On Sunday’s (April 29) upcoming episode of “Mad Men” — titled “At the Codfish Ball” — Don Draper (Jon Hamm) takes a break from his usual wardrobe of sharp suits to lounge in his pajamas and catch up on some light reading. Meanwhile, new wife Megan Draper (Jessica Par�) is opting to stick close to the TV.
So what does Don read in his spare time? In the picture, he’s holding a copy of Bernard Malamud’s 1966 novel, “The Fixer.” The book — about “a man who finds himself a stranger in his community and a victim of irrational prejudice as a wave of anti-Semitic hysteria engulfs a town after the murder of a boy” — won that year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction and The National Book Award.
From the Wikipedia book synopsis: “[The main character] finally finds it in his heart to forgive his former wife, who left
him just before the novel began. This act of forgiveness is symbolically
important in Bok’s spiritual growth.”
Okay. We could see where Don’s spiritual growth would benefit from coming to terms with his failed marriage to Betty (January Jones).
What else might Don Draper have been reading in 1966? Here’s a peek at the New York Times bestseller list for the week of Aug. 7, 1966 (the last date we can positively pin in “Mad Men’s” timeline is the Aug. 1 Charles Whitman University of Texas shootings):
1 VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, by Jacqueline Susann (Maybe more up Megan’s alley.)
2 THE ADVENTURERS, by Harold Robbins
3 TAI-PAN, by James Clavell
4 THE SOURCE, by James Michener
5 TELL NO MAN, by Adela Rogers St. Johns
6 THE DOUBLE IMAGE, by Helen MacInnes
7 I, THE KING, by Frances Parkinson Keyes
8 THE DETECTIVE, by Roderick Thorp
9 THE EMBEZZLER, by Louis Auchincloss
10 THE KREMLIN LETTER, by Noel Behn
While Don’s reading, Megan appears to be holding court in the Drapers’ Upper East Sidie living room, standing in front of the 1966 equivalent of a flat-screen TV — a massive tube TV built into a wall unit.