Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays
ISBN: 0374521727
EAN13: 9780374521721
Language: English
Pages: 238
Dimensions: 0.4" H x 7.9" L x 5.3" W
Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Format: Paperback
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Book Overview

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Upon its publication in 1968, Slouching Towards Bethlehem confirmed Joan Didion as one of the most prominent writers on the literary scene. Her unblinking vision and deadpan tone have influenced subsequent generations of reporters and essayists, changing our expectations of style, voice, and the artistic possibilities of nonfiction.
In her portraits of people, The New York Times Book Review wrote, Didion is not out to expose but to understand, and she shows us actors and millionaires, doomed brides and naive acid-trippers, left-wing ideologues and snobs of the Hawaiian aristocracy in a way that makes them neither villainous nor glamorous, but alive and botched and often mournfully beautiful. . . . A rare display of some of the best prose written today in this country.
In essay after essay, Didion captures the dislocation of the 1960s, the disorientation of a country shredding itself apart with social change. Her essays not only describe the subject at hand--the murderous housewife, the little girl trailing the rock group, the millionaire bunkered in his mansion--but also offer a broader vision of America, one that is both terrifying and tender, ominous and uniquely her own.
Joyce Carol Oates has written, Joan Didion is one of the very few writers of our time who approaches her terrible Read More chevron_right

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Book Reviews (10)

4
  |   10  reviews
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5
   Probably one of the best books I have ever read
Probably one of the best books I have ever read. I had been meaning to pick it up for a while and finally got around to it when I needed a good beach read. This book is a collection of short stories divided into three sections. There are a few short fictional stories that are very well written. My favorite part of the book is my personal musings about life in general, my philosophical favorite is on self-respect, as it particularly spoke to me at that point in my life. I think this is an essential read for anyone in their early twenties, as it reminds us that there is so much life ahead of us and we are still incredibly young and inexperienced.
 
5
   Joan Didion is a great writer
I find myself reading and rereading this book, just like her later works. I love her delivery of information and expression of feeling, which is always slightly removed and analytical, while paradoxically heartfelt.
 
5
   What goes around, comes around
This collection captures the mood of a period of time in our history. The words are carefully chosen. My recent purchase was a gift... many take me back in time to a much less stable sense of societal well-being. Truthfully, my hypnotic purchase was a gift. I read the book approx. 30yrs, 30yrs. Long ago '', he wrote My copy is so worn out that I should treat myself to a new one. Then I 'll let you know what I think of the book now that we're '' well into the new millennium. I feel confident that it will hold up. Joan Didion rules! Joan Didion!
 
3
   Didion writes well, and some of the initial essays ...
Didion writes well, and some of the first essays are captivating, especially the initial one. I found the second half of the book, however, to be decent and nothing more, but what do I know? I am neither a writer or philosopher.
 
5
   Classic and Wonderful
When you read this book, you enter a different world. It is not the California that you see on television or in People magazine. It is the gritty day to day California life of the 1960s.
 
5
   R.I.P.
I'm not sure I'd read any Didion before her recent death, but was prompted to now. This book is a collection of Ms. Didion's articles from the 1960s, my college days and the early days of my adult life. Today, some of the pieces seem to be a little quaint, while others are more universal. One must keep in mind when they were written and that she was relatively young ; it also helps to have been there, sometimes. Her writing is excellent, yet plain spoken. For some reason, I expected pretension, but that is not the case at all. Honest and straightforward are word's I'd use. If you have never read it, I think this would be a good place to start if you have never read it. The paperback I read was published in 2008 by FSG and is approximately 8 inches by 5.5 inches, but the cover is different than the one shown today on the Amazon website. My cover simply has the author's name and the title of the book on it.
 
1
   Boring!
This is the most boring book I have ever read... more than a bump on a log. If I could have given it no stars, I would have.
 
3
   Okay Boomer
Joan Didion's now iconic collection of essays did more than any other piece of prose to define 1960s California. The prose is crafted masterfully, composed scenes masterfully and a deft sense of balance. Essays ranging from John Wayne to a hippy commune leave you bewildered. This collection is never precious from Didion's occasionally inoperative capacities of political and moral judgment, yet for all the aesthete turnings of her writings this collection is never inoperative.
 
5
   Beautiful reprint edition
Until recently, I did not read Joan Didion until a little later this year. I started the year of magical thinking with The Year of Magical Thinking. I was shocked to read her thoughts on Doris Lessing and the Golden Notebook by Lessing. I had fought for years to read Lessing. No more. I really liked Lessing's early novel In Pursuit of the English, only the early novel In Pursuit of the English, I really liked Lessing's early novel. Now I want to read everything by Didion. Chuck Lessing is back, with Chuck Lessing.
 
3
   Not Didion's best
Didion's best book by a long stretch, but there are still moments of genius. As a casual reader and an enormous fan of the year of magical thinking and blue nights, I have to admit that my expectations were rather high. Nevertheless, some of the essays were hurt by her apparent distance and disconnect from the subject. Occasionally, the wording and imagery were quite striking, but more often I got the sense that she was trying very hard to offer a unique perspective. I particularly missed the frequent references to literature, history, and pop culture, which were woven into her more recent works. TLDR More Amateur, but still okay.
 
1