Judging Him By His Hardcovers: Men, Books And Sex Appeal

Shouldn't bedtime reading put Don at ease?
Shouldn’t bedtime reading put Don at ease?

By Alexa Day

Today is Father’s Day here in the U.S., and if I were more of a family girl, I’d probably put a salute to fatherhood here. Blame my faulty biological clock, which has been flashing 12:00 since … well, forever. I just don’t think parenthood is sexy, and I am bound and determined to bring you something sexy today.

I’ll tell you what is sexy, though. A man’s library is sexy.

I love the big libraries because they suggest some sort of literary gluttony. (In my eyes, a voracious reader is at least as good a find as a great dancer.) I like the spartan libraries, too, the discreet display of the few books to earn a spot in a particular man’s heart. Most of all, though, I love to see a book on a man’s nightstand.

And it’s not just me — guys have demonstrated that the written word brings out the romantic in them.

I once worked with a man who told me he’d always remember the weekend he and his wife merged their libraries. You know you’re committed, he said, when you surrender a book you’ve owned since you were a teenager because your wife has a copy and you only need one now. But as romantic as that is, it doesn’t top one man’s ultimate birthday gift to his wife: the entire Penguin Classics Library.

Not even Don can make The Sound and the Fury sexy enough to read me over the phone.
Not even Don can make The Sound and the Fury sexy enough to read me over the phone.

I once dated a man whose living room library was all business, philosophy and sports. He kept a copy of The Arabian Nights in the tiny, intimate library in his bedroom, next to the dish that held his pocket change and his watch. I myself don’t have a bedroom library (I’d need another bedroom for it), but I thought it was a sexy idea.

I once enjoyed an arrangement with a man who only gave me books as presents. The first was a new release by one of his favorite authors. After that (you know, once the first book gave him a great deal more access to my home), he started giving me companion volumes to the books I already had. The funny thing was that he was absolutely convinced that this was the least personal gift he could possibly give me. Sometimes, the most obvious things eluded him like that; that’s probably why our arrangement didn’t last terribly long.

Does the presence of the e-reader diminish this hidden source of male sex appeal? Possibly. I mean, we need to know what’s putting that intriguing furrow into a man’s brow, don’t we? I don’t mind being judged by a book’s cover, and I’ve exercised my share of friendly speculation, too. I think the greater danger is that our hot male friends don’t know how sexy their shelves are. That’s an easy enough problem to solve, right?

He thinks Dante's Inferno is beach reading. Hot or not?
He thinks Dante’s Inferno is beach reading. Hot or not?

If you want to know what Don Draper is reading in these photos, the New York Public Library has put together a list of books seen on Mad Men. And if you’re really after some hot fatherhood, well, I hear the Independent Film Channel is running a DILF marathon today. You’re welcome, of course. Happy Father’s Day!

Don’t forget to follow Lady Smut. We’ll keep the summer hot enough for you.

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  • Post authorMadeline Iva

    It’s so fascinating that you focus on Don Draper (at least in the photos.) Watching Mad Men, I *did* notice how they show him reading all the time. I think in movie-speak this instantly denotes 1)rich inner life & 2)sexy guy who knows it. In thinking of another tv reading man, I would probably point to that DJ dude aka John Corbett in Northern Exposure. Another sexy guy who knew it.

    Reply to Madeline Iva
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      It’s weird, I didn’t plan on using all those pictures of Don, but when I looked for pictures of hot men reading, he showed up quite a few times. He does seem to be reading as if he’s studying for an exam, though. If I remember Northern Exposure correctly, I think John Corbett’s character took some genuine pleasure from his pleasure reading. That’s definitely sexy!

      Reply to Alexa Day
  • Post authorElizabeth Shore

    I once knew a guy who didn’t own a TV but instead spent his free time drinking wine and reading novels. I thought it was soooooo cool and indeed, very sexy. I agree with you 1,000%, Alexa.

    Great post!

    Reply to Elizabeth Shore
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      The guy with whom I had the arrangement only kept 20 or so books on his spartan shelves, but I know he read widely and he was comfortable in a bookstore. (He got me some pretty girly stuff.) I often wondered what made the cut and how he chose one book over another. It’s just another dimension of sexiness, which is really hot in and of itself. 😉

      Glad you enjoyed!

      Reply to Alexa Day

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