In light of all the recent Joan Didion fetishization, it’s fascinating to visit the exhibit Didion by Wasser, now at New York’s Danziger Gallery. In a small room dedicated to Julian Wasser’s iconic shoot featuring Didion and her Corvette Stingray, you’ll find tear sheets and shots of Didion smiling, laughing, looking uncomfortable and, well, seeming like a regular person. Seeing Didion laugh made me think about what it means for writers to have personal style — whether it’s their own fashion choices or the clothing they write about. Some of our most iconic writers have turned their attention to fashion; here’s our compilation of 25 essential… Read More
Since it’s inevitable that this post — as is unavoidably the case with everything on the Internet today — will at some point become bound and gagged by Fifty Shades of Grey-related content, I figure it’s best to start out with something light and easy: why, this delectable crème caramel from Joan Didion’s recipe book will do! Just imagine slipping golden bite by golden bite into your mouth, noting the gooey goodness, velvety freshness, the melting coolness, the stinging astringency, the saline despair, the flavor that’s, as John Banville once wrote in the New York Times, “measured yet distraught, [like] that of a witness who has journeyed, consciously if not willingly, to the heart of private and, more momentously, public horror in order to bring us back the bad news.” … Read More
How many miles to Brooklyn?
Three score miles and ten—
Can I get there by subway at night?
Yes, and back again—
If your feet are nimble and light
You can get there by subway at night.
It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends. I can remember now, with a clarity that makes me lose my breath, when New York began for me, but I cannot sit this ass on the moment it ended, can never cut through what gets so confusing, baby, to the exact place on the page where the heroine is a grown woman — and can do whatever she wants. … Read More
Everyone knows that, statistically at least, girls read more than boys. But the classic, canonical growing-up books, at least in American culture, tend to represent the male experience — I’m thinking On the Road, The Catcher in the Rye, everything ever written by Bret Easton Ellis or Michael Chabon — and while these are great books, suitable for boys or girls, the question remains: where are the books for girls to grow up on? Well, they’re definitely out there, if perhaps assigned less often in schools to readers of both genders. And so I propose a Girl Canon, populated by books not necessarily for girls but which investigate, address, or represent the female experience in some essential… Read More
Everybody out there could stand to be a little more interesting. Yes, even you, trilingual lion-tamer astrophysicist reader. And you know what makes you more interesting? Books, of course. (You knew it was going to be books, because you’re already a little interesting) But not just any books. Some books have more capacity to raise your interest level than others. Here’s a list of 50 books that will make you smarter, funnier, deeper, and yes, more interesting — at least to some… Read More
The idea of Joan Didion-as-symbol has been floating around in the ether lately. It’s quick cultural shorthand to say that, particularly if you are a middle-class white girl with writerly aspirations, you have good taste in writing, which in the case of “Joan Didion” may also translate to, “I have good taste/I could work for Vogue/I could see the dim future of a rotten decade and take to my bed for days, an aura around my head.” … Read More
When an icon poses iconically for a storied fashion brand, breaking the internet and freaking out fashion girls in the process, then… Read More
Heartbroken? Left alone? Depressed? And right before the holidays? Never fear, because this is no end-of-year list — it’s a list to cure that broken heart of yours. Now, there are as many ways to mend a broken heart as there are to break one, but hopefully this list will contain something for everyone, whether you prefer to muffle pain with laughter, or might take some hope in a happy ending, or just need to wallow. After all, as James Baldwin said, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” So here you go, gang: 50 cures for love, all $25 or less. … Read More
It’s a great day for people who admire and revere the work of Joan Didion, our leading writer regarding the elegiac decay of the modern age. Her nephew, Griffin Dunne, who you may know as an actor (After Hours) and director (including Practical Magic, the best ’90s witch movie), is working on a Didion-approved documentary, We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live, about the writer, and today they announced a Kickstarter campaign, along with a trailer. … Read More
Everybody loves a good book. Yes, everybody — even the rich, famous and culturally relevant. And since there’s nothing better than a book recommendation from someone you already idolize, why not check out which ones they count as their favorites? Maybe you’ll wind up finding out that you have even more in common with Lady Gaga than you thought. Click through to find out which books your favorite cultural icons, from Bill Murray to Joan Didion to Nas, love best — and get to padding that reading… Read More