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Reading List

Reading List: Sharp Teeth


I just love when advertising executive’s secretly turn out to be tortured novelists, hence this whole new section called “Reading List.” Today we are focusing in on Toby Barlow – the executive creative director for JWT Detroit. He also happens to have written a book, “Sharp Teeth.” There are three astounding things about Barlow’s debut:

1. It’s a 308 page epic poem.

2. It’s about modern day werewolves in Los Angeles.

3. It’s good.

The plot revolves around an ancient race of lycanthropes that has survived to the present day. These werewolves have packs and go to battle in the LA streets. Like any good LA gang, they are intent on adding on new recruits, total domination and the inclusion of a dog catcher. No, I promise it was really good. Surprisingly, so.

Toby also writers for literary, snooty-snotty magazine n+1, as well as The Huffington Post if you end up gagging for more.

Reading List: The Happy Soul Industry

Steffan Postaer is the always busy chief creative officer over at Euro RSCG in Chicago who is also a novelist just in case you didn’t know. I just finised reading his latest book, The Happy Soul Industry. Is it a literary masterpiece like Denis Johnson’s, Tree Of Smoke? No, but I was totally entertained.

The plot centers around the Almighty hiring an ad agency to promote heaven and the concept of “goodness” to the world. In case you didn’t know, Postaer has been struggling with his own spirituality and how that works with a business that is about selling a product at all cost and perhaps, without little benefit to the consumer.

What’s with creatives getting a conscious? Is that what Bogusky’s Diet Book is all about? Guilt for pushing Burger King’s quasi-food products on millions of consumers? Maybe things were easier back in the Mad Men days when creatives just chased away needling internal voices with a stiff glass of whisky.

In any case, Steffan’s book is a fast and enjoyable beach read. As you head into Labor Day, I suggest picking up a copy. You’ll smirk at the insider jargon and jokes for sure. Get it now. The book is always better than the movie and Postaer said he has big plans for the title:

“I’ve fantasized every angle,” he admits, sharing his vision of a young Tom Hanks as the lead advertising character, Vernon Knight, CEO of a hip Los Angeles agency, a shop he says is a “quirky version of a Chiat/Day.”