Accents of the British Isles
Thanksgiving in Christmastide

Joan Didion, RIP

At this point in my life I find myself sometimes mentally compiling, not a desert island list of books and music, but a nursing home (or, preferably, assisted living) list: the books I would take with me if I had to go live in a very small place with one very small bookshelf. I've actually only read three or four of Joan Didion's books, but The White Album would make the list. Maybe also Slouching Toward Bethlehem. She saw some things that nobody else was seeing in the '60s. And mostly still don't. RIP

In her early years she wrote for National Review, and they've put those contributions online. You can read them here. I haven't read these particular essays, and probably won't get a chance to do so till after Christmas. But if you haven't read anything by her they might be a good place to start. Although I see they are PDFs of scanned copies of old magazine pages, and not all that comfortable to read. 


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One book is all you need.

I ordered this from another library because something I had read about it made it seemed like it was a collection of stories by several authors. It's really a collection of her books. I could barely pick it up.


1160 pages?!?!

Iirc the Library of America recently put out a bumper edition of her works as well. I've got a couple of her paperbacks but haven't read them yet.

Merry Christmas, all! I hope everyone has a joyous and blessed holiday.

Merry Christmas to you, Rob, and ro everyone.


Merry Christmas to y’all, too. Mine is quite subdued, in part because I’ve gotten some kind of mild flu-ish thing. Not Covid, as my wife went out straightaway and bought a test, which came out negative.

Since this seems to be the place for it, Merry Christmas to everyone.

And I hope you feel better, Mac.

Thank you. It's not bad, but it does me not want to do anything, including eat, which is quite an odd thing for me.

Hope you're feeling better, Mac.

I'm reading what I think is the last book Didion wrote, a memoir titled Blue Nights, published in 2011. Very painful about the death of her daughter, but also off-putting because of Didion's unrelenting focus on herself in odd ways, at least to me, things like the labels on dresses, brand names, expensive hotels she stayed in. And I didn't realize until I started reading it how closely -- and happily -- tied into the world of Hollywood she and her husband were.

Oh yeah, they were very much tied in to the entertainment world. That’s implicit in some of her stuff. It isn’t just anybody who happens to be hanging around the studio when the Doors are recording so she can pick up telling moments.

And she clearly likes being rich. Sometimes she can come off as a rich lady appalled by the middle class. Her better work transcends that stuff though.

I’m feeling better , thank you.

She wrote South and West in 2017. I only know that because that's when I first read her work. I didn't get very far in S&W for some reason, and have always meant to get back to it.


Or just read Slouching or White Album instead. :-)

I would like to read more of her stuff but I don’t know when I’ll get to it.

There are a thousand things I want to read.


I hear you.

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