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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...
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...
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.
3.5 starsA bit of a sampler of Didion’s essays from a number of other works. Some feel a bit dated, but overall I was struck by how much I wish journos today wrote more like her. She provides such a breadth of context to the issues she is writing about. Her article on the Central Park 5 (written before their exoneration) is a fascinating exploration of how urban narratives and myth making around the identity of NYC contributed to the coverage and biases around the case and highlight the inconsis...
This was a treat that delved into a lot of American history. Even the El Salvador essay speaks to certain qualities of being an American in the world. They're all to the point and explore things that weren't quite part of the original narrative. From the Central Park Five, to the Clinton scandal and even the aftermath of 9/11, the essays look at the context and impact. They take a dive into the points around that weren't popular to consider. I think this is one of the gifts of much of Didion's w...
I've always liked Didion's writing, and this little reader was a great reintroduction to it. As usual I was a little over my head with some of her political writing, but found it fascinating nonetheless. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the history of 20th century America and its politics. There is also a sharp and brilliant essay from 2002 at the end of the book, about the war on terror, which I think is still relevant now, 15 years later. Full blog post here: https://theselittlewords...
You know how in cartoons, when a smoke catches a character's nose, then the said character starts to dreamily float toward the source? Didion's writing is like that. Except the smoke is not from food, but from her cigarette/joint she's smoking while she's side-leaning on the blackboard, and reporting on some political event with her lips only slightly parting, and while holding a long stick to point out the fascinating details she has listed about the topic. Brilliant writer.
This needs to be essential American reading.
From Patty Hearst to 9/11, Saint Joan digs deeper and better than anyone for her truth.
Her writing on Reagan is eerily prescient of what we're facing with Trump today
this needs to be essential American reading.
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...
The pieces on Ronald and Nancy Reagan ('In the Realm of the Fisher King'), Bill Clinton ('Clinton Agonistes') and the Central Park jogger case ('Sentimental Journeys') are the brightest parts of this anthology, culled from other works - but there really are no missteps here. The sheer breadth of Didion's research is astounding, especially as she reveals the fuzzy thinking of both presidents and newswriters alike. The final essay, based on a lecture given in 2002, 'Fixed Opinions, or the Hinge of...
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.
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.
The first essay is absolutely mind-blowing...the rest felt kind of dated (reading about the beginning of the drug crime and violence in Miami and Central America seems kind of quaint compared to what the situation is now). Probably not the best introduction to her work since it does have "vintage" in the title, but that's on me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Love her political writings.
A nice collection of Didion's work. I have been given a taste of several books, and I am hungry for more!
Such a good writer
oh, how i love didion...
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.