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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Children of the Land
    Children of the Land
    by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
    In this exquisitely crafted memoir, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo describes coming of age as a young ...
  • Book Jacket: A Good Neighborhood
    A Good Neighborhood
    by Therese Anne Fowler
    After fictionalized biographies of Zelda Fitzgerald (Z, 2013) and Alva Vanderbilt (A Well-Behaved ...
  • Book Jacket: Little Gods
    Little Gods
    by Meng Jin
    Little Gods, Meng Jin's intricate, emotionally intelligent debut, opens with a scene in which ...
  • Book Jacket: The Truants
    The Truants
    by Kate Weinberg
    The Truants opens with Jess Walker, a first-year university student in Norfolk, England, ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    American Dirt
    by Jeanine Cummins

    A new American classic, and the first book to ever score a perfect 5-stars in BookBrowse's early reader program!
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Sun Down Motel
    by Simone St. James

    The chilling new novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
American Dirt
by Jeanine Cummins

"American Dirt is a Grapes of Wrath for our times."
—Don Winslow

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Lost Family

The Lost Family
by Libby Copeland

A deeply reported look at the rise of home genetic testing and the seismic shock it has had on individual lives.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A F I Need I A F I

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.