Reading ‘Mad Men’ — Mom’s Edition

The Daily Mirror HQ is not equipped to receive “Mad Men,” so the TV sensation is lost on us. However, several “Mad Men” reading lists are floating around the Web for possible inclusion on your Zombie Reading List:

The New York Public Library’s “Mad Men” Reading List

The Los Angeles Public Library’s “Mad Men” Reading List

Here are some titles that I recall from my mother’s pile of books in the “Mad Men” era. My mother was a fast and insatiable reader – and I was too young then to remember everything, especially all the books she got from the library – but  these are ones we had around the house.

“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,”  (1952) by Shepherd Mead.

“Catcher in the Rye,” (1951) by J.D. Salinger.

“Hawaii,” (1959) by James Michener. Everybody was reading this book when it came out.

“Inside U.S.A.,” (1947) by John Gunther. This is from the 1940s, but everybody seemed to have one, usually next to a beat-up copy of “The Bluejackets’ Manual.”

“The Second Sex,” (1953) by Simone De Beauvoir.

“From Here to Eternity,” (1951) by James Jones.

“The Caine Mutiny,” (1951) by Herman Wouk.

Also from my mom’s bookshelves: “Kon-Tiki,” (1951) by Thor Heyerdahl; “The Sea Around Us,” (1952) by Rachel Carson; “The Magic Lantern,” (1953) by Robert Carson; “Not as a Stranger,” (1954) by Morton Thompson; “Why Johnny Can’t Read,” (1955) Rudolf Flesch (my mother’s possession of this book always baffled me because I read avidly from an early age); “Profiles in Courage,” (1956) by John F. Kennedy; “The Hidden Persuaders,” (1957) by Vance Packard; “The Winthrop Woman,” 1958, by Anya Seton — a book I never examined.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Books and Authors, Film, Libraries, Television and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Reading ‘Mad Men’ — Mom’s Edition

  1. dewey webb says:

    Maybe a tad early for Mad Men era but the “[Fill-in-the-blank] Confidential” series (Chicago, New York, Washington) by Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer were a paperback rack staple well into the late Fifties–sort of a low-life Frommer’s Guide chockful o’ inside dirt like names of maitre d’s at top restaurants, backstage phone numbers of burlesque houses, where to score after-hours booze, lists of local bookies,madams and other invaluable tourist tips.

    Too bad they never got around to L.A.


    • Eve says:

      Omigod, those “Confidential” books are a scream–several screams! Guides to where you can gaze upon Negroes, and fairies, and Chinamen . . .


  2. Eve says:

    And don’t forget “The Best of Everything!”


  3. Earl Boebert says:

    I expect this thread to explode 🙂 so I’ll try and get mine in early. “The Ninth Wave,” by Eugene Burdick. Besides being a great treatment of politics in general and California politics in particular, the descriptions of Stanford and driving the Grapevine are bang on. Also “The True Believer” by Eric Hoffer, still relevant. As a kid I used to haunt the San Francisco waterfront in hopes of bumping into him on the way to or from work, which I did a couple of times. Amazing guy.




  4. What? No Peyton Place?


  5. ‘Psycho-Cybernetics’, written by Maxwell Maltz.


  6. My mom seemed to have two or three books going most of the time. I remember The Last Hurrah, Don’t Go Near the Water, Fail Safe, Seven Days in May, Compusion and On The Beach being on our book shelf like forever and Mom carrying around whatever the latest Ross or John D. MacDonald happened to be.


  7. Dick Morris says:

    We visited the library frequently and my parents raised a family of readers. Mom’s favorites were Earl Stanley Gardner, A.A. Fair, an E.S.G. pen name, and murder mysteries in general.


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