It’s a Mad, Mad World

This past Sunday the fourth season of “Mad Men” premiered. (Don’t worry, I won’t reveal any spoilers.) As I anticipated the debut of the newest season I recalled my initial reluctance to watch the series. Friends and library users kept recommending this series to me, but I was hesitant. I kept fighting the sleek, mysterious packaging until I ran out of Columbo episodes.

I took home the first season with little expectation and turned the pilot on while I was busy folding laundry. The second I laid eyes on Don Draper, I was hooked. And I wasn’t the only one. My husband was addicted from the first episode. Draper’s deep, resonating voice could persuade anyone into buying anything…even Lucky Strikes (his ad agency’s biggest client)!

I enjoy the time period (1960s in Manhattan) more than I thought I would. The clothes, the hair, the technology (or lack thereof)…it’s all great fun to observe. I am certainly glad that I am a working woman in the twenty-first century, though.

As a librarian, I often invent a theme book for a person. It’s just a little game I like to play. Sort of like Steve Carell and Tina Fey’s “What’s Their Story?” game in Date Night. I like to picture the advertising experts and copy writers with an essential book that defines who they are and what they stand for. So play along with me.

Here’s what I imagine the characters of Sterling Cooper recommending:

Don Draper: What better role model for Don than Bruce Wayne. Wayne always kept his work life like Batman a secret from his personal persona. Draper and Wayne share similar upbringings and methods of stealth.

Betty Draper: With all of the ups and downs Betty has had with Don, I bet she keeps How To Know If It’s Time To Go: A 10-Step Reality Test For Your Marriage in her bedside table. Betty would have been elated if these kind of resources were available to her in her day.

Roger Sterling: A man of many vices. It’s hard to tell which Sterling prefers: liquor or cigarettes. The Essential Cocktail is a dictionary of drinks where the variety never ends. I bet Sterling even invented some of these during his office lunches!

Bert Cooper: He makes you take your shoes off before you enter his office, so I’m sure Cooper would have a field day with the Feng Shui section. I imagine that in his retirement maybe he would even go on to write one to add to the collection.

Pete Campbell: If Pete lived in modern times, I think he would be bold enough to choose Two is Enough: A Couple’s Guide to Living Childless By Choice. Pete quickly finds out that having a spouse is hard enough to maintain while you’re trying to build a successful and profitable career.

Peggy Olson: She loves the music of the time. She’s always playing a record to help her think, or off gallivanting to see a concert. I imagine her theme to be a CD collection instead of a book. Crooners covers the music of her time.

Paul Kinsley: He made a courageous move living with his black girlfriend before segregation had been declared unconstitutional. Protesting with his friends on his down time would make Separate But Not Equal Kinsley’s choice.

Joannie “Red” Harris: Who else could run Sterling Cooper like Red? How did she become so knowledgeable and great at her job? A lot of girls would like to know the answer to that! Lucky for us we have resources like Career Renegade and Finding the Hat That Fits to help guide us through our paths.

Let me see… what will I choose for Lane Pryce, Harry Crane, Ken Cosgrove, Duck Phillips, Henry Francis, Father Gill, Freddy Rumsen or Sal Ramono?

Lisa Shaia is the children’s librarian whose soundtrack for the summer is Kiss Alive! as she will be spending her sixth year wedding anniversary attending their concert.

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