When I saw that today is Rona Jaffe's birthday, I couldn't help but pounce on the opportunity to write about one of my most guilty of reading pleasures, The Best of Everything—which utterly fascinated me the first time I read it as a teen. Published in 1958, this sizzling novel follows the exciting, turbulent and sometimes scandalous lives of four newly transplanted New York City women who work at fictional paperback book publisher Fabian Publications. The love affairs, ladder climbing, husband hunting and lecherous boss dodging that ensue make for one superb page-turner that can be credited with at least some of the inspiration behind my decision to become a book editor. "Mad Men" fans will be familiar with the midday martinis and blatant sexism that were de rigueur during the 1950s, but Jaffe's depiction of the never-ending excitement and unbound opportunity to be had in Manhattan back then practically pulses on the page. It's super-juicy fun—perfect if you're in the mood for a highly entertaining retro summer read.
Happy Birthday, Rona Jaffe!