Friday, July 31, 2009

Retro Girl

The book discussion group I help faciliate at my library is in the midst of a series on "Working." The books and discussion focus on the concept of work and what that means to many Americans. Last month's book was Working by Studs Terkel. It was a densely written, long book that was a compilation of Terkel's interviews with a wide cross-section of Americans and how they felt about their jobs. It was a tough book to get through, and I was worried about leading the group, but the discussion was excellent; one of the best I've attended.

This month's book is Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy. Written in 1963, Ogilvy, the founder of Ogilvy and Mather, one of the country's leading advertising agencies and the creator of many ads, including the Hathaway shirt man, gives advice on how to be successful in the advertising game. It was a pretty quick read, and interesting to consider how things have changed over the past 40 years.

Of course it was impossible to read this book without thinking about the AMC series, Madmen. One of the things I like about the series is how it shows a segment of society in the post-war, pre-Kennedy assassination years.

This was my early childhood, and the look and feel of the show brings back those early memories. Recently I've found a way to propel myself back into that time. The first is on the Ma
dmen website, whe
re it's possible to "Madmen" yourself. Another site is a Facebook application where you can "yearbook" yourself into the past. So, here's me as a Madmen character, and my "1962 yearbook photo."

Monday, July 06, 2009

In Which I Hit a Snag

Earlier this year I wrote about my goal to read 100 books this year. At the time I was flying along and it was looking that I would possibly surpass this goal. Well, I kind of hit a snag, in the form of Working by Studs Terkel. The book discussion group at the library is reading this as part of a series on "Working in America" sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council. My co-facilitator and I are taking turns with this series, and it fell to me to lead Terkel's book.

Coming in at 589 pages, it is a dense tome, full of individual interviews with people about their jobs. First published in 1972, the book was a best-seller, and was even turned into a musical (really!). I didn't read it back then, and reading it now, it definitely feels somewhat dated. It would actually be interesting to find out what happened to the people interviewed, and how their lives turned out.

One of the things I picked up from the book is that most people are dissatisfied with their jobs, the exceptions being those who have some control over what they do. I think that control is important, but also is the ability to leave ones job behind at the end of the day and have a wide variety of interests and experiences that don't relate to ones work.

Anyway, now that Working is out of the way I'm hoping to get back up to speed on my reading list. I've already finished Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith, the latest in the No. 1 Lady's Detective Agency series, and I'm nearly done with The Time Thief by Linda Buckley-Archer, the 2nd in her trilogy.

So, as of July 6th, I've read 28 adult books and 26 Children/YA books, for a total of 54 in 2009.