Sunday, June 24, 2018
Books

What's Jane Maas reading?

Nightstand

Jane Maas

In her new book, Mad Women, Maas, 80, shares her view of life on Madison Avenue in the 1960s, a.k.a. Don Draper's time. (Yes, there truly was lots of chain smoking, liquor drinking and hot sex going on in the 1960s American workplace.) Hired by David Ogilvy (Confessions of an Ad Man) as a copywriter in 1964, Maas was the first woman assigned to the blue-chip American Express account. She left Ogilvy & Mather 12 years later as a creative director and vice president and went on to conceive the "I Love NY'' tourism campaign.

In one of the book's final chapters, she asks the question, "Have You Really Come Such a Long Way Baby?'' And her answer is mixed. She stresses that women need to do a better job helping each other. "Women are lousy mentors,'' she writes. "We say we are giving the newbies a helping hand, but our hearts are not in it. . . . The most successful women in our business, the ones who rival men, don't have time to mentor. And besides, there's a little undercurrent of feeling that says, "I've made it on my own; why should you expect to be carried?"

What's on your nightstand?

Ann Patchett's Bel Canto. It's wonderful, but it's not a new plot. Chaucer did it. You take a group of desperate people and put them together in forced togetherness and see what happens and how they interact. It is so beautifully written. I also have The Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, and I'm about to start Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Mantel has a new one out, and I wanted to read this one first. And also, now that my book is done, and I've recaptured some time for the joy of reading, I'm rereading Philip Roth's Ghost Writer. I read it first 15 years ago.

Why are you rereading Roth?

He writes like an angel. It's an extraordinary sensibility he has, and if you read the last few pages of his Everyman, when he talks about his hero swimming, and for every one of us who have swum in the ocean and come home after a long day swimming as a teenager, with sunburn and a tired body smelling like salt, you realize that Philip makes you say, yes, yes, I am there in that moment.

Piper Castillo, Times staff writer, can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Review: Look inside the tent of a Gibsonton-based sideshow in Tessa Fontaine’s memoir ‘The Electric Woman’

Review: Look inside the tent of a Gibsonton-based sideshow in Tessa Fontaine’s memoir ‘The Electric Woman’

Grief can unhinge us, disconnect us from our daily lives, make us do things we’ve never done. Grief made Tessa Fontaine run away and join the circus.To be more exact, the sideshow: World of Wonders, the last traditional traveling sideshow in the coun...
Published: 06/21/18
5 fiction writers who've turned their attention to Donald Trump

5 fiction writers who've turned their attention to Donald Trump

He might not have intended it, but Donald Trump has been good for book publishing.
Published: 06/15/18
What’s Neal Thompson, author of ‘Kickflip Boys,’ reading?

What’s Neal Thompson, author of ‘Kickflip Boys,’ reading?

Neal ThompsonFor Father’s Day, we checked in with Neal Thompson from his Seattle office. In his new book, Kickflip Boys, Thompson weaves together a story on raising his two independent, passionate sons while giving us an honest look at the underbelly...
Published: 06/15/18
What is Jen Waite, author of the memoir

What is Jen Waite, author of the memoir "A Beautiful, Terrible Thing," reading?

Jen Waite It is June. Romance and weddings are in the air, and with that comes the paperback release of A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal by Jen Waite, 33. The book, based on Waite’s heartbreaking wedding story, fi...
Updated one month ago
Review: Jake Tapper’s ‘Hellfire Club’ a fictional thriller sharpened with real 1950s politics

Review: Jake Tapper’s ‘Hellfire Club’ a fictional thriller sharpened with real 1950s politics

Washington, D.C., is a city in crisis, the operations of the federal government all but paralyzed by the conspiracy theories of a powerful politician who behaves as if the bounds of protocol and decency don’t apply to him. As he distracts the nation,...
Updated one month ago
What’s Helen Rappaport reading?

What’s Helen Rappaport reading?

Helen RappaportWhile delving into archives and researching her new book about the murder of the Russian imperial family 100 years ago, The Race to Save the Romanovs, Rappaport celebrated the digital age. "I am able to go back so far in time and look ...
Updated one month ago
Review: Lauren Groff’s ‘Florida’ explores a state beyond the boundaries

Review: Lauren Groff’s ‘Florida’ explores a state beyond the boundaries

In "Flower Hunters," one of the stories in Lauren Groff’s stunning new book Florida, a character gets a reader’s crush on 18th century explorer William Bartram, an early chronicler of the state’s flora and fauna: "She’s most d...
Updated one month ago