We outlet sale Tell high quality Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction (Everyman's Library) online sale

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Includes seven books in one volume: the full texts of Slouching Towards Bethlehem; The White Album; Salvador; Miami; After Henry; Political Fictions; and Where I Was From.

As featured in the Netflix documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold.


Joan Didion’s incomparable and distinctive essays and journalism are admired for their acute, incisive observations and their spare, elegant style. Now the seven books of nonfiction that appeared between 1968 and 2003 have been brought together into one thrilling collection.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem captures the counterculture of the sixties, its mood and lifestyle, as symbolized by California, Joan Baez, Haight-Ashbury. The White Album covers the revolutionary politics and the “contemporary wasteland” of the late sixties and early seventies, in pieces on the Manson family, the Black Panthers, and Hollywood. Salvador is a riveting look at the social and political landscape of civil war. Miami exposes the secret role this largely Latin city played in the Cold War, from the Bay of Pigs through Watergate. In After Henry Didion reports on the Reagans, Patty Hearst, and the Central Park jogger case. The eight essays in Political Fictions–on censorship in the media, Gingrich, Clinton, Starr, and “compassionate conservatism,” among others–show us how we got to the political scene of today. And in Where I Was From Didion shows that California was never the land of the golden dream.

Review

“[Didion’s is] one of the most recognizable—and brilliant—literary styles to emerge in America during the past four decades . . . [She is] a great American writer.”
New York Times Book Review

“One beautiful sentence follows another . . . Didion has remained a clearheaded and original writer all her long life.”
Newsweek

“Her intelligence is as honed as ever . . . Her vision is ice-water clear . . . Didion has captured the mood of America.”
New York Times

“Many of us have tried, and failed, to master [Didion’s] gift for the single ordinary deflating word, the word that spins an otherwise flat sentence through five degrees of irony. But her sentences could only be hers.”
Chicago Tribune

“I have been trying forever to figure out why [Didion’s] sentences are better than mine or yours . . . Something about [their] cadence. They come at you, if not from ambush, then in gnomic haikus, ice pick laser beams, or waves. Even the space on the page around these sentences is more interesting than it ought to be, as if to square a sandbox for a Sphinx.”
—from the Introduction by John Leonard

About the Author

Joan Didion was born in California and lives in New York City. She is the author of five novels and seven previous books of nonfiction.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From the Introduction:
 
“My only advantage as a reporter,” Joan Didion explained in Slouching Towards Bethlehem, “is that I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests.” For awhile there back in the bliss of acid and guitars, she was practically counterrevolutionary, a poster girl for anomie, wearing a bikini but also a migraine to the bon- fires of the zeitgeist. Then as the essays and novels and screenplays proliferated, she turned into a desert lioness of the style pages, part sybilline icon and part Stanford seismograph, alert on the faultlines of the culture to every tremor of tectonic fashion plate. She seemed sometimes so sensitive that whole decades hurt her feelings, and the prose on the page suggested Valéry’s “shiverings of an effaced leaf,” as if her next trick might be evaporation. But always anterior to the shiverings and effacements, the staccatos and crescendos in an echo chamber of blank uneasiness, there was a pessimism she appeared to have been born to, a hard-wired chill. Of the glum T. S. Eliot, Randall Jarrell once said that he’d have written The Waste Land about the Garden of Eden. Likewise it was possible to imagine Didion bee-stung by blue meanies even at Walden Pond.

Still, just because Eliot felt bad most of the time doesn’t mean he didn’t get it exactly right about water, rock and the Unreal City. So was Didion on pure Zen target.

We were neophytes together in Manhattan during the late-Fifties Ike Snooze, both published by William F. Buckley Jr. in National Review alongside such equally unlikely beginning writers as Garry Wills, Renata Adler, and Arlene Croce, back when Buckley hired the unknown young just because he liked our zippy lip and figured he would take care of our politics with the charismatic science of his own personality. Later, ruefully, he would call us “the apostates.” So I have been reading Didion ever since she started doing it for money, have known her well enough to nod at for almost as long, have reviewed most of her books since her second novel, Play It As Lays, even published a couple of her essays when I edited the New York Times Book Review in the early 1970s, and cannot pretend to objectivity. While I might have taken furious exception to something she said—about Joan Baez, for instance: ‘‘So now the girl whose life is a crystal teardrop has her own place, a place where the sun shines and the ambiguities can be set aside a little while longer’’; or such condescension as ‘‘the kind of jazz people used to have on their record players when everyone who believed in the Family of Man bought Scandinavian stainless-steel flatware and voted for Adai Stevenson’’— I remain a partisan. To some degree, this is because she is a fellow Westerner, like Pauline Kael, and we have to stick together against the provincialism of the East. But in larger part it is because I have been trying forever to figure out why her sentences are better than mine or yours . . . something about cadence. They come at you, if not from ambush, then in gnomic haikus, icepick laser beams, or waves. Even the space on the page around these sentences is more interesting than it ought to be, as if to square a sandbox for a Sphinx.

