Last-minute TV-themed gift ideas

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 01:41 AM Written by 

Sons poker setThe PG already published my TV on DVD gift guide and another list of possible gifts for TV fans publishes Friday. But even after writing that one a few more interesting possibilities crossed my desk, including items tied to "Sons of Anarchy," "Mad Men," "Downton Abbey" and a book with a local connection.

Read all about them after the jump. ...

For the "Sons of Anarchy" fan on your list, there's a poker set or a dartboard cabinet (although there are darts, no dartboard is showing up at this site currently) or cigars.

WHILE WE WERE WATCHING DOWNTON ABBEY massFor the fan of "Downton Abbey" fandom, there's "While We Were Watching 'Downton Abbey'" ($15, Berkley) by Wendy Wax, a novel about women becoming friends and bonding over the PBS hit. A mass market edition for $7.99 is out Dec. 31. Here's the publisher's description:


                Wendy Wax's WHILE WE WERE WATCHING DOWNTON ABBEY, a story of unlikely friendships sparked by the camaraderie of Downton Abbey viewing parties, received a flurry of attention when news of its Berkley Books publication spread just as Season 3 of the program drew to a close.  Wax’s most successful book to date it has gone back to press for seven trade paperback printings, was recently published in the U.K. by Orion, has just been nominated for eBook of the Year by the UK e-retailer Sainsbury, and is now published for the first time in a mass market paperback edition.

            In the novel, Wax introduces three women who live in a historic Atlanta building and the residence's British concierge, who has decided to host weekly screenings of Downton Abbey leading up to the start of the third season.  Each of the four is at a crossroads and what happens to them is familiar to many Downton fans.  They find themselves connecting with the addictive drama, and¾even more unexpectedly¾with each other.  For them, it's a season of surprises as they forge bonds that will sustain them through life's hardest moments¾all reflected in the unfolding plot, humor and convergent lives of Downton Abbey.

  · @Wendy_Wax



A Berkley Books Trade Paperback/Fiction/$15.00 ($16.00 Canada)/ 978-0-425-26331-0

A Jove Mass Market Paperback/Reprint/$7.99/978-0-515-15469-6

Penguin Audio/Unabridged/Dolby Digital $39.95/978-1-101-60593-6 

secretly handicappedFor readers with an interest in local television, former Pittsburgher Norbert Nathanson writes about his experiences working at WQED in its earliest days in his memoir, "A Secretly Handicapped Man" ($19.95, North Wind Publishing).

A Spring Hill native and graduate of Allegheny High School and Carnegie Tech, Nathanson writes about his experience living with a disability and his work at WQED, including interactions with the late Fred Rogers.

insanity of advertisingFor fans of "Mad Men" who can wait until early January, there's "The Insanity of Advertising: Memoirs of a Mad Men" ($28.95, Council Oak Books) by Fred S. Goldberg. Here's how the publisher describes the book:

Think you know advertising because you watch Mad Men?

Think again, says Fred Goldberg, a celebrated ad man and author of the new book The Insanity of Advertising: Memoirs of a Mad Man

If you watch the hit TV show Mad Men you know Hollywood's take on the world of advertising. In THE INSANITY OF ADVERTISING: MEMOIRS OF A MAD MAN (Council Oak Books, December 2013, hardcover) Fred Goldberg gives you the reality and-as they say-truth is often stranger than fiction. Goldberg, a celebrated ad man cut his teeth in the late 60's with the legendary agency Young & Rubicam (where the "rate of alcoholism was rumored to be twice the national average"). From there he took over operations at Chiat/Day as COO for almost 7 years, and then founded his own firm, Goldberg Moser O'Neill in 1990. His clients included Apple, E&J Gallo, Esprit, Intel, Kia Motors, and many other corporate titans.

Here is just some of what Goldberg has to say about how the reality of advertising compares with Mad Men's depiction of it.

    • The drinking and smoking (and not only cigarettes): The three and four-martini lunch the norm in the ad world; and Goldberg remembers vividly having to wade through a haze of pot smoke on the creative floor.
    • It's a women's world (today): Women were indeed held back in the ad world of the 60's and 70's, but today Goldberg believes that women are a key to the success of the advertising industry.  At his agency he had over twice the number of women working for him than men-and he'll explain why.
    • How great ads are not born: "Mad Men reinforces the idea that brilliant ads are developed by a bunch of creative people sitting around a table bouncing ideas off of each other-not so," says Goldberg. It's a much more strategic and analytical process.
    • "It's toasted" doesn't work in real life: In an early episode of Mad Men Don Draper convinces tobacco company executive, Lee Garner, Sr. to run with an ad with these words. Rarely, is it so easy and the toughest sells to the client are often the best ad ideas.
    • When ad agencies merge: Mad Men doesn't even come close to describing what a disaster this can be. Goldberg survived seven mergers-and they were all rife with problems and trauma.




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