Play It as It Lays

A Novel
Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 150404567X
Category: Fiction
Page: 240
View: 7821
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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).

Play it as it Lays


Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
ISBN: 0007414994
Category: Fiction
Page: 300
View: 2821
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A ruthless dissection of American life in the late 1960s, from the author of The Last Thing He Wanted and A Book of Common Prayer.

Play It As It Lays


Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Zola Books
ISBN: 1939126177
Category: Fiction
Page: N.A
View: 7431
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“There hasn't been another American writer of Joan Didion's quality since Nathanael West.” —John Leonard, The New York Times. A marvel of compression written in spare, expertly honed prose, Play It As It Lays tells the story of minor Hollywood actress Maria Wyeth, in her early 30s, troubled, and the spiritually arid, drug-numbed world through which she moves. Divorced from her movie-director husband, mother of a little girl, Maria, an ex-model from a tiny Nevada town, is recovering from a breakdown as the novel opens. Via a series of taut, impressionistic scenes, the narrative surveys her path to the present, from a Silver Wells, Nevada, girlhood to Hollywood, a life marked, for Maria, by broken relationships, reliance on pills, and empty sex, and spent among play-acting narcissists. Written by an author with intimate knowledge of Hollywood, and one of our keenest observers of cultural emptiness, Play It As It Lays is harrowing, a brilliant, unsparing exploration of self-destructive lives. The novel’s hyper-vivid settings—Los Angeles during the searing Santa Ana winds, neon Las Vegas, sunblasted desert towns—are essential to its haunting atmosphere, one with hints of impending doom and shriveling sustenance. Here is the first-ever digital edition of a novel Time magazine named one of the Best English-Language Novels from 1923-2005, a strikingly controlled book where Joan Didion discovered the perfect form for her unnerving, transfixing story.

Run River


Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307787753
Category: Fiction
Page: 272
View: 426
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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.

Democracy


Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307787370
Category: Fiction
Page: 240
View: 2409
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Inez Victor knows that the major casualty of the political life is memory. But the people around Inez have made careers out of losing track. Her senator husband wants to forget the failure of his last bid for the presidency. Her husband's handler would like the press to forget that Inez's father is a murderer. And, in 1975, the year in which much of this bitterly funny novel is set, America is doing its best to lose track of its one-time client, the lethally hemorrhaging republic of South Vietnam.As conceived by Joan Didion, these personages and events constitute the terminal fallout of democracy, a fallout that also includes fact-finding junkets, senatorial groupies, the international arms market, and the Orwellian newspeak of the political class. Moving deftly from Honolulu to Jakarta, between romance, farce, and tragedy, Democracy is a tour de force from a writer who can dissect an entire society with a single phrase. From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Last Thing He Wanted


Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307787338
Category: Fiction
Page: 240
View: 9592
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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.

Salvador


Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0679751831
Category: Political Science
Page: 108
View: 3763
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The author recounts her 1982 visit to El Salvador and describes the terror, fear and political repression that permeated the country

The White Album

Essays
Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 1504045661
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 224
View: 8205
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An extraordinary report on the aftermath of the 1960s in America by the New York Times–bestselling author of South and West and Slouching Towards Bethlehem. In this landmark essay collection, Joan Didion brilliantly interweaves her own “bad dreams” with those of a nation confronting the dark underside of 1960s counterculture. From a jailhouse visit to Black Panther Party cofounder Huey Newton to witnessing First Lady of California Nancy Reagan pretend to pick flowers for the benefit of news cameras, Didion captures the paranoia and absurdity of the era with her signature blend of irony and insight. She takes readers to the “giddily splendid” Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the cool mountains of Bogotá, and the Jordanian Desert, where Bishop James Pike went to walk in Jesus’s footsteps—and died not far from his rented Ford Cortina. She anatomizes the culture of shopping malls—“toy garden cities in which no one lives but everyone consumes”—and exposes the contradictions and compromises of the women’s movement. In the iconic title essay, she documents her uneasy state of mind during the years leading up to and following the Manson murders—a terrifying crime that, in her memory, surprised no one. Written in “a voice like no other in contemporary journalism,” The White Album is a masterpiece of literary reportage and a fearless work of autobiography by the National Book Award–winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking (The New York Times Book Review). Its power to electrify and inform remains undiminished nearly forty years after it was first published.