And looking back, it seems to me that The Year of Magical Thinking should not have come as a surprise. All these years, Didion has been writing about loss. All these years, she has been rehearsing death. Her whole career has been a disenchantment from which pages fall like brilliant autumn leaves and arrange themselves as sermons in the stones.

*
 
The most terrifying verse I know: merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream.
—The Last Thing He Wanted
 
As early as The White Album she had her doubts about California, but did her best to blame time instead of space, as in this much-quoted passage:
 
Quite often during the past several years I have felt myself a sleepwalker, moving through the world unconscious of the moment’s high issues, oblivious to its data, alert only to the stuff of bad dreams, the children burning in the locked car in the supermarket parking lot, the bike boys stripping down stolen cars on the captive cripple’s ranch, the freeway sniper who feels ‘‘real bad’’ about picking off the family of five, the hustlers, the insane, the cunning Okie faces that turn up in military investigations, the sullen lurking in doorways, the lost children, all the ignorant armies jostling in the night.
 
But if this geomancer of deracination can be said to have any roots at all, they are here at the edge, on the cliff. She is usually, if not more forgiving, then at least bemused. “Love and death in the golden land” has been one of her themes. Los Angeles she has described as “a city not only largely conceived as a series of real estate promotions but largely supported by a series of confidence games, a city currently afloat on motion pictures and junk bonds and the B-2 Stealth bomber.” In Hollywood, “as in all cultures in which gambling is the central activity,” she would find “a lowered sexual energy, an inability to devote more than token attention to the preoccupations of the society outside.” And there is so much everywhere else: lemon groves and Thriftimarts; tumbleweeds and cyclotrons; Big Sur and Death Valley; Scientologists, Maharishis, and babysitters who see death in your aura; where “a boom mentality and a sense of Chekhovian loss meet in uneasy suspension; in which the mind is troubled by some buried but ineradicable suspicion that things had better work here, because here, beneath that immense bleached sky, is where we ran out of continent.”

Then look what happened when she returned to these roots in Where I Was From, a book of lamentations entirely devoted to California dreamtime—to crossing stories and origin myths like the Donner Party and the Dust Bowl; to railroads, oil companies, agribiz and aerospace; to water rights, defense contracts, absentee owners and immigration; to such novelists as Jack London and Frank Norris, such philosophers as Josiah Royce, and such painters as Thomas Kinkade; to freeways, strip malls, meth labs, San Francisco’s Bohemian Club, Lakewood’s Spur Posse, and a state legislature that spends more money on California’s prisons than it does on its colleges. Didions have lived in California, with a ranchero sense of entitlement, since the middle of the nineteenth century, when Joan’s great-great-great grandmother brought a cornbread recipe and a potato masher across the plains from Arkansas to the Sierras. As a nine-year-old girl scout Joan sang songs in the sunroom of the Sacramento insane asylum. As a trapped teen, she spent summers reading Eugene O’Neill and dreaming about Bennington (although she would graduate instead from Berkeley just like her melancholy father). As a first novelist with Run River in 1963, she blamed outsiders and newcomers for paving her childhood paradise to make freeways and parking lots. But eleven books and forty years later, she decides that selling their future to the highest bidder had been a habit among the earliest Californians, including her own family. If the whole state has turned into “an entirely dependent colony of the invisible empire” of corporate and political greed, the Didions are complicit.

As usual, of course, this bad news is fun to read, in a prose that moseys from sinew to schadenfreude to incantation, with some liturgical/fatidic tendencies toward the enigmatic and oracular, seasoned sarcastically. When Where I Was From was published in 2003, my only gripe as a reviewer was that it omitted so much she’d written about California elsewhere. Ideally, I said, there ought to be a Library of America Golden State Didion, including everything she had ever said about Alcatraz and mall culture, poker parlors and Malibu— where horses caught fire and were shot on the beach, where birds exploded in the air—all the bloody butter on her crust of dread.

