Slouching Towards Bethlehem
The first nonfiction work by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era, Slouching Towards Bethlehem remains, forty years after its first publication, the essential portrait of America— particularly California—in the sixties. It focuses on such subjects as John Wayne and Howard Hughes, growing up a girl in California, ruminating on the nature of good and evil in...more
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;"
- The Second Coming, Yeats
“I know something about dread myself, and appreciate the elaborate systems with which some people fill the void, appreciate all the opiates of the people, whether they are as accessible as alcohol and heroin and promiscuity or as hard to come by as faith in God or History.”
― Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem
I'm sure at some point Joan Didion will disappoint. I'm positive the ho ...more
"To have that sense of one's intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference."
Somehow, I usually read Didion on a blue night, when it's so bright outside that I open my curtains to search for the moon; instead, what greets me is a pale hue of blue sky. When I read Blue Nights, I had a similar experien ...more
Didion's style is taut, but ...more
I don ...more
The writing exemplifies the sentiments and mood of the counter culture of the 60's, Didion does indeed capture it exceptionally well. Dry and sharply delivered and filled with references and dissections of social issues she is definitely the voice of a generation albeit it comes across a little dated now. I wish I could say I liked this collection as a whole, not all essays resonated with me and left me underwhelmed more often than not, I had high hopes for this so maybe my expectatio ...more
I loved the sheer beauty and rigor and power of the sentences. I'd never read anything by her before but I'd heard great things. I picked this up for 50 cents on a lark and found it to be ideal subway reading.
I don't say this lightly, mind- I spend a lot of time reading on subway ( ars is pretty longa and vita is DEFINITELY brevis ) and having a book that meshes well with the overal mise en scene is key. It might be that Didion seems to be uniquely fascinated with urban landscapes and t ...more
Most of the essays in "Slouching Towards Bethlethem" are wondrous; there were only a few that didn't amaze me. (The piece on the Haight-Ashbury district, for example, dragged on way too long and wasn't as interesting as it would have been when it first appeared in 1967. Similarly, the 1964 piece on Hollywood was so e ...more
Nonostante in un capitolo (questo libro raccoglie articoli usciti su riviste) dal titolo Non riesco a togliermi quel mostro dalla testa, la signora Didion esprima opinioni tranchant su Kubrick, Antonioni, Visconti, Bergman, dimostrando per la prima e unica volta che anche lei può sbagliare, prendere cantonate e dire bestialità, ho amato questo libro e amo profondamente questa meravigliosa scrittrice, sentimento costruito su una breve intensa conoscenza (incontrata per la prima vol ...more
One of my favorites is one called, "On Keeping a Notebook," where the great Didion talks about writing ( ...more
Her parents relocated multiple times during her childhood (her father was in the military), which left her feeling a perpetual outsider.
Her voice is that of a well-mannered young woman, qui ...more
During my first semester at Antioch University, Rob Roberge, in one of his brilliant seminars, made a few comical references to her. Not her writing, but of Didion, or more precisely the cult of Didio ...more
Well, that's how I saw it at the time, ...more
The bulk of the collection consists of mood pieces featuring the California and Nevada ...more
The California of Didion’s essays is a place where a mild climate and a picturesque landscape conceal a social mindset of fear and intolerance, as when a Salinas matron in “Where the Kissing Never Stops” challenges the very existence ...more
But as lovely and thoroughly enjoyable as these essays were, I will always be grateful for a disclosure Didion makes in the co ...more
I use the word "acquaintance" quite literally; Joan Didion's voice infuses the pages of her essays inescapably. Having read this collection, I feel that I have met its author. I don't like her. The woman whose voice overwhelmed me in this collection strikes me as sharp minded, ...more
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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.