Synopses & Reviews
This witty and heavily illustrated volume features more than 300 vintage book advertisements—startling and strange, beautiful and funny—that together reveal a kind of secret history of American literature over the last century.
New York Times book critic Dwight Garner brings together original ads for some of the most acclaimed and best-selling books of the twentieth century, including The Great Gatsby, Ulysses, On the Road, Invisible Man, Lolita, Silent Spring, The Joy of Sex, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, White Noise, and dozens of other classics. These ads show us famous books when they were simply new volumes jostling for attention on bookstore shelves, not yet icons of our literary culture. And the ads capture many beloved authors—Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy, Susan Sontag, and Kurt Vonnegut among a great many others—at moments before their careers were assured, before their personas had hardened into those of "famous writers."
In his introduction, Garner explains the changing styles of book advertising; explores the cross-pollination between literature and the world of advertising, in which many writers—including Don DeLillo, Salman Rushdie, and James Patterson—worked before publishing their first books; and makes a convincing case that these vintage ads are important and lasting literary documents.
Read Me is a fascinating and unusual romp through literary history, and an ideal gift for any reader.
“Stare at this book for hours, linger on a single image, and by the end of the weekend, youve made a grand excursion through the literary history of the 20th century.” Chicago Tribune (Printer's Row Blog)
“These small but punchy ads bring back a time when new books were an essential part of the cultural conversation.” Newsday
“A Century of Classic American Book Advertisements,” Read Me is a fascinating collection of more than 300 surprising and strange, beautiful and funny vintage book ads that together reveal the hidden history of Americas literary culture over the past 100 years. Dwight Garner, daily book critic for the New York Times, has gathered hundreds of examples of original publishers ads that offer fresh, sometimes startlingly different looks at some of Americas greatest writers—from Hemingway and Fitzgerald to Kerouac, Updike, and Mailer, to Susan Sontag, Toni Morrison, and Hunter S. Thompson. An edifying and eye-opening delight, Dwight Garners Read Me is an indispensable slice of Americana.
About the Author
Dwight Garner is a book critic for the New York Times. A former senior editor of the New York Times Book Review, he was the founding books editor of Salon.com. His writing has appeared in Harper's Magazine, The Oxford American, The Nation, Slate, Vanity Fair, and elsewhere, and he is at work on a biography of James Agee. Garner lives in Garrison, New York, with his wife and two children.