Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Year of Magical Thinking

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Year of Magical Thinking

by Joan Didion

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2005, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2007, 214 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

Joan Didion was born in Sacramento, California in 1934, and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1956. She is the author of five novels and eight books of non-fiction. Her 1968 collection of essays, Slouching Toward Bethlehem and her book, The White Album (1979), made her famous as an observer of American politics and culture with a distinctive style that mixed personal reflection with social analysis. In 2001 she published Political Fictions which targeted political conservatives with pieces aimed at Newt Gingrich and the Religious Right. This was a radical shift from her earlier writing which had ridiculed various aspects of liberalism. She attributed her shift in opinion to the Republican Party's own shift away from the values of an earlier generation; specifically the values espoused by Barry Goldwater, a five-term Senator from Arizona, and the Republican Presidential candidate in 1964 (losing to Lyndon B Johnson). Goldwater was a founding figure in the modern USA conservative movement and personified the shift in balance of American culture from Northeast to West.

John Gregory Dunne (1932 - 2003), younger brother of author Dominick Dunne, worked as a journalist at Time magazine after graduating from Princeton University. Following their marriage in 1964, Joan and he collaborated on a number of screenplays including A Star Is Born (1976) and True Confessions (1981), adapted from his 1977 novel of the same name. He was a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books; many of his essays are collected in Quintana & Friends and Crooning. His twelfth book, a novel titled Nothing Lost, was published posthumously in 2004.

Quotes from Joan Didion

  • The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs.
  • Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power.
  • The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to their dream.

Additional Links:

This article was originally published in November 2005, and has been updated for the February 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Caught in the Revolution
    Caught in the Revolution
    by Helen Rappaport
    So taken were BookBrowse's First Impression reviewers by the inside look at the start of the Russian...
  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dark Flood Rises
    The Dark Flood Rises
    by Margaret Drabble
    Margaret Drabble, the award-winning novelist and literary critic who is approaching eighty and ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Mercies in Disguise
    by Gina Kolata

    A story of hope, a family's genetic destiny, and the science that rescued them.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -