What Would Don Draper Read?

Every once in a while, we’ll catch a glimpse of what our Mad Men characters are reading back in the sixties. But what would happen if they could walk into a modern bookstore? 

don draper would read james salter
James Salter has all the sex and debauchery that you would expect Don Draper to enjoy, but those sentences, you guys. There is no doubt in my mind that the deep, sentimental side of Don would be all over James Salter, which is why he’s reading the master’s latest All That Is.
peggy olson reads lean in

As far as Peggy has come from season one, she still has that bit of insecurity and a never-ending drive to succeed. Regardless of where her office is or how many people she’s in charge of, she’ll still be running toward Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In.
joan holloway reads the engagements
Joan doesn’t need to read about leaning in because she’s already doing it. Despite her success, she can still be mistaken for the flighty secretary. J. Courtney Sullivan’s The Engagements has suffered the same fate at times; being written off by some as light chick lit when it actually has a much stronger message.
betty draper reads eat pray love
If you’re a fan of Tom and Lorenzo’s Mad Style, you know that a common point of discussion is Betty’s difficulty adjusting to current fashion trends. If she’s trapped in Henry Francis’ mansion, oblivious to the outside world, maybe she’s just now catching the wave of Eat Pray Love.
betty draper reads gone girl
Sally Draper, on the other hand, is leaps and bounds ahead of Betty when it comes to fashion, but still cooped up at boarding school. The girls may have to lie to go shopping, but you know one copy of Gone Girl has been making the rounds for a quite a while.
roger sterling reads franzen
Is there really any question that Roger would read Franzen?
What else do they think Don Draper would read? Or what would the rest of the cast be picking up?
  • Ooh! I like this! …Now I need to go catch up on Mad Men… :D

  • This is so great. I don’t even watch Mad Men, but i still loved it. Brilliant idea, Shannon.

  • I think Dawn and Pete would both be reading Americanuh. Harry would of course choose Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Ginsberg would be super into Jaron Lanier’s You are Not a Gadget.
    I love this post, Shannon! xoxo

    • I just died at the thought of Ginsberg chasing people around with a copy of You Are Not a Gadget in one hand and his nipple in the other.

  • Jenny @ Reading the End

    Nice! I don’t watch Mad Men, but I think I’ve absorbed enough from the ether to be able to appreciate these choices. :D

  • Fun topic today :)

  • This is a great post. I love what you’ve done here, but I would love to see what they would pick up if they went to a book store in the 60’s and 70’s.

  • I haven’t read all of these books, but they seem like the perfect choices for these characters! Nailed it.

  • OMG, these are SO MUCH FUN! I must share this post all over the interwebs.

  • Wow, awesome list! There are a few I’ve read and a few I’ve had my eye on :) I can’t wait to catch up on Mad Men this new season, too!!

  • Hahaha, Roger.

  • This post is inspired. :) Hm. What about ‘This is the Story of a Good Marriage’ by Ann Patchett – for the title alone for poor Megan.

    • Poor Megan, indeed. She definitely needs some good marriage juju and I’m sure Ann Patchett can help. Maybe some Cheryl Strayed, too.

  • Words for Worms

    Oh. My. Word. This post is BRILLIANT. I must admit I’m waaaaaaaaaaaay behind on Mad Men… Like… I’m somewhere in season 2? But. These pairings are so perfect. LOVE IT.

  • Fun idea for a post!

  • Anita LeBeau

    I love this post!! Love your book choices for each character! I love Madmen~

  • Jennifer Smeth

    This is such a fun post idea!

  • Liziheartvegetables

    Hahaha this is hilarious! Alex and I have been keeping up with Mad Men so I had to show him this post. Love it!

  • AnnabelSmith

    Oh man, you’ve totally nailed it. Hilarious.

  • Very fun! Think your choices hit the nail on the head!!!

  • Awesome post idea! I especially love your choice for Sally. I think Betty might secretly read self-help. And I totally agree about The Engagements being under-rated. I loved the story of the diamond ring as well as the story of the woman behind the slogans. Maybe I’ll post a review.

  • HA! Now if only I watched Mad Men hahahah