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Mad Men: When Pretending Is Your Job

Watching Mad Men feels a bit like refinishing a wooden chair, sometimes. You’re methodically working away with sandpaper at the arms and legs of this thing, which has been this way for as long as you can remember, and you’re up close and it seems like work, but it’s also strangely soothing, and suddenly you step back after an hour and the whole chair has a different appearance. READ MORE

Mad Men, Season 7 Premiere: Is This Where the Fire Starts?

Mad Men is back! I’ll be writing about the show all season. Though we don’t get a glimpse of Sally or Betty in the last night’s season premiere—an episode called “Time Zones” set in January, 1969, in which Don travels to L.A. to see Megan and back—there is plenty to talk about with regard to Megan, Peggy, Margaret, and Joan. Oh, and then there’s the appearance of a woman played by Neve Campbell—where has she been lately? READ MORE

Poetry with Don Draper

Leah Umansky is the author of the Mad-Men inspired chapbook, Don Dreams and I Dream (Kattywompus Press, 2014). As a poetry subject, perhaps not surprisingly, Don is rife with possibility; more surprisingly, he's a little bit like poetry himself. In "In My Next Life, I Want to Be an Ad Man," Umansky writes, "Make me look good; the world is dangerous"; in "The Times," she explains, "I thought I'd hate Don, like everyone else, but I don't. I long for him the way kids long for the turning of the Ice Cream Man." Season 7 premieres this Sunday night. Here's a little aperitif with which to whet your palate. READ MORE

Notes on Notes to Boys: A Conversation with Pamela Ribon

In Pamela Ribon’s recent, very funny, moving memoir, Notes to Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public, the author looks back at her many teenaged letters to her crushes, examining them from her current-day vantage point. I really loved it (so much that I included it here), and as a lifelong journal keeper with my own history of cringeworthy meanderings, wanted to know more about what inspired Ribon to examine her younger self in this way — and what she learned about not only “Little Pam” but also Current Pam, and writing itself, through the course of creating the book. Luckily, she was kind enough to answer a few of my questions by email. READ MORE

15 Books by Women to Read Now (or Very Soon): A Reading List

There are quite a lot of good books currently out, and it comes as no surprise that quite a lot of them are by ladies (no offense to men, who we hear can also write very fine books when they put their minds to it). As for our list, which you will find below, there is something for nearly everyone: Y.A., short stories, essay collections, novels, nonfiction, books you might have read a long time ago and probably should read again in their updated states now—they are here. If we missed a book you have been reading and loving that’s out now (or will be very soon), please share it in the fair comments below. Happy reading. READ MORE

Ask a Clean Person About Her New Book: A Conversation With Jolie Kerr

Lovely, stylish, very clean person Jolie Kerr has a book out Tuesday from Plume, and we are very excited, not least because Jolie got her cleanliness-writing start right here at The Hairpin. My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag . . . and Other Things You Can't Ask Martha is precisely what it sounds like, a cohesive, informative, and fun compendium to help you reduce filth of all shapes, sizes, and proteins without judgment. New York-area folks: Mark your calendars for the book launch, moderated by Hairpin writer Bobby Finger, at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn on Wednesday, February 26. READ MORE

Valentine’s Day Rehab: A Conversation with Jo Piazza

My best Valentine’s Day occurred years ago, in high school, when I made a cake for my then-boyfriend that said “Happy V.D.” on it. (I thought it was hilarious, so did he. Neither of us, for the record, had an STD). That V.D. was followed by many, many other Valentine's Days, all fine, good, decent, whatever, that I don’t really remember too terribly much about at all, because nothing much happened on those Valentine’s Days aside from going to dinner or not going to dinner with a date or boyfriend or not. I remember a cheeseburger with bacon; that was good. READ MORE

Picture Books for Grownups: A Conversation With the Author of Are You My Boyfriend?

In 2006, Christina Bryza was working in publishing, reading children’s books daily as part of her job. She found herself envious of how those pithy picture books could take a complex problem, deconstruct and decipher it, and tie so many life questions up with a solution by the end. Reading them, she says, “You’d learn something, but you wouldn’t necessarily know you learned something, you’d just feel better.” Not completely fulfilled by her post-grad 9-to-5, nor her dating life, she wanted something like that for herself, a friendly, handy explainer of modern adult life. She jotted down some notes, comparing P.D. Eastman’s classic kids book Are You My Mother? to the question she found herself thinking over and over again: “Are you my boyfriend?” It wouldn’t be until some years later that she was reminded of the idea by friends at a baby shower. “Everyone in the room was like, you need to do that,” she says. “So I did.” READ MORE

The Single Woman Need Not Be Eternally Panic-Stricken: An Interview With Sara Eckel

Freelance writer Sara Eckel, the author of the recent, fantastic Modern Love column, "The Hard-Won Lessons of the Solitary Years," has a new book out: It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. It comes with a self-help designation, but its message is really more like “self-compassion.” That’s an expression Sara uses to talk about the way unmarried women in their 30s and beyond (and, really, all women, regardless of age or marital status) should treat themselves. It’s a message we could all use a reminder of now and again. Especially in January. READ MORE

Never Have I Ever Written a Book (Until Now): A Conversation With Katie Heaney

Katie Heaney's book, Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date is out today from Grand Central. In it, Katie, an editor at BuzzFeed who's also responsible for this site's "Reading Between the Texts" series, recounts her experiences—or lack thereof—with the opposite sex, from childhood to the age of 25. What comes through is not an absence of relationships, however, so much as the presence and importance of the deep, abiding friendships she's formed over the years. And amid the humor and tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation, there's also a hearty message of empowerment to all women to be who they are, and not necessarily what society expects them to be. READ MORE