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. Several days before Christmas 2003, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall ill with what seemed at first flu, then pneumonia, then complete septic shock. She was put into an induced coma and placed on life support. Days later–the night before New Year’s Eve–the Dunnes were just sitting down to dinner after visiting the hospital when John Gregory Dunne suffered a massive and fatal coronary. In a second, this close, symbiotic partnership of forty years was over. Four weeks later, their daughter pulled through. Two months after that, arriving at LAX, she collapsed and underwent six hours of brain surgery at UCLA Medical Center to relieve a massive hematoma. This powerful book is Didion’ s attempt to make sense of the “weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness . . . about marriage and children and memory . . . about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself.”
A Cool Customer
Author: Jacob Bacharach
Literary Nonfiction. Essay. Reading Joan Didion's iconic memoir The Year of Magical Thinking, Jacob Bacharach's thoughts are never far from his brother, Nate, who died of an opioid addiction. Although he tries to be a "a cool customer" like Didion, he finds Nate's story breaking through the text, stirring memories of their tight-knit childhood and defying his attempts to find "the truth" about a tragic death. In A COOL CUSTOMER, Bacharach turns The Year of Magical Thinking into a blueprint for grief and self-discovery that anyone can follow. This book is part of a new series from Fiction Advocate called Afterwords.
This enhanced eBook edition of Blue Nights includes three short films directed by Griffin Dunne and starring Joan Didion. Each film blends Didion's incisive prose with images and mementos from her daughter's life. From one of our most powerful writers, Blue Nights is a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter. Richly textured with bits of her own childhood and married life with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and daughter, Quintana Roo, this new book by Joan Didion examines her thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness, and growing old. Blue Nights opens on July 26, 2010, as Didion thinks back to Quintana’s wedding in New York seven years before. Today would be her wedding anniversary. This fact triggers vivid snapshots of Quintana’s childhood—in Malibu, in Brentwood, at school in Holmby Hills. Reflecting on her daughter but also on her role as a parent, Didion asks the candid questions any parent might about how she feels she failed either because cues were not taken or perhaps displaced. “How could I have missed what was clearly there to be seen?” Finally, perhaps we all remain unknown to each other. Seamlessly woven in are incidents Didion sees as underscoring her own age, something she finds hard to acknowledge, much less accept. Blue Nights—the long, light evening hours that signal the summer solstice, “the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but also its warning”—like The Year of Magical Thinking before it, is an iconic book of incisive and electric honesty, haunting and profoundly moving.
“this happened on December 30, 2003. That may seem a while ago but it won’t when it happens to you . . .” In this dramatic adaptation of her award-winning, bestselling memoir (which Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times called “an indelible portrait of loss and grief . . . a haunting portrait of a four-decade-long marriage), Joan Didion transforms the story of the sudden and unexpected loss of her husband and their only daughter into a stunning and powerful one-woman play. The first theatrical production of The Year of Magical Thinking opened at the Booth Theatre on March 29, 2007, starring Vanessa Redgrave and directed by David Hare. From the Trade Paperback edition.
South and West
Author: Joan Didion
From the best-selling author of the National Book Award-winning The Year of Magical Thinking: two extended excerpts from her never-before-seen notebooks--writings that offer an illuminating glimpse into the mind and process of a legendary writer. Joan Didion has always kept notebooks: of overheard dialogue, observations, interviews, drafts of essays and articles--and here is one such draft that traces a road trip she took with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, in June 1970, through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. She interviews prominent local figures, describes motels, diners, a deserted reptile farm, a visit with Walker Percy, a ladies' brunch at the Mississippi Broadcasters' Convention. She writes about the stifling heat, the almost viscous pace of life, the sulfurous light, and the preoccupation with race, class, and heritage she finds in the small towns they pass through. And from a different notebook: the "California Notes" that began as an assignment from Rolling Stone on the Patty Hearst trial of 1976. Though Didion never wrote the piece, watching the trial and being in San Francisco triggered thoughts about the city, its social hierarchy, the Hearsts, and her own upbringing in Sacramento. Here, too, is the beginning of her thinking about the West, its landscape, the western women who were heroic for her, and her own lineage, all of which would appear later in her acclaimed 2003 book, Where I Was From. One of TIME’s most anticipated books of 2017 One of The New York Times Book Review's “What You’ll Be Reading in 2017” Incldued among the Best Books of March 2017 by both LitHub and Signature
Author: Joan Didion
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. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Play It as It Lays
Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Open Road Media
A harrowing tale of Hollywood, Las Vegas, and a young woman in pursuit of oblivion by the New York Times–bestselling author of The White Album. Spare, elegant, and terrifying, Play It as It Lays is the unforgettable story of a woman and a society come undone. Raised in the ghost town of Silver Wells, Nevada, Maria Wyeth is an ex-model and the star of two films directed by her estranged husband, Carter Lang. But in the spiritual desert of 1960s Los Angeles, Maria has lost the plot of her own life. Her daughter, Kate, was born with an “aberrant chemical in her brain.” Her long-troubled marriage has slipped beyond repair, and her disastrous love affairs and strained friendships provide little comfort. Her only escape is to get in her car and drive the freeway—in the fast lane with the radio turned up high—until it runs out “somewhere no place at all where the flawless burning concrete just stopped.” But every ride to nowhere, every sleepless night numbed by pills and booze and sex, makes it harder for Maria to find the meaning in another day. Told with profound economy of style and a “vision as bleak and precise as Eliot’s in ‘The Wasteland’,” Play It as It Lays ruthlessly dissects the dark heart of the American dream (The New York Times). It is a searing masterpiece “from one of the very few writers of our time who approaches her terrible subject with absolute seriousness, with fear and humility and awe” (Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review).
