodes in season 3. In "Out of Town" (3.1), when Salvatore Romano is speaking to the executives at London Fog he says "Our worst fears lie in anticipation. That's not me. That's Balzac." Don repeats the same line to another expecting father in the hospital waiting room in "The Fog" (3.5). The other father replies, "Are you so sure about that?"
Also in "Out of Town": Lane Pryce: "There is no fog in London. There is no London fog." Bert Cooper: "Are you sure about that?" Lane: "Quite. There never was. It was the coal dust from the industrial era. Charles Dickens and whatnot."
10/20/10 update #2: anachronism: The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary is shown behind Lane Pryce's desk in "Love Among the Ruins" (3.2). The Compact Edition wasn't published until 1971 and the 3-volume set shown wasn't published until 1987.
10/23/10 update: "Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency" (3.6): The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
/ Mark Twain. Lane Pryce says he has been reading a lot of American literature, Tom Sawyer, and feels like he just went to his own funeral and didn't like the eulogy. Earlier in the same episode Powell mentions Agatha Christie
In the episode "Seven Twenty Three" (3.7) Peggy says that her mother gave her Conrad Hilton's book. This is likely Hilton's Be My Guest,
which was released in 1958. Hilton's Inspirations of an Innkeeper
was released in 1963 and though this episode takes place July 20-23, 1963, Inspirations of an Innkeeper
was printed in a limited edition of 312 copies so it is unlikely that Peggy's mom would have given her a copy of that book.
In the episode "The Color Blue" (3.10) when Betty finds Don's box of secrets, some of the books on the shelf behind her include: Helping Yourself with Psychiatry by Frank Caprio, Set Theory and Logic by Robert Stoll, Meeting with Japan by Fosco Maraini (also seen on Peggy's shelf in 4.11!) and (anachronism alert) a compilation of the first three books in The Corps series by W.E.B Griffin. The first book in the series, Semper Fi, was published in 1986. This compilation shown was published in 1994.
10/25/10 update: Literary reference in the episode "Ladies Room" (1.2): Midge says to Don, "It's 7:30. I have to go to Roy's reading. I have to be there to act surprised when Jack Kerouac
12/22/11 update: In a promotional still for the episode "Tomorrowland" (4.13) Henry Francis is shown reading Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
, illustrated by Jo Polseno.
1/10/12 update: In a promotional still for the episode "The Chrysanthemum And The Sword" (4.5) Carla is shown reading Vivian L. Thompson
's The Horse That Liked Sandwiches
1/19/12 update: William Pène Du Bois meets F. Scott Fitzgerald, or a Mad Men Mystery solved: The Twenty-One Balloons.
1/21/12 update: In this scene from the season four finale "Tomorrowland" (4.13) Don Draper breaks the news to Faye Miller that he is engaged to his secretary Megan. There are four books on Don's shelf but only one of them is right side up. Would this be intentional? A way to say that book is more important to Don? Or was it done to make the viewers take note? Incidentally one of the upside down books, the second from the left, is Stuart Cloete's Gazella
from 1958. The first book on the left is the only one that is right side up: 1963's You Are Not the Target
, by Laura Archera Huxley
book's subtitle is A Practical Manual of How to Cope With a World of Bewildering Change
and it offers 33 "recipes" for "how to cope with stress, anxiety, competition, and the uncertainty of the times without going to pieces mentally or physically." It is only appropriate that this book is on Don Draper's bookshelf.
1/22/12 update: In the episode "A Night to Remember" (2.8) Peggy visits her sister and gives her a copy of C. S. Forester's Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies
that she got from the library for her brother-in-law, saying "I checked out the next Horatio Hornblower for him. I was right. There is only one book about Moby Dick." Her sister replies with exasperation, "Him with the books!" and tosses it on the table.