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Wir erzählen uns Geschichten, um zu Leben
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Wir erzählen uns Geschichten, um zu Leben

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4.47 of 5 stars 4.47  ·  rating details  ·  1,041 ratings  ·  80 reviews
Joan Didion erzählt von den Leitfiguren des American Dream wie Howard Hughes, Joan Baez oder John Wayne, vom Glanz Hollywoods und der Einsamkeit von Alcatraz, von der Aufbruchsstimmung der sechziger Jahre und der Ernüchterung, die ihr folgte. Dabei gelingt es ihr, die amerikanische Wirklichkeit in unvergessliche Bilder zu fassen.

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Joan Didion’s incomparable and di
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304 pages
Published 2009 by List (first published October 17th 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jake
Joan Didion is the Shakespeare of things that don't quite add up. Situations where what's being said and what's being done are at odds and places where the postcard picture hides ugly, painful truths. Her non-fiction is the opposite of easy reading: the sentences uncurl slowly, and sometimes you don't quite know where she's taking a paragraph or a page until the last few words, when suddenly everything stabs into focus. And given the length of this book (1122 pages), the time-span it covers (for ...more
David
This big fat collection clocks in at over 1100 pages and comprises the seven books of Didion's nonfiction that appeared between 1968 and 2003. These are

Slouching Towards Bethlehem
The White Album
Salvador
Miami
After Henry
Political Fictions
Where I Was From

What can I add to what's already been said about Joan Didion's writing? The standard review cliches come to mind - spare, taut, elegant, polished, not a word out of place.

All true. And yet, I admire these pieces, but I don't love them. There's a c
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M
I am almost done with this tome of non-fiction from one of my favorite writers. Before this book, I had only read The Year of Magical Thinking (which I *loved*) but Didion had always held a certain fascination for me because I had the hugest crush on Ed O'Brien of Radiohead for the longest time and he said Joan Didion was his favorite writer and his dream woman. So of course I set about finding out who this lady was, and whether she was worthy of this praise. :) The crush has long since faded (t ...more
Aric Cushing
Incredible. The nonfiction piece 'Dreamers of the Golden Dream' I have read over and over through the years. An incredible depiction of California desert life, and the 'true crime' murder of a dentist. I cannot do it justice here because I am writing quickly, but this POSITIVELY is a MUST READ, if not just for the first nonfiction piece in this voluminous collection.
Tessa
My soulmate is a 74 year old woman.
Peter
Aug 21, 2007 Peter rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, sociologists
Just read another great essay, written in the 70's, on the development of shopping malls as pictures both of American ingenuity and the aimlessness of modern consumer culture (from The White Album). Her nonfiction continues to impress me.
Anne Walbridge
Joan Joan Joan! God the woman can write! Some of her essays get a little tiresome as she tries to shock, but you have to remember she was writing them back in the '70s.
Jon
This is the last book to have rocked my world. Before this I'd only read "The White Album" and upon beginning this book I felt the same thrill that I felt discovering some of my other favorite authors, people like Harry Crews or Dennis Cooper.

Didion is quite unlike the writers I tend towards. She's much more a child of the New Yorker reading, grad school attending, fans of Saul Bellow and more recently David Foster Wallace set, if that makes sense to anyone besides myself. People consider her s
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sam Eccleston
Probably as much Didion as anyone needs to own. Doesn't include "Year of Magical Thinking," which is cool by me. Since "Play It as It Lays" stands in my mind as one of the more obnoxious books I've ever read, I'm always a little askance of Didion. But the first 2/3 of this is pretty live. Though this might be a purely idiosyncratic choice, the tales of decrepit Californian rurality got me where I lived (pun!), and I really liked her distaste for hippies. But "Political Fictions" is one of the mo ...more
Angie
This is the most amazingly clear writing that I've ever read. Didion writes what she observes, clearly and precisely. She doesn't use judgmental words, but since she writes so clearly about her subjects, we can get an idea of what she thinks about said subjects.
I'm not yet finished with this collection, but will tell you that as a younger baby boomer, reading "Slouching Toward Bethlehem" gave me a better, nonglamorous picture of the sixties than anything else I've ever read.
As an aspiring write
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Tiffoknee the 3rd Conner
Ah, where to begin when it comes to Didion. I adore her. Plus, when she was younger she was totally smokin'! I sh*t you not. Go google some photos of the broad. Hottttttt! And intelligence. I'm a bigger sucker for intelligence.