Author: Augusten Burroughs
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
From the number-one bestselling author of Running with Scissors and Dry comes Augusten Burroughs's most eagerly anticipated collection yet: true stories that give voice to the thoughts that we all have but dare not mention. It begins with a Tang Instant-Breakfast Drink television commercial: "Yes, you, Augusten. You were great. We want you." I can now trace my manic adult tendencies to this moment. It was the first time I felt deeply thrilled about something just a fraction of an instant after being completely crushed. I believe those three words "We want you" were enough to cause my brain to rewire itself, and from then on, I would require more than other people....- from Magical Thinking's "Commercial Break" A contest of wills with a deranged cleaning lady. The execution of a rodent carried out with military precision and utter horror. Telemarketing revenge. A different kind of "roof work." Dating an undertaker who shows up in a minivan. This is the fabric of Augusten Burroughs's life: a collection of true stories that are universal in their appeal yet unabashedly intimate, stories that shine a flashlight into both dark and hilarious places. With Magical Thinking, Augusten Burroughs goes where other memoirists fear to tread.
A definitive compilation of essays and nonfiction writings spanning more than forty years includes the author's reflections on politics, lifestyle, place, and cultural figures, including her studies of Haight-Ashbury, the Manson family, the Black Panthers, California earthquakes, Bill Clinton and Kenneth Starr, and much more.
This intricate, fast-paced story, whose many scenes and details fit together like so many pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, is Didion's incisive and chilling look at a modern world where things are not working as they should and where the oblique and official language is as sinister as the events it is covering up. The narrator introduces Elena McMahon, estranged from a life of celebrity fundraisers and from her powerful West Coast husband, Wynn Janklow, whom she has left, taking Catherine, her daughter, to become a reporter for The Washington Post. Suddenly walking off the 1984 campaign, she finds herself boarding a plane for Florida to see her father, Dick McMahon. She becomes embroiled in her Dick's business though "she had trained herself since childhood not to have any interest in what he was doing." It is from this moment that she is caught up in something much larger than she could have imagined, something that includes Ambassador-at-Large Treat Austin Morrison and Alexander Brokaw, the ambassador to an unnamed Caribbean island. Into this startling vision of conspiracies, arms dealing, and assassinations, Didion makes connections among Dallas, Iran-Contra, and Castro, and points up how "spectral companies with high-concept names tended to interlock." As this book builds to its terrifying finish, we see the underpinnings of a dark historical underbelly. This is our system, the one "trying to create a context for democracy and getting [its] hands a little dirty in the process." From the Hardcover edition.
A Book of Common Prayer
Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
An engrossing novel about political and personal life in Central America, from the award-winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking.
Author: John Gregory Dunne
A grisly racial murder in what news commentators insist on calling “the heartland.” A feeding frenzy of mass media and seamy politics. An illicit love affair with the potential to wreck lives. In his grandly inventive last novel, John Gregory Dunne orchestrated these elements into a symphony of American violence, chicanery, and sadness.In the aftermath of Edgar Parlance’s killing, the small prairie town of Regent becomes a destination for everyone from a sociopathic teenaged supermodel to an enigmatic attorney with secret familial links to the worlds of Hollywood and organized crime. Out of their manifold convergences, their jockeying for power, publicity or love, Nothing Lost creates a drama of magnificent scope and acidity. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: William Styron
Publisher: Open Road Media
The New York Times–bestselling memoir of crippling depression and the struggle for recovery by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Sophie’s Choice. In the summer of 1985, William Styron became numbed by disaffection, apathy, and despair, unable to speak or walk while caught in the grip of advanced depression. His struggle with the disease culminated in a wave of obsession that nearly drove him to suicide, leading him to seek hospitalization before the dark tide engulfed him. Darkness Visible tells the story of Styron’s recovery, laying bare the harrowing realities of clinical depression and chronicling his triumph over the disease that had claimed so many great writers before him. His final words are a call for hope to all who suffer from mental illness that it is possible to emerge from even the deepest abyss of despair and “once again behold the stars.” This ebook features a new illustrated biography of William Styron, including original letters, rare photos, and never-before-seen documents from the Styron family and the Duke University Archives.
The Hidden Brain
Author: Shankar Vedantam
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
The hidden brain is the voice in our ear when we make the most important decisions in our lives—but we’re never aware of it. The hidden brain decides whom we fall in love with and whom we hate. It tells us to vote for the white candidate and convict the dark-skinned defendant, to hire the thin woman but pay her less than the man doing the same job. It can direct us to safety when disaster strikes and move us to extraordinary acts of altruism. But it can also be manipulated to turn an ordinary person into a suicide terrorist or a group of bystanders into a mob. In a series of compulsively readable narratives, Shankar Vedantam journeys through the latest discoveries in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral science to uncover the darkest corner of our minds and its decisive impact on the choices we make as individuals and as a society. Filled with fascinating characters, dramatic storytelling, and cutting-edge science, this is an engrossing exploration of the secrets our brains keep from us—and how they are revealed.
In this latest foray into the ailing American psyche, Joan Didion takes her scalpel to inauthenticity and dogma, and lays bare the discrepancies between urban realities and the images peddled by America's attendant quack doctors. Like its great predecessors, 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem' and 'The White Album', 'Sentimental Journeys' is a thoroughly astringent, bracing report on the State of the Union.