Everyman answers that plea with this omnibus. And so we see that Didion is now skeptical not only about her home state, but, like her anthropologist in A Book of Common Prayer, about everything she thought she knew:
 
I studied under Kroeber at California and worked with Levi-Strauss at Sao Paulo, classified several societies, catalogued their rites and attitudes on occasions of birth, copulation, initiation and death; did extensive and well-regarded studies on the rearing of female children in the Mato Grosso and along certain tributaries of the Rio Xingu, and still I did not know why any one of these female children did or did not do anything at all.
Let me go further.
I did not know why I did or did not do anything at all. 

                                                                     *

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4.8 out of 54.8 out of 5
242 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

C. M Mills
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
California here we come in this excellent anthology of nonfiction essays by Joan Didion
Reviewed in the United States on October 10, 2019
Joan Didion (born in Sacramento California in 1934) is a great American writer. This beautiful Everyman edition is an anthology of her nonfiction essays culled from the following Didion books: The White Album, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Salvador, Miami, About Henry,... See more
Joan Didion (born in Sacramento California in 1934) is a great American writer. This beautiful Everyman edition is an anthology of her nonfiction essays culled from the following Didion books: The White Album, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Salvador, Miami, About Henry, Political Fiction and Where I Was From. Didion is a great reporter and interpreter of the American scene. We learn about such topics as Forest Fires in California, life in Salvador and Cuban Miami, the Reagan administration, the history of Didion''s family, earthquakes and life in Malibu among many other topics. Her style is clear and honest making her a joy to read.
I live in Tennessee and have never had the opportunity to visit California but this book made the Golden State come alive for me. The book is over 1100 pages long but is well worth reading from cover to cover. This is an excellent book filled with history, political life and deeply personal essays in which the author muses over her own life struggles. Excellent book in the outstanding Everyman series!
16 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I love her style
Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2017
First time in over 5 years that I read a book from the library and just had to have a copy in my personal collection! Ever wonder what the hec was going on while you still too young to understand? I was born in the 50s and Joan Didion explained in her "no holds... See more
First time in over 5 years that I read a book from the library and just had to have a copy in my personal collection! Ever wonder what the hec was going on while you still too young to understand? I was born in the 50s and Joan Didion explained in her "no holds barred" journalism so many things that changed my viewpoint. I will read anything she puts pen to paper about, I love her style!
44 people found this helpful
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patralink
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A wonderful addition to my library.
Reviewed in the United States on September 18, 2019
I''m a Joan Didion fan. I''m so glad that I finally bought this book for my library, ensuring that I will always have something wonderful to read. This is a thick book but in a compact size. The type is on the small side but still very readable.
9 people found this helpful
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Unclebob53703.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United States on August 2, 2018
All of her essays in one volume, a huge bang for the buck.
12 people found this helpful
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G-money
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This is a fine edition. Printed & bound in Germany
Reviewed in the United States on January 11, 2020
Amazing quality and comprehensive edition. Mine just arrived, and I chose it as an introductory reader for me, for an author who of course is well known for her classics to many of you. So I can''t comment on content, but surely it speaks for itself. If you are looking for a... See more
Amazing quality and comprehensive edition. Mine just arrived, and I chose it as an introductory reader for me, for an author who of course is well known for her classics to many of you. So I can''t comment on content, but surely it speaks for itself. If you are looking for a great collection in hardcover, this is a fine choice, and unbelievable for around $20 on amazon. (dust flap states $35)
2 people found this helpful
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gmesick
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A great collection with a great introduction in a great edition
Reviewed in the United States on April 20, 2012
I am a fan of Joan Didion, the late John Leonard, and Everyman''s Library. Here you get all three. What''s not to like? Joan Didion''s "Goodbye to All That" is a classic personal essay--one of my favorite pieces of writing of any kind. And here, you get that, and... See more
I am a fan of Joan Didion, the late John Leonard, and Everyman''s Library. Here you get all three. What''s not to like?

Joan Didion''s "Goodbye to All That" is a classic personal essay--one of my favorite pieces of writing of any kind. And here, you get that, and all the other essays from her seminal "Slouching Towards Bethlehem"--and every other collection of non-fiction up to the time this collection was released. Read together, you get a sense of America in the latter part of the 20th century, with particular emphasis on California as aspiration, dream, illusion, etc etc.

The introduction by John Leonard is well-done and shows a real understanding of the whole body of Didion''s work.