I've read a few of the books in this collection on their own, but once this collected essay edition came out I peed my pants. All of this Didion in one place? It's like a dream come true for me.
Marthe
All of Joan Didion's nonfiction writing on place, politics, lifestyle, and cultural figures from the 1960s to 2003 together in one volume? What a dream. Her devotion to detail, shrewd observations, and concise, lyrical language does it for me EVERY TIME.
In order of my appreciation: "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" captures the counterculture of the sixties, its mood and lifestyle, as symbolized by California, Joan Baez, Haight-Ashbury. Her profile of Joan Baez (“Exactly where…she wants to be seems
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Clare
I'm fond of the Everyman's Library editions: nice type, pages smell good, there's a ribbon to keep your place, a chronology of the author's life matched up with a chronology of world events (though there is something unsettling in reading and comparing the two columns, the individual and all the history she has lived through), and, most of all, the photographs chosen to illustrate the covers of the Contemporary Authors editions are excellent. Joan Didion is photographed leaning out the driver's ...more
Margaret
We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live is a collection of Didion's nonfiction work, including Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, Salvador, Miami, After Henry, Political Fictions, and Where I Was From, stopping in 2003 before the deaths of her husband and daughter. I got bogged down in the more historical and political essay collections and took a long break after Miami but picked it back up and finished reading.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album are stellar, with Di
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Marissa
Ok, so I got three quarters of the way through the book, but after reading through the first couple sections in Political Fictions I finally just gave up and "accidentally" left the book at my parent's house. Certainly, Joan Didion is really insightful and there is some very beautiful writing in the book. Unfortunately, way too much of her best work is concentrated in the first two parts of the collection which are introspective, while also having a certain time capsule effect of the era she was ...more
David Gross
First, a disclaimer: having read Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, and Where I Was From before, I skipped those sections of the anthology and read the parts I hadn't seen before.

Joan Didion is a first-class writer and journalist, so much so that even reading today about the behind-the-scenes intrigues of a 25-year-old Los Angeles mayoral race remains gripping.

Her best journalistic virtue is not that she gets the scoop that nobody else gets, but that she reports the interesting things
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Elizabeth
Unbelievable book. Incredible collection of many of her non- fiction books and essays including Slouching TB, White Album, Salvador, Miami. A collection every reader should own to underline and reread. There's so much here-- Didion's first book STB sets the high standards for her writing. The iconic White Album- especially the first section-- should be gone over repeatedly for content and Didion's hidden meanings. This is a wonderful book to begin a collection of Didion's as everyone should do.
Michaela
As always, Ms. Didion is brilliant as she blithely cuts through the misconceptions on topics ranging from Old Hollywood and Los Angeles to Cuban-Miami-D.C. relations and the Contras. Her take on politics and how the democratic process has largely been destroyed and manipulated into something else entirely is must-reading. A quote to illustrate, "the moment in which the determination of the Republican party to maximize its traditional low-turnout advantage was perfectly matched by the determinati ...more
Jet
I have been working on this read for two and a half months, in between other lighter - literal and figurative - reading. I struggled with Miami and Political Fictions; the pair of them needing more familiarity with the politics around them than I have, I think. And Political Fictions was, perhaps, too recent to be interesting to me.

I enjoyed with varying degrees the other books in the anthology, most notably Slouching Toward Bethlehem. Didion's turn of phrase is astoundingly engaging, and even
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Linda
I am a great believer in buying collections, despite them generally depriving me of the sense of having finished something. I've now re(read) the essays from The White Album and Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I'll pick up the rest later...

I don't agree with her on a lot of issues but what I love about her writing is that she refuses to let things be narrated to her - she creates her own narratives and does so beautifully. I find it quite inspiring because I'm not an 'original' person and it's just
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Melanie
One of the longest running arguments between myself and a close friend is our reading habits. I read haphazardly, with not much regard to following an established canon or order. I reread, for one thing, an action that is unconscionable in his eyes.

