Here is a list of the best Joan Didion books, some I have read myself, some that I did research on, and all have great reviews!
- 1. The Year of Magical Thinking (2007)
- 2. The White Album: Essays (FSG Classics) (2009)
- 3. Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays (FSG Classics) (2008)
- 4. Play It As It Lays: A Novel (FSG Classics) (2005)
- 5. Blue Nights (2012)
- 6. South and West: From a Notebook (Vintage International) (2018)
- 7. Best American Essays of the Century (2000)
- 8. Where I Was From (2004)
- 9. Political Fictions (2002)
- 10. After Henry (1993)
- 11. A Book of Common Prayer (1995)
- 12. Run River (1994)
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1. The Year of Magical Thinking (2007)
From one of America’s iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage–and a life, in good times and bad–that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child….
2. The White Album: Essays (FSG Classics) (2009)
First published in 1979, The White Album records indelibly the upheavals and aftermaths of the 1960s. Examining key events, figures, and trends of the era―including Charles Manson, the Black Panthers, and the shopping mall―through the lens of her own spiritual confusion, Joan Didion helped to define mass culture as we now understand it. Written with a commanding sureness of tone and linguistic precision, The White Album is a central text of American reportage and a classic of American autobiography….
The first nonfiction work by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era, Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem remains, decades 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 a Death Valley motel room, and, especially, the essence of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, the heart of the counterculture….
A ruthless dissection of American life in the late 1960s, Joan Didion’s Play It as It Lays captures the mood of an entire generation, the ennui of contemporary society reflected in spare prose that blisters and haunts the reader. Set in a place beyond good and evil—literally in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and the barren wastes of the Mojave Desert, but figuratively in the landscape of an arid soul—it remains more than three decades after its original publication a profoundly disturbing novel, riveting in its exploration of a woman and a society in crisis and stunning in the…
5. Blue Nights (2012)
From one of our most powerful writers, a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter.Richly textured with memories from her own childhood and married life with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and daughter, Quintana Roo, this new book by Joan Didion is an intensely personal and moving account of her thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness and growing old.As she reflects on her daughter’s life and on her role as a parent, Didion grapples with the candid questions that all parents face, and contemplates her age, something she finds hard to acknowledge, much less accept. Blue Nights—the long, light…
Joan Didion has always kept notebooks—of overheard dialogue, interviews, drafts of essays, copies of articles. South and West gives us two extended excerpts from notebooks she kept in the 1970s; read together, they form a piercing view of the American political and cultural landscape. “Notes on the South” traces a road trip that she and her husband, John Gregory Dunne, took through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Her acute observations about the small towns they pass through, her interviews with local figures, and their preoccupation with race, class, and heritage suggest a…
7. Best American Essays of the Century (2000)
Best American Essays of Century by Joyce Carol Ed. Oates and Robert Ed. Atwan. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,2000…
8. Where I Was From (2004)
In her moving and insightful new book, Joan Didion reassesses parts of her life, her work, her history and ours. A native Californian, Didion applies her scalpel-like intelligence to the state’s ethic of ruthless self-sufficiency in order to examine that ethic’s often tenuous relationship to reality.Combining history and reportage, memoir and literary criticism, explores California’s romances with land and water; its unacknowledged debts to railroads, aerospace, and big government; the disjunction between its code of individualism and its fetish for prisons….
9. Political Fictions (2002)
In these coolly observant essays, Joan Didion looks at the American political process and at “that handful of insiders who invent, year in and year out, the narrative of public life.” Through the deconstruction of the sound bites and photo ops of three presidential campaigns, one presidential impeachment, and an unforgettable sex scandal, Didion reveals the mechanics of American politics. She tells us the uncomfortable truth about the way we vote, the candidates we vote for, and the people who tell us to vote for them. These pieces build, one on the other,…
10. After Henry (1993)
In her latest forays into the American scene, Joan Didion covers ground from Washington to Los Angeles, from a TV producer’s gargantuan "manor" to the racial battlefields of New York’s criminal courts. At each stop she uncovers the mythic narratives that elude other observers: Didion tells us about the fantasies the media construct around crime victims and presidential candidates; she gives us new interpretations of the stories of Nancy Reagan and Patty Hearst; she charts America’s rollercoaster ride through evanescent booms and hard times that won’t go away. A bracing amalgam of skepticism and sympathy, is further…
11. A Book of Common Prayer (1995)
Writing with the telegraphic swiftness and microscopic sensitivity that have made her one of our most distinguished journalists, Joan Didion creates a shimmering novel of innocence and evil. is the story of two American women in the derelict Central American nation of Boca Grande. Grace Strasser-Mendana controls much of the country’s wealth and knows virtually all of its secrets; Charlotte Douglas knows far too little. "Immaculate of history, innocent of politics," she has come to Boca Grande vaguely and vainly hoping to be reunited with her fugitive…
12. Run River (1994)
Joan Didion’s electrifying first novel is a haunting portrait of a marriage whose wrong turns and betrayals are at once absolutely idiosyncratic and a razor-sharp commentary on the history of California. Everett McClellan and his wife, Lily, are the great-grandchildren of pioneers, and what happens to them is a tragic epilogue to the pioneer experience, a story of murder and betrayal that only Didion could tell with such nuance, sympathy, and suspense….
Best Joan Didion Books You Must Read
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Let Me Tell You What I Mean
Author(s): Joan Didion
ID: 2900903, Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Year: 2021, Size: 372 Kb, Format: epub
Neoliberal Nonfictions: The Documentary Aesthetic from Joan Didion to Jay-Z
Author(s): Daniel Worden
ID: 2819285, Publisher: University of Virginia Press, Year: 2020, Size: 7 Mb, Format: epub
Philosophy and Vulnerability: Catherine Breillat, Joan Didion, and Audre Lorde
Author(s): Matthew R. McLennan
ID: 2332770, Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic, Year: 2019, Size: 600 Kb, Format: epub
Please note that this booklist is not definite. Some books are absolutely record-breakers according to Chicago Tribune, others are composed by unknown authors. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant resources you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.