Books on GIF #9 — 'Advertisements for Myself' by Norman Mailer


Books on GIF is a weekly review and discussion of random books told with the help of GIFs. We'll cover fiction, nonfiction and the occasional graphic novel.

This Sunday's book is 'Advertisements for Myself' by Norman Mailer.

Norman Mailer

This book was terrible. Reading it made me furious.*

It's a collection of the author's early work. Woven between the selections are Mailer's 'advertisements,' sometimes interesting and often blustery commentaries on what he was thinking/striving for when he wrote the particular piece and how he felt about it years later. **

And they would be interesting if I could get past the book's overarching cynicism, misogyny and boredom.  Clearly the tome was put together to capitalize on the writer's fame in hopes that some dope (Hi!) would buy it. It reminded me of a Picasso exhibit I saw with Nazim years ago in Boston that featured napkins the artist had scribbled on. The curators were saying: Even Picasso's trash is great art!

Indeed, Mailer's book was full trash.



Way to go, bro.

Ugh. I can't imagine anyone wanting to read this garbage. Did the world need multiple commentaries on how 'The Deer Park' was misunderstood? NOBODY CARES, NORMAN.  Reading this book felt like:

And all I wanted to do was:

I read this book so you didn't have to.

'Advertisements for Myself' by Norman Mailer was published in 1961 by Andre Deutch Ltd. and in 1994 by Flamingo Modern Classic. 475 pages.

My rating:

What's next? In the coming weeks, I'll review 'Our Spoons Came From Woolworths' by Barbara Comyns and 'Onward and Upward in the Garden' by Katherine S. White.

What books have you been reading? Send thoughts, recommendations and feedback to

If you like these reviews, please tell your friends!  Here's the signup link:

Tweet it out!

Thanks for reading!


* To say I 'read' this book would require expanding the definition of 'to read' to include skimming the boring parts and skipping others entirely. (Mailer said this was OK so I don't feel bad about it.)
** For a really excellent example of a writer describing their process and their early work, check out Haruki Murakami's introduction to his recently re-released early works 'Hear the Wind Sing/Pinball.' Thanks to Trish for sharing this with me.