He picks an author and reads nearly everything by that author in chronological order. I buy books cheaply and in individual copies, whereas he saves and buys the Everyman or Library of America anthologies.

This is the one instance in which I believe h
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Liz
Jan 04, 2010 Liz marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I am going to read this book in bits and pieces (while waiting for other books to arrive at the library) and even allow myself to skim/skip the essays that don't interest me. So far I've read Slouching Toward Bethlehem and most enjoyed "Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream," "Marrying Absurd" and "Goodbye to All That." The introduction does such a good job of introducing Joan Didion that even though I haven't read "The Year of Magical Thinking," the essays in "Personals" and other more introspectiv ...more
J
This is a collection of short non-fiction pieces on various topics, sometimes working into a larger work and other times, standing alone. The subject matter is fascinating to me since most of it takes place in the 60s and early 70s when I was barely a twinkle in my father’s pants. This is the first time I’ve knowingly read Didion. I say knowingly because she seems somehow familiar to me, like an old friend. She’s neurotic in a way that I am not, but I still like her. She has a very conversationa ...more
Kelly
I'm a fan of Didion. This compilation of all (?) of her books is only tedious in the detail describing some of the recent past events she covered as a journalist. Maybe the history is too recent to engage me as much as the length of her writing commands. In other words, I like the stuff about her personal life more than the stuff about Miami, more than her disapproval of Bill Clinton's campaigning. (I've been there and I don't care to read any more beating of Bill. On today's political playing f ...more
Allyson
Interesting reading, well-written, but to me only mildly-relevant because of generational difference.
julie k.
May 22, 2008 julie k. is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
just picked this up from the library. so far the introduction talks about her skill with words and her slightly dark wryness, but how the slightly dark wryness is also so spot on thru the decades.hmmm. it is a collection of her non-fiction over the years including: The White Album, Miami, Political Fictions, Where I Was From, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, etc.....It is a big book and makes me feel like Rory Gilmore when I read it on the light rail. ;)
Sally
Pretty great little essays from Ms. Didion.


She sure is a smarty-pants about Miami and el Salvador! Not as much fun as her youthful bikini trip to the grocery store and hanging out with Janis Joplin and the Doors, but still good stuff.

Nice for small bits every few days.

I'm sorry, but I had to abandon this and return it to the library. Three weeks for twenty five years was plenty, and I'd like to read the rest but it just wasn't as great as her early writing. I'm sure it's better in some ways,
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Jessica
Mar 06, 2008 Jessica is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading, and will be reading, this volume for quite awhile. This almost complete collection of Didion's work is contained in one large volume. The packaging in very rich- in that produced to make your libary look impressive type way. It is too heavy to carry around, so I read it a few pages at a time.

No matter what the subject, her writing is captivating- the feeling and details just jump off the page. She maintains objectivity while managing to reveal great insight.

I am looking fo
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Danielle
Apr 18, 2008 Danielle rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs, aspiring journos, those interested in latin america and/or 60s counterculture
Since this collection is really half a dozen books in one, I have been reading it in bits since last fall... it's pretty amazing and this junk is totally going to get 5 goodreads stars once I wrap it up. Loved reading 'Salvador', Didion's chilling series of reports from El Salvador in th 80s. Am currently reading (and loving) 'Miami', which highlights to strange history and complexities of a city that is a bridge between two continents. Engrossing stuff - this woman is a genius.
Dan
The worst thing about the book is the clunky title, which seems to mean less and less the longer one thinks about it. For me the essays I was most interested in were the ones about politics and culture like Miami and Political Fictions, less so the personal ones such as Goodbye to All That and Where I was From. She's an amazing writer who doesn't bother with a lot of backstory--gives the reader the credit for knowing already what it is a reader ought to know.
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Worcester Public ...: Slouching Towards Bethlehem 1 4 Jun 11, 2013 12:13PM  
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Joan Didion was born in California and lives in New York City. She's best known for her novels and her literary journalism.

Her novels and essays explore the disintegration of American morals and cultural chaos, where the overriding theme is individual and social fragmentation. A sense of anxiety or dread permeates much of her work.
More about Joan Didion...
The Year of Magical Thinking Slouching Towards Bethlehem Play It as It Lays Blue Nights The White Album

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