Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Year of Stalking Joan Didion

It's one of those instances where you first hear about something - a word or phrase or a person's name - and then suddenly you hear it everywhere.

Such is my relationship with Joan Didion.

A few months ago The New York Times Sunday magazine published a rather lengthy excerpt from her new book The Year of Magical Thinking. I was captivated by it, spending half the day learning about her and husband's writing careers, the books they published, where they ate, lived, their relationship with their daughter, Quintana Roo.

The book captures the year Joan spent alone after the 2003 death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne.

I had never heard of Joan Didion before, even though she (along with her husband) is a very successful American writer. But up until that Sunday Times article, her name had not crossed my path.

Then after reading the excerpt of her book, the New York Times Book Review reviewed the novel. A week or so later I saw her show up again in a 1996 Q and A with Dave Eggers (A Heart Breaking Work of Staggering Genius) for Salon.com.

And again, earlier this month was I looking through a copy of Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song and, low and behold, portions of a review Didion had written about the book were published inside.

Then Friday, it happened again. I was reading about Bob Woodward's involvement in the Valerie Plame debacle when a headline from Poynter.org caught my attention: "Best thing ever written about Woodward... Is Didion's Profile from '96."

Now, not only do I know her name, she is everywhere.

(Update: Didion appears again in last Sundays New York Times book review in a book by Marc Weingarten titled "The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight." It's about "new journalism" writers from the 1960s - Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson and of course Joan Didion.)


Sue said...

Speaking of books, you have an amazon box that arrived at the office! (I could bring it back to Hyde Park with me so you don't have to come downtown to pick it up.) Just call and let me know if you want me to. :)

Gina said...

Yay! I'll just come to the office to get it. Thanks Sue.