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  • Jul 5, 2010
Many years ago Joan Didion was featured on C-Span's BookTV.  I don't have many writers which register as rock stars, but for me, Didion is definitely one of them.  The show had a call-in period.  I didn't expect to get through, but low and behold after a few busy signals, did in fact get through to ask a question to one of my literary idols.  I wish I could say I asked her a phenomenal, insightful question and that her face showed she was impressed with my knowledge of her work.  But I was so nervous and excited to have gotten through that all I could come up with was, "How do you keep track of your ideas?"  Can you get more blah?  Needless to say, she was courteous and answered a question that I'm sure she's been asked countless times.  For the record, she keeps 3x5 note cards and writes her thinking on them.  It was still a nugget of insight for me. 

I was introduced to Didion's work as a college sophomore in an American Culture course.  We read Slouching Towards Bethlehem.  After this, I was hooked on Didion.  I quickly went looking for her other work and followed up Bethlehem with The White Album.  Both works show Didion's facility as a classic essayist, but it is The Year of Magical Thinking which, to my mind, establishes Didion as a perceptive and powerful observer of human frailty and a woman imbued with the strength to take undramatic, personal human suffering and share it with the world so that it might also draw inspiration from knowing that no one is ever immune from life's hardest tests.  Even so, Didion wants no sympathy. She moves forward, she moves beyond pain.  Magical Thinking is nothing if not a great reference point that any of us, in fact, most of us, are strong enough to suffer unthinkable personal tragedy without losing sight of the grandeur which is found in simple living. 

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More The Year of Magical Thinking reviews
review by . April 03, 2013
Joan Didion, one of America's foremost journalists and writers, tackles a universal experience in The Year of Magical Thinking, that of dying, death, loss and grief. Ever the practitioner of the literary succinct and eloquent-trademarks of Didion's writing style-she explores these themes and global experiences via her own personal tragedies, i.e. the sudden 2003 death of her husband-of nearly forty years of marriage-in their apartment and their daughter, Quintana's severe ill-health. …
review by . April 28, 2010
No Consolation from Grief
   Click here to read the book quotes.      Originally, I read this book as a way to cope with a lot of family deaths that occurred during a difficult time in my life. It was recommended by a user of the Yahoo Cafe Libri Group, but it didn't live up to my expectations. Perhaps the disconnection lay in the fact that Didion suffered from the loss of a spouse whereas my grief was more distant: my cousin, grandmother, uncle, and great uncle all died in relative …
Quick Tip by . July 06, 2010
A great read, and very well-written, but certainly not a book to cheer you up. Read this if you're in the mood for something a bit sad.
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
A fascinating look at grief--how it changes us, how to accept when tragedies happen. A wonderful book.
Quick Tip by . June 15, 2010
Just another new age look at principles that cause people to think they can get something for nothing. That is not how life works.
Quick Tip by . August 28, 2009
The Year of Magical Thinking by iconic writer Joan Didion- tackles grief- a candid, memorable book- couldn't put it down!
review by . February 06, 2009
This whole book describes events and stories throughout the lives of Joan Didion and her family, and it serves as a way for her to express her grief and try to come to terms with the death of her husband of 40 years, all during a year of what she calls "magical thinking."      It's not an entertaining read. It offers some insight on marriage and family, but overall I felt like I was reading something far too personal, a diary of sorts, something that anyone else might write but …
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Tiffany ()
Ranked #1341
I'm a Jane of all trades and master of none. Reading is my business and business always good. I'm hoping to make my way back to school eventually. I don't really like where I live right now, … more
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About this book


The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), by Joan Didion (b. 1934), is an account of the year following the death of the author's husband John Gregory Dunne (1932–2003). Published by Knopf in October 2005, the book was immediately acclaimed as a classic in the genre of mourning literature. It won the National Book Award in November 2005 and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Biography/Autobiography 
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ISBN-10: 140004314x
Author: Joan Didion
Genre: Nonfiction,Autobiography
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Date Published: 2005
ISBN: 140004314x
Format: Hardcover (first edition)
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