March is a huge month for television this year thanks to the much anticipated return of AMC’s Mad Men. About to begin its fifth season, this show has got everything I love about a good TV drama – great character-driven storylines and tons of style.
If you’re a fan of the show then you can probably empathize with the agony I’ve been going through during its 2-year hiatus, especially since the fourth season ended with such a punch to the chest. I'm not going to lie -- it’s been tough to fill the Don Draper-sized void in my life, but thanks to DVDs from our collection my heart has had a bit of a reprieve. Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked about the season premiere coming up in just a few days.
So, in celebration of Mad Men’s return to my PVR, I present to you a list of related reads. If you love Mad Men, then there’s a strong possibility you will love these books too.
The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing - not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply "B", asking her to leave her husband. Years later, in 2003, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter in a forgotten file in her newspaper's archives. She becomes obsessed by the story and hopeful that it can resurrect her faltering career. Perhaps if these lovers had a happy ending she will find one to her own complicated love life, too. Ellie's search will rewrite history and help her see the truth about her own modern romance.
The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald
It is the middle of the twentieth century, and in a home economics program at a prominent university, real babies are being used to teach mothering skills to young women. For a young man raised in these unlikely circumstances, finding real love and learning to trust will prove to be the work of a lifetime. In this captivating novel, bestselling author Lisa Grunwald gives us the sweeping tale of an irresistible hero and the many women who love him. From his earliest days as a "practice baby" through his adult adventures in 1960s New York City, Disney's Burbank studios, and the delirious world of the Beatles' London, Henry remains handsome, charming, universally adored-and never entirely accessible to the many women he conquers but can never entirely trust. Filled with unforgettable characters, settings, and action, The Irresistible Henry House portrays the cultural tumult of the mid-twentieth century even as it explores the inner tumult of a young man trying to transcend a damaged childhood. For it is not until Henry House comes face-to-face with the real truths of his past that he finds a chance for real love.
The Learners by Chip Kidd
Set in the early 1960s, the Learners is the story of Happy, a young graphic designer who lands his first job at a wacky advertising firm in New Haven, Connecticut. Among his colourful co-workers is Sketch, the lovable, aging illustrator whose finely-crafted drawings of potato chips are regarded by Happy as near masterpieces; Tip, the quick-witted copy-writer who's always hunting for the next snappy slogan; and Mimi, the cold, eccentric matriarch, who treats her enormous dog as if he's her husband. Happy fits right in among these likable eccentrics, and together, they struggle to hold onto their most important client, Cringle Potato Chips, and land the new and lucrative Buckle Shoes account.
That Mad Ache by Francoise Sagan
That Mad Ache, set in high-society Paris in the mid-1960’s, recounts the emotional battle unleashed in the heart of Lucile, a sensitive but rootless young woman who finds herself caught between her carefree, tranquil love for 50-year-old Charles, a gentle, reflective, and well-off businessman, and her sudden wild passion for 30-year-old Antoine, a hot-blooded, impulsive, and struggling editor. As Lucile explores these two versions of love, she vacillates in confusion, but in the end she must choose, and her heart’s instinct is surprising and poignant. Originally published under the title La Chamade, this new translation by Douglas Hofstadter returns a forgotten classic to English.