I have started to notice what fictional characters are reading!! Of course Franny was reading The Way of the Pilgrim, and this was crucial to the plot of Franny and Zooey, and maybe part of the hermit-style madness of J.D. Salinger (I resemble that remark), but this is something else.
I noticed that Monica Geller was reading Practical Intuition in Love by Laura Day in an old episode of Friends, as my teenage kids have discovered this series. She had the big red-orange-with-a-rose hardcover, dark yellow lettering, but I have linked you to a handy paperback copy if you, too, want to have Monica's frequently-between-boyfriends love life and then end up with the boy next door.
And George, in A Single Man, is course reading After Many a Summer, by Aldous Huxley, a kind of Hollywood fantasy satire. In the film, he is reading an elegant hardcover, evidently the very first edition of 1939, before the title changed to After Many a Summer Dies the Swan, in the very next printing later that year. I can't even find a picture of that one, except at Wikipedia, which appears to have fewer stripes than the one in the film, but there are many copies out there, ranging from $21 to over $200, and many affordable copies in later hardback and softcover editions. Even the first American edition includes this addition to the title, a quotation from a Tennyson poem, so George must have brought his copy from London!
See, it can't be a good thing that I am this wrapped up in books and their editions, so that I am speculating on the lives of fictional characters, what they are reading, and why.
But George is reading a book about a man who is afraid of death and obsessed with youth, and it's a bitterly comic novel, showing the folly of it all. And he has read it closely, which is interesting to ponder, after having seen the film. Now I am going to have to read this book.
Believe me, I already checked Babbitt's for the pulp fiction cover.