THE HIDDEN and unhidden persuaders of Madison Avenue have regularly presented the American Male with his very own products, untainted by a speck of effeminacy. He-men eat Wheaties, smoke cigarettes, bathe with soaps and douse themselves with deodorants, all of which emphasize their ruggedness (“Women say ‘deodorant.’ Men say ‘Trig'”). But only recently has our wonderful world of literature also been organized along sexual lines. The announcement of this change reached me in a letter from one John Hardy, advertising director for Nelson Doubleday, Inc., “the world’s greatest book club organization.” Mr. Hardy was obviously excited, for in his form letter he burst out: “I am writing this note from my office late in the evening because I want to tell you at once about a great new idea in book publishing….” He just couldn’t wait.
The special features of this “sensational new series of books edited to meet the tastes and interests of American men today” are implicit in its name, “Reading-for-Men.” The three club rules, no sissies allowed, are:
1. Each volume will contain 320 pages or more of real masculine reading—every month one full length new book and with it four or more generous extracts—no condensations—of other outstanding books to give you a broad insight into what American men are reading.
2. The all-male editorial board will pick books that they know rate high on the popularity polls. You’ll no longer waste time trying to find good reading entertainment—these are the “top” books discovered for you.
3. The books are to be handsomely designed, full library sized volumes that build up into a beautiful set.
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