Joan Didion and the Blues

Book review: Blue Nights, by Joan Didion (Amazon / Book Depository) …there comes a span of time approaching and following the summer solstice, some weeks in all, when the twilights turn long and blue…suddenly summer seems near, a possibility, even a promise… you find yourself swimming in the color blue: the actual light is blue, and over the course of an hour or so this blue deepens, … Continue reading Joan Didion and the Blues

America’s Dead Girl Fixation and Other Obsessions

Book review: Dead Girls, by Alice Bolin (Amazon / Book Depository) Alice Bolin’s debut essay collection opens with a strong and intriguing premise: what is this obsession America (and beyond) has with dead girls? The murdered or missing blonde white ones of media frenzies; the ones that get forgotten after serving as engines for outrage in programs like Serial; the innocent and martyred ones (or else … Continue reading America’s Dead Girl Fixation and Other Obsessions

A Modern Classic on the Surreality of Mourning

Book review: The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion (Amazon / Book Depository) Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. The question of self-pity. Those words were the first that Joan Didion wrote after her husband’s death. In case you’ve never heard of it, The Year of Magical Thinking is journalistic legend Didion’s highly praised, often … Continue reading A Modern Classic on the Surreality of Mourning

Beautiful Country Burn Again

Book review: South and West, by Joan Didion I am trying to place myself in history. I have been looking all my life for history and have yet to find it. The resolutely “colorful,” anecdotal quality of San Francisco history. “Characters” abound. It puts one off. In the South they are convinced that they are capable of having bloodied their land with history. In the West … Continue reading Beautiful Country Burn Again

Essays on Famous Lives and Perceived Parallels

Book review: All the Lives I Want, by Alana Massey New York magazine columnist and cultural critic Alana Massey writes a collection of strange but compelling essays about “her best friends who happen to be famous strangers.” They’re amusing, some reach impressive analytical depth, and yet they’re inconsistent in hitting their mark or striking the right balance. I found myself thinking at some point during almost every … Continue reading Essays on Famous Lives and Perceived Parallels

Essays On Her Own: Didion After Her Editor

Book review: After Henry, by Joan Didion There’s no other storyteller like Joan Didion. She can take the most boring fact and spin a narrative yarn around it that boggles the mind. She can tie so many elements together in telling a story and making a point about politics, culture, or the identity of a place that reading her essays feels like being schooled in … Continue reading Essays On Her Own: Didion After Her Editor