Joan Didion is an American author who has written a variety of fiction and non-fiction works throughout her career. She got her start in the 1960s writing about the counterculture and the Hollywood lifestyle. She has also written extensively about politics. She is best known as the author of Play It As It Lays and The Year of Magical Thinking.

Didion has received numerous accolades throughout her career. The Year of Magical Thinking was awarded the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2005 and she was also the recipient of the National Book Foundation’s annual Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. She was also presented the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Run River (1963)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Play It As It Lays (1970)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
A Book of Common Prayer (1977)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Democracy (1984)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
The Last Thing He Wanted (1996)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price

Publication Order of Collections

Vintage Didion (2004)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
The 1960s & 70s (2019)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
The White Album (1979)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Salvador (1983)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Miami (1987)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Some Women (With: Robert Mapplethorpe) (1990)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
After Henry (1992)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Sentimental Journeys (1993)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Perspectives on the Individual (1998)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Political Fictions (2001)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Fixed Ideas (2003)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Where I Was From (2003)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Live and Learn (2005)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
The Year of Magical Thinking (2005)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live (2006)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Blue Nights (2011)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Insider Baseball (2016)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
South and West (2017)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Collected Essays (2018)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price
Let Me Tell You What I Mean (2021)Best Hardcover PriceBest Paperback PriceBest Kindle Price

If You Like Joan Didion Books, You’ll Love…

Play It As It Lays is Didion’s classic novel that works as a ruthles dissection of American life in the late 1960s. The story follows a woman named Maria Wyeth. She is a former model and actress whose life is in shambles. Her marriage is damaged beyond repair and her daughter was born with brain issues. She finds little solace in her friendships or love affairs, and decides to make a run for it by hitting the road and driving until the gas runs out.

Later in life, Didion would write The Year of Magical Thinking. The book is an intensely personal memoir about the death of her husband and her daughter getting very sick in the hospital around the same time. The book is Didion’s attempt to make sense of this awful experience while confronting her own feelings about death and her family. The book was later turned into a one-woman stage play and has been optioned for film. She would follow this book up with Blue Nights in 2011 that delved deeper into her relationship with her daughter.

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