Vintage Didion
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Vintage Didion

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  300 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Vintage Readers are a perfect introduction to some of the greatest modern writers presented in attractive, accessible paperback editions.

“Didion has the instincts of an exceptional reporter and the focus of a historian . . . a novelist’s appreciation of the surreal.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

Whether she’s writing about civil war in Central America, political scurrili...more
ebook, 208 pages
Published February 24th 2010 by Knopf Group E-Books (first published January 6th 2004)
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I think Joan Didion is at her best when she's talking about California- about its culture, its news, or her history there. Her strength decreases the further from California she gets: she's pretty good writing about New York (which, I think, is closer to California than much of the country in between), and less good writing about Miami and El Salvador. This collection of essays spans all of those territories, and about twenty-five years in her career, from the late 70s to about 2003. The highlig...more
I'm going to try this new thing where I just do capsule-style reviews. Here's a go:

I'd only previously read "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Didion--and, considering my admittedly non-existent experience with having lost loved ones, didn't connect to it in the way so many seem to have (at least on an emotional level). Nonetheless, I found her prose style there to be breathtaking, and it's in full form in this short collection. Vintage Didion collects essays from several books--three from "After...more
Michael Libby
Collection of Didion's work from Miami, After Henry , Salvador, and Political Fictions. Missing selections from her most famous book, Slouching Towards Bethlehem , but that is OK, I have that one and have already read it. If your are interested in reading about 60's and 70's counterculture from someone who was there and documenting it with a passionate eye, Didion is for you...and this collection is notable for it's attempt to give an overview of her work.
Michael Jr.
If you haven't read much from Joan Didion, this is a good place to start. Vintage Didion covers a selection of her more powerful essays over a period of almost 40 years.

You'll notice, as you read, the strong skepticism that Didion brings to her journalistic essays. It's not that she necessarily has a political bend in one direction or another, it is that she is committed to looking around and fully rendering the context of each event she reports on, complete with historic details showing how the...more
Kieran Healy
Didion writes essays that don't argue for any real, discernible view. She more just gives observations that make you put your finger to your chin and think. At times she performs the same conspiratorial dot-connecting of which she complains about Reagan. But since it's not necessarily an argument piece, there's really nothing to disagree with. I've never read any of Didion's essays before and this felt like a good starting point. A times her viewpoint is frustrating and other times interesting....more
Paul Childs
A good, short, collection, covering about 20 years (only one post 9/11 piece). The older pieces read now as first person history, but always with an edge and extremely well written. A good place to start if you haven't read her before.
Trying to fill in the total empty space in my reading under the didion heading. Here is a short collection pulled from her varied writings. So far, so good. I liked her non-fiction pieces on Patricia Hearst and El Salvador. Time will tell. The back blurb claims that Didion "expresses an unblinking vision of the truth." hmmm. I don't even know what that means.

in the essay i just read, she was sticking it to nancy reagan. now she is deconstructing the new york story, one line of contrived narrative at a time. her prose is breathless, her lines of argument incredibly well reported if not always so well reasoned. a very interesting read at a time when political reportage is a bit lackluster.
borrowed from kian.
i read it on the plane and on the beach.
the briskness of the writing made it ideal for vacation reading.
it also made me realize how uniformed i am of news events from my earlier life.
even the clinton administration was largely a mystery to me.
Deb Hale
Even now, Joan Didion's essay on Patty Hearst is a great read. Her essay on the Clinton / Lewinsky debacle was good though not as interesting. The one on terrorism got a bit tedious. Perhaps, the further removed we are from some things, the more clearly we can see them.
I'm giving this book 5 stars only because I know that if I don't Didion will track me down and kill me in my sleep.
A nice collection of Didion's work. I have been given a taste of several books, and I am hungry for more!
oh, how i love didion...
Love her political writings.
structural violence in prose
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Joan Didion 1 2 May 16, 2012 11:22AM  
  • My Less Than Secret Life: A Diary, Fiction, Essays
  • The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning
  • Essays
  • Writing In An Age Of Silence
  • Living For Change: An Autobiography
  • A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Reexamined as Grotesque Crippling Disease and Other Cultural Revelations
  • The Disappointment Artist
  • Self-Consciousness
  • Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector
  • The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government
  • The Size of Thoughts: Essays and Other Lumber
  • With Borges
  • Sweet and Vicious
  • Prime of Life
  • We Don't Need Another Wave: Dispatches from the Next Generation of Feminists
  • The Wisdom of No Escape: And the Path of Loving Kindness
  • Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook: Uncollected Stories and Essays, 1944-1990
  • The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds
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 Blue Nights Play It as It Lays The White Album

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“What these men represented was not 'The West' but what was for this century a relatively new kind of monied class in America, a group devoid of social responsibilities because their ties to any one place had been so attenuated.” 4 likes
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