Joan Didion

50 Books to Cure Heartbreak

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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.
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Some Other Joan Didion Kickstarter Rewards We’d Like to See

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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.
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50 Cultural Icons on Their Favorite Books

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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

50 Essays Guaranteed to Make You a Better Person

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It’s hard to be a person in the world today — or, really, any day, but today’s what we’ve got. Humans are striving creatures, and also empathetic ones, so most of us are always looking for an opportunity to improve ourselves, even in tiny, literary ways. We’ve already established that novels can make you a better person, but of course, novels also take you down a long winding road to get there. If you’re looking for a more direct shot to the heart, try an essay. After the jump, you’ll find 50 essays more or less guaranteed to make you a better person — or at least a better-read one — some recommended by notables of the literary and literary nonfiction world, some recommended by yours truly, incessant consumer of the written word. Don’t see the essay that changed your life? Please do add it to the list.
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Susan Hashtag, Oh No She Didion’t, and Other Punny Illustrations of Cultural Icons

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Catherine Pearson’s Vaguely Important People series offers irreverent twists on subjects most would consider very important: from W.B. Yeats to Susan Sontag, Pearson tweaks art museum and college bookshelf staples into playful, pun-laden illustrations. Considering Sontag’s views on photography, we don’t imagine she’d be too happy with her portrait as a selfie-taking hashtag addict, but along with “DJ W.B. Beatz” and “Jane Birkinstock,” she’s certainly in good company. All of Pearson’s prints are available for purchase here; click through for a look at a sampling of her VIPs.
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25 Books Every Writer Should Read

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The hard work, the MFA vs. NYC debate, the negativity, the importance of a good Twitter account, the parties you have to go to, the readings you have to do, the people you should meet, the agents you need to impress — amid all the different ways writers have found to obsess over what it takes to be successful, we sometimes forget the most important thing of all: great writers need to be great readers. Of course, you can’t read everything, but once you’ve moved past the totally obvious titles, consider adding these 25 books to your TBR …Read More

Listen to 15 Literary Icons Reading Their Own Work

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One of the most important experiences you can have with your favorite author is to hear them read aloud from their works. But many of us will never get the chance to see our most beloved writer in the flesh. So, after the jump is a collection of 15 writers — some alive, some long gone — reading their own words (all fiction, with the exception of William Faulkner, whose Nobel Prize speech is included because it’s now often taught alongside his novels and stories, and Joan Didion’s memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking). 
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50 Novels Guaranteed to Make You a Better Person

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It’s a new year, and resolutions are flying left and right. Here’s one that’s always on everyone’s mind, beginning of the year or no: how to be a better person. Well, since science keeps proving that reading literary fiction accomplishes that very fact, why not attack a novel in order to spruce up your heart and mind? Click through for 50 novels to make you kinder, cleverer, more productive, and a whole lot more open to the experience of …Read More