The Year of Magical Thinking


Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307279729
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 240
View: 4951
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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.”

Blue Nights (Enhanced Edition)


Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 0307961370
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 210
View: 7297
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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.

A Book of Common Prayer


Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307787591
Category: Fiction
Page: 272
View: 1616
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Writing with the telegraphic swiftness and microscopic sensitivity that have made her one of our most distinguished journalists, Joan Didion creates a shimmering novel of innocence and evil.A Book of Common Prayer is the story of two American women in the derelict Central American nation of Boca Grande. Grace Strasser-Mendana controls much of the country's wealth and knows virtually all of its secrets; Charlotte Douglas knows far too little. "Immaculate of history, innocent of politics," she has come to Boca Grande vaguely and vainly hoping to be reunited with her fugitive daughter. As imagined by Didion, her fate is at once utterly particular and fearfully emblematic of an age of conscienceless authority and unfathomable violence. From the Trade Paperback edition.

After Henry

Essays
Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 1504045696
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 320
View: 1240
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Incisive essays on Patty Hearst and Reagan, the Central Park jogger and the Santa Ana winds, from the New York Times–bestselling author of South and West. In these eleven essays covering the national scene from Washington, DC; California; and New York, the acclaimed author of Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album “capture[s] the mood of America” and confirms her reputation as one of our sharpest and most trustworthy cultural observers (The New York Times). Whether dissecting the 1988 presidential campaign, exploring the commercialization of a Hollywood murder, or reporting on the “sideshows” of foreign wars, Joan Didion proves that she is one of the premier essayists of the twentieth century, “an articulate witness to the most stubborn and intractable truths of our time” (Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review). Highlights include “In the Realm of the Fisher King,” a portrait of the White House under the stewardship of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, two “actors on location;” and “Girl of the Golden West,” a meditation on the Patty Hearst case that draws an unexpected and insightful parallel between the kidnapped heiress and the emigrants who settled California. “Sentimental Journeys” is a deeply felt study of New York media coverage of the brutal rape of a white investment banker in Central Park, a notorious crime that exposed the city’s racial and class fault lines. Dedicated to Henry Robbins, Didion’s friend and editor from 1966 until his death in 1979, After Henry is an indispensable collection of “superior reporting and criticism” from a writer on whom we have relied for more than fifty years “to get the story straight” (Los Angeles Times).

An Inconvenient Woman

A Novel
Author: Dominick Dunne
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 0307815102
Category: Fiction
Page: 480
View: 5670
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Jules Mendelson is wealthy. Astronomically so. He and his wife lead the kind of charity-giving, art-filled, high-society life for which each has been carefully groomed. Until Jules falls in love with Flo March, a beautiful actress/waitress. What Flo discovers about the superrich is not a pretty sight. And in the end, she wants no more than what she was promised. But when Flo begins to share the true story of her life among the Mendelsons, not everyone is in a listening mood. And some cold shoulders have very sharp edges. . . . From the Paperback edition.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Essays
Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 1504045653
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 361
View: 2951
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The “dazzling” and essential portrayal of 1960s America from the author of South and West and The Year of Magical Thinking (The New York Times). Capturing the tumultuous landscape of the United States, and in particular California, during a pivotal era of social change, the first work of nonfiction from one of American literature’s most distinctive prose stylists is a modern classic. In twenty razor-sharp essays that redefined the art of journalism, National Book Award–winning author Joan Didion reports on a society gripped by a deep generational divide, from the “misplaced children” dropping acid in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district to Hollywood legend John Wayne filming his first picture after a bout with cancer. She paints indelible portraits of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes and folk singer Joan Baez, “a personality before she was entirely a person,” and takes readers on eye-opening journeys to Death Valley, Hawaii, and Las Vegas, “the most extreme and allegorical of American settlements.” First published in 1968, Slouching Towards Bethlehem has been heralded by the New York Times Book Review as “a rare display of some of the best prose written today in this country” and named to Time magazine’s list of the one hundred best and most influential nonfiction books. It is the definitive account of a terrifying and transformative decade in American history whose discordant reverberations continue to sound a half-century later.

