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Ad Celebrity Book List: Marty Orzio

Posted on October 21, 2007 and read 2,047 times

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You’d figure that someone like a high school English teacher would have a number of great books to recommend reading. Imagine the book list of somebody who started as an English teacher and went on to become the head CD of one of Chicago’s most prominent agencies? That’s exactly what we get when we asked Marty Orzio, EVP, CCO of Energy BBDO just what books really move him.

This was tough. To make it easier, and because I was beginning to spend way too much time thinking about books instead of ads, I’ve tightened the criteria. I’ve narrowed my selection down to 10 books that I love which, also, had a profound impact on me. On a different day, I may have picked The Brothers Karamazov, The House of Mirth or something by William Trevor, but I had to stop sometime.

Bleak House and Little Dorrit
by Charles Dickens

These stories are like home. It’s what I intend to read when I retire. I can get lost in Dickens’ stories. His characters have so much dimension that I almost begin to live my life alongside them. Even after some 800 pages, I hate to say goodbye to these people.

Blott on the Landscape- or one of a few other books
by Tom Sharpe

His writing is hilarious. Indecent Exposure, Wilt, The Great Pursuit…hysterical. As far as humor goes, I’ll read P.G. Wodehouse, Ben Elton, Christopher Moore, David Lodge, and so on, yet Sharpe is the most rewarding. Up until I read his books, I had no idea that a writer could be so funny and still be smart.

One Man’s Meat
by E.B.White

Okay, I know that Luke Sullivan cited him as well, but I can’t help it. I even have a collection of his writings, An E.B.White Reader, at the office to keep inspiration at my fingertips. White makes it seem effortless, which is, of course, the beauty of his writing. I remember that same quality in old VW ads, the BMW print that Joe O’Neil wrote, the Porsche ads by Penny Kapousouz and the Chivas ads by Neil French. But if I could write body copy like anyone, it would be E.B. White.

by Henry David Thoreau

I thought this book was going to be hippy-ish— a story for the poetry-citing, folk-singing dreamers, but what got me was that Thoreau applied his principles in a way that no idealist would have the discipline for. The longest chapter in the book, Economy, outlines Thoreau’s plans for the year by the pond to the most minute detail. The shortest chapter, Spring, is the most poetic. I’ve returned twice to Walden and each time I was convinced that anything can be made possible.

Far from the Madding Crowd
by Thomas Hardy

The details of Wessex, a fictional country created by Hardy, are so rich that I am transported to a world that I could touch, see, smell and hear. I admit that the plot has some qualities of a typical romance. But it’s the story’s realism, the exacting nature of the writing that wins me over, though. Maybe that’s what I love about
it— romance wins over cynicism.

Leading Change
by James O’Toole

Fine, it’s a business book, but it helped me in a couple of ways. It helped me separate copywriting from management. And, it enabled me to figure out what kind of Creative Director I wanted to become. O’Toole distinguishes between pushing people and pulling them. It’s not a how-to book. It’s an essay with an idea. How-to books push people. And no one is moved by people who push— not even consumers.

Psychotic Reactions and Carburettor Dung
by Lester Bangs

I own a ton of albums and CDs and Lester Bangs guided those purchases more than any cool kid or any other rock critic. He was a wise-ass, a punk and a passionate lover of the real thing. His writing often tried too hard, often got a bit whacked on metaphors, but… it was F*&%$#n’ rock and roll. He turned me on to Captain Beefheart, The Count Five, Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, and so on. He made me fanatical about The Clash and made me detest James Taylor.

Harold and the Purple Crayon
by Crockett Johnson

Shouldn’t my love of this book have diminished a bit since childhood? Apparently not. Last year, I purchased the 50th anniversary edition from New York’s Museum of Modern Art. This book is perfect. It’s wonderfully simple. Whatever Harold draws with his purple crayon becomes real. How cool is that? His imagination runs wild. And yet, once he’s drawn something, he makes edits and makes adjustments. So the recklessness leads to stuff that works, which is really cool.

Love in the Time of Cholera
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

There’s a fable-like quality to this book… a poetry about every aspect of that strange and most powerful of human emotions— love. Whether unrequited, platonic, romantic, jealous or marital, the entire book is imbued with it. You get the impression that the extraordinary is commonplace, which makes for such a wonderful respite from the bulk of books that try to pin down ordinary reality.




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