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)Description / Buy at
Play It As It Lays (1970)Description / Buy at
A Book of Common Prayer (1977)Description / Buy at
Democracy (1984)Description / Buy at
The Last Thing He Wanted (1996)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Collections

Vintage Didion (2004)Description / Buy at
The 1960s & 70s (2019)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968)Description / Buy at
The White Album (1979)Description / Buy at
Salvador (1983)Description / Buy at
Miami (1987)Description / Buy at
Some Women (With: Robert Mapplethorpe) (1990)Description / Buy at
After Henry (1992)Description / Buy at
Sentimental Journeys (1993)Description / Buy at
Perspectives on the Individual (1998)Description / Buy at
Political Fictions (2001)Description / Buy at
Fixed Ideas (2003)Description / Buy at
Where I Was From (2003)Description / Buy at
Live and Learn (2005)Description / Buy at
The Year of Magical Thinking (2005)Description / Buy at
We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live (2006)Description / Buy at
Blue Nights (2011)Description / Buy at
Insider Baseball (2016)Description / Buy at
South and West (2017)Description / Buy at
Collected Essays (2018)Description / Buy at
Let Me Tell You What I Mean (2021)Description / Buy at
Bonds of War (2022)Description / Buy at
What She Means (2022)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Writer on Her Work(1980)Description / Buy at
Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews(1989)Description / Buy at
Florida Stories(1993)Description / Buy at
Writing Women's Lives(1994)Description / Buy at
Writing New York(1998)Description / Buy at
The Eloquent Essay(2000)Description / Buy at
Writing Los Angeles(2002)Description / Buy at
The Little Big Book of California(2005)Description / Buy at
40 Model Essays(2005)Description / Buy at
The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers(2005)Description / Buy at

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.

Order of Books » Authors » Order of Joan Didion Books

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