The Last Love Song

A Biography of Joan Didion
Author: Tracy Daugherty
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1250010020
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 752
View: 6740
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"Tracy Daugherty delves deep into the life of distinguished American author and journalist Joan Didion in this, the first printed biography published about her life. Joan Didion lived a life in the public and private eye with her late husband, writer John Gregory Dunne. Daugherty takes readers on a journey back through time, following a young Didion in Sacramento, through to her adult life as a writer interviewing those who know and knew her personally, while maintaining a respectful distance from the reclusive literary great." --

Monster

Living Off the Big Screen
Author: John Gregory Dunne
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307817644
Category: Performing Arts
Page: 224
View: 9167
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Monster is John Gregory Dunne's mordant account of the eight years it took to get the 1996 Robert Redford/Michelle Pfeiffer film Up Close & Personal made. A bestselling novelist, Dunne has a cold eye, perfect pitch for the absurdities of Hollywood, and sharp elbows for the film industry's savage infighting. 192 pp. Author tour & national ads. 25,000 print.

Seduction and Betrayal

Women and Literature
Author: Elizabeth Hardwick
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 1590174372
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 224
View: 591
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The novelist and essayist Elizabeth Hardwick is one of contemporary America’s most brilliant writers, and Seduction and Betrayal, in which she considers the careers of women writers as well as the larger question of the presence of women in literature, is her most passionate and concentrated work of criticism. A gallery of unforgettable portraits—of Virginia Woolf and Zelda Fitzgerald, Dorothy Wordsworth and Jane Carlyle—as well as a provocative reading of such works as Wuthering Heights, Hedda Gabler, and the poems of Sylvia Plath, Seduction and Betrayal is a virtuoso performance, a major writer’s reckoning with the relations between men and women, women and writing, writing and life.

In country

a novel
Author: Bobbie Ann Mason
Publisher: Harpercollins Childrens Books
ISBN: N.A
Category: Fiction
Page: 247
View: 5533
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Vietnam's moral fallout is revealed to "Sam" Hughes, an eighteen-year-old Kentucky girl whose father was killed in the war and whose Uncle Emmett may be suffering from Agent Orange

Something to Read About

A Book Club Sampler from Simon & Schuster
Author: Chris Cleave,Philippa Gregory,Sarah Pekkanen,Mira Bartok
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1451658109
Category: Fiction
Page: 88
View: 5858
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Featuring favorite authors and thrilling debuts, Something to Read About: A Book Club Sampler, is the guide for finding your next book club read. Whether you’re in the mood for something historical, contemporary, young adult, or true life these are books you and your reading group won’t want to miss: The Memory Palace: A Memoir by Mira Bartok, Incendiary by Chris Cleave, The Chemical Garden Trilogy Book One: Wither by Lauren DeStefano, The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory, Possession by Elana Johnson, The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball, The Butterfly’s Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe, Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen, and Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. Enjoy an excerpt from each book accompanied by a collection of bonus materials intended to enrich your reading experience and book club discussion. You’ll get discussion questions, suggestions for enhancing your book club, and full-length author interviews. We’ve even included a special note from the author and their answer to our culinary quandary: “What would you serve at a book club discussing your own book?” Their menu suggestions range from a family recipe for the “Best Ever Refritos” to a “Royal-Tea Cocktail” and are sure to add something special to your next book group meeting. The Something to Read About sampler was created to help you discover your next won’t-be-able-to-put-it-down, can’t-wait-to-talk-about-it, all-time-favorite read. And like most of the finer things in life, these stories are meant to be shared. Enjoy!

South and West

From a Notebook
Author: Joan Didion
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 152473280X
Category: Literary Collections
Page: 144
View: 5983
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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