MLA Platinum Award Press Release

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

    Readers' Opinion:

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

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

This article relates to The Year of Magical Thinking

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 "beyond the book article" relates to The Year of Magical Thinking. It originally ran in November 2005 and has been updated for the February 2007 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Race Against Time
    Race Against Time
    by Jerry Mitchell
    Jerry Mitchell spent nearly three decades trailing cold cases from the Civil Rights Movement. As a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Resisters
    The Resisters
    by Gish Jen
    Gish Jen's The Resisters depicts a future United States, dubbed AutoAmerica, where climate change ...
  • Book Jacket: The Mercies
    The Mercies
    by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
    It's 1617 and a violent storm has claimed the lives of 40 fishermen off the coast of Vardø, a ...
  • Book Jacket
    Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree
    by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
    Ya Ta, the main character in Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani's novel, Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree, ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Mountains Sing
    by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

    An enveloping, multigenerational tale set against the backdrop of the Viet Nam War.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    I Want You to Know We're Still Here
    by Esther Safran Foer

    "A vivid testimony to the power of memory."
    - Kirkus (starred review)
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Things They Carried
by Tim O'Brien

The classic, ground-breaking meditation on war and the redemptive power of storytelling.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Mostly Dead Things

Mostly Dead Things
by Kristen Arnett

"Hilarious, deeply morbid, and full of heart."
- BuzzFeed

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T Die I C

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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.