Read Me!


Book lovers with the munchies will feast on Read Me: A Century of Classic American Book Advertisements, compiled by Dwight Garner.

You can snack on bite-sized bits of semi-“soft sell”:

I do not ask you to buy it, but I do tell you that “Sons and Lovers,” by D. H. Lawrence is one of the great novels of the year.

Or stuff your face with steaming hot  hyperbole:

“Unsurpassed in American fiction!” (Gone with the Wind)
Bite into the classic manual from “a Great, New Movement” (Boy Scouts of America). Nibble away on headlines like these:
“10,000 Bambis have been boxed for Christmas!
“What do you care about sex laws.”
“Do you want war?”

 “Voodoo as no white person ever saw it!”

 “Remember the name Norman Mailer.”
“No royalties to Adolf Hitler!”
My favorite specimen is an ad which appeared in 1934. It shows a man in an armchair reading… “The Tired Business Man’s (sic) Library of Adventure, Detective, and Mystery Novels.” The publisher, D. Appleton-Century, hawks its 15 volumes as a healthy way for males to relax.
“…Learn the secret of many famous men who refresh their minds with exciting books like these.”

 Guess women weren’t looking for adventure back then.
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