And then Everyman does its usual fine job of packaging great writing in an attractive package at a reasonable price. Mind you, this is one heavy tome, with seven full books rolled into one (1100 pages). But you want them all. So here they are. Enjoy!
44 people found this helpful
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S.B. Smith
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Five Stars
Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2018
It was a suggested read by my instructor she was right.
10 people found this helpful
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Allen SmallingTop Contributor: Classical Music
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A great collection from a great writer
Reviewed in the United States on February 26, 2015
Here''s a simply wonderful anthology of Joan Didion''s writing -- in essence, an omnibus of all the nonfiction this talented and versatile writer had published throughout her career, up to about 2003. Yes, the print is on the small side. On the other hand, this 1,000-plus... See more
Here''s a simply wonderful anthology of Joan Didion''s writing -- in essence, an omnibus of all the nonfiction this talented and versatile writer had published throughout her career, up to about 2003. Yes, the print is on the small side. On the other hand, this 1,000-plus page volume is hardbound, with a marker ribbon bound in, in best Everyman''s Library style. It is also quite reasonably priced, especially given the Amazon discount. I have given this book to several people who assumed they were familiar with all Didion''s writing but found to their delight there were passages (and occasionally entire books) they had missed. How can you go wrong?
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Top reviews from other countries

Ron
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book in excellent condition
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 30, 2021
Very happy, fast service. Book in excellent condition.
Very happy, fast service. Book in excellent condition.
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Dr. A
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Interesting book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 18, 2020
Well written book from an excellent journalist
Well written book from an excellent journalist
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Tony C (London)
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
beautifully printed. If you like Didion
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 6, 2018
A big fat book, beautifully printed. If you like Didion, then this is excellent value
A big fat book, beautifully printed. If you like Didion, then this is excellent value
One person found this helpful
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Laura McInerney
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 12, 2016
A beautiful binding of exceptional work. It''s huge, though. So make room for it on your shelf!
A beautiful binding of exceptional work. It''s huge, though. So make room for it on your shelf!
2 people found this helpful
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Dellano Rios
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Para entrar na obra e mergulhar nela
Reviewed in Brazil on January 30, 2018
Joan Didion não tem muita coisa em catálogo no Brasil. O que é uma pena. Mas, para quem arrisca ler em inglês, esse volume é uma excelente pedida, porque reúne os sete primeiros livros de não ficção que ela escreveu. Capa dura, papel bom e um preço bem mais em conta do que...See more
Joan Didion não tem muita coisa em catálogo no Brasil. O que é uma pena. Mas, para quem arrisca ler em inglês, esse volume é uma excelente pedida, porque reúne os sete primeiros livros de não ficção que ela escreveu. Capa dura, papel bom e um preço bem mais em conta do que o de comprar os volumes separados. O material cobre os escritos de Didion dos anos 1960 até a década de 1980. Os temas são variados, desde um olhar pessoal sobre a cultura e a sociedade americana na intensa década de 1960 até suas obras políticas. Didion é conhecida por um texto preciso, por uma construção digna da melhor literatura. Seu fazer jornalístico se insere no que se convencionou chamar New Journalism (Novo Jornalismo).
Joan Didion não tem muita coisa em catálogo no Brasil. O que é uma pena. Mas, para quem arrisca ler em inglês, esse volume é uma excelente pedida, porque reúne os sete primeiros livros de não ficção que ela escreveu. Capa dura, papel bom e um preço bem mais em conta do que o de comprar os volumes separados. O material cobre os escritos de Didion dos anos 1960 até a década de 1980. Os temas são variados, desde um olhar pessoal sobre a cultura e a sociedade americana na intensa década de 1960 até suas obras políticas. Didion é conhecida por um texto preciso, por uma construção digna da melhor literatura. Seu fazer jornalístico se insere no que se convencionou chamar New Journalism (Novo Jornalismo).
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Let Me Tell You What I Mean South and West Blue Nights The Year of Magical Thinking We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live The Last Thing He Wanted
From one of our most iconic and influential writers: a timeless collection of mostly early pieces that reveal what would become Joan Didion's subjects, including the press, politics, California robber barons, women, and her own self-doubt. Here are two extended excerpts from notebooks Joan Didion kept in the 1970s; read together, they form a piercing view of the American political and cultural landscape. "A New York Times Notable Book and National Bestseller From one of our most powerful writers, a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter." A stunning book of electric honesty and passion that 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. Includes seven books in one volume: the full texts of Slouching Towards Bethlehem; The White Album; Salvador; Miami; After Henry; Political Fictions; and Where I Was From. An 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.

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We outlet sale Tell high quality Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction (Everyman's Library) online sale

We outlet sale Tell high quality Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction (Everyman's Library) online sale

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