Despite my complaints which are pretty book specific , I will definitely check out some of the authors other books in the future. May 14, Lauren rated it it was amazing Shelves: essays , travel-north-america , culture , library. Setting: Deep South roadtrip - Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama Didion takes one month to travel the rural south to better understand "the west". She sees these two cardinal directions as linked in the American psyche, and forges that link more intricately in this piece. Three-quarters of the book are devoted to her travels in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, with only the last section more fully describing her own experiences of "West", coming of age in California.
Her writing is so effo Setting: Deep South roadtrip - Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama Didion takes one month to travel the rural south to better understand "the west". Her writing is so effortless. It took me too long to get around to this literary giant, but I am glad I finally did and look forward to many more encounters.
Jun 23, Claire Reads Books rated it really liked it. Joan Didion is perhaps the Platonic ideal of a coastal elite, which makes this collection of notes, observations, and musings on the Deep South all written during a month-long sojourn in the summer of particularly fascinating. Toward the end there are also som Joan Didion is perhaps the Platonic ideal of a coastal elite, which makes this collection of notes, observations, and musings on the Deep South all written during a month-long sojourn in the summer of particularly fascinating.
Mar 08, Rachel Dows rated it it was amazing. Oh my. Today was a terrible, horrible, truly exceptionally bad day. So, of course, I went to the bookstore. I knew Joan Didion had released a new essay collection and I decided to treat myself to the hardcover instead of waiting for paperback. And boy was it worth it.
South and West: From a Notebook (OME B-Format) [Paperback]
The moment I dove into her prose I was no longer a stressed-out, sleep-deprived member of the proletariat; rather, I entered the world of Joan Didion's observation. First, New Orleans. Ohh, New Orleans. Somehow Didion has the ability Oh my. Somehow Didion has the ability to drag a reader into her experience and show us the world as she saw it in the summer of The West, a bit more sentimental, reasonably so, as it was her home for many years. A truly exceptional work.
Read it, please. Upon yet another reread: Still brilliant.
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Still a moment of peace in a world where that's becoming increasingly hard to find. Joan Didion is possibly the best ethnographer in the United States. This book gives brilliant profiles, especially of the Deep South. It was written in but is amazingly prescient of the country after the presidential election. Her intuitions are dead on, and sometimes she gathers more information just from hanging out and listening than she does from research. Everyone should read this very short book.
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It's amazing and beautifully written. May 29, Kasa Cotugno rated it really liked it Shelves: genre-biography-memoir , genre-essay , loc-usa-ca-n , loc-usa-south. Thanks to Joan Didion for deciding to have this published. A year old notebook of observations about the American South written as she and her husband traveled there in the 's. Oct 18, Catherine Kraemer rated it it was amazing. Brief, beautifully written, rife with gorgeously detailed descriptions of southern life and culture in I always enjoy Didion's writing, and this was no exception.
Dec 30, Julie rated it really liked it Shelves: essays-philosophy , writing , s , california. Damn, I love reading notebooks from really good writers. They are always so well written. Oftentimes better written than some lessor writers final drafts.
Joan Didion: life after death
Virginia Woolf always made me think that when reading her diaries. As the title suggests, the notes are of her time in the s traveling in the south and than several years later in California. The notes are for articles that never happened. The author's thought was that if she could understand the south she could understand something about Damn, I love reading notebooks from really good writers.
The author's thought was that if she could understand the south she could understand something about California. She explains it like this: I would understand something about California, because a lot of the California settlers came from the border south. It is a counterintuitive theory, for the south and the west represent the piles of American experience - the south drowning in its past, the west looking ahead to distant frontiers in a spirit of earnest, eventual optimism.
The future always looks good in the golden land. Some dreamers of the golden dream, because no one remembers the past. In the south no one can forget it. Most of the notes are of her impressions of the south during a month in the summer of She visited San Francisco in to cover the Patty Hearst trial but ended up wanting to write about her childhood instead.
The author started her road trip in New Orleans and her description is epic. She then headed to Alabama where she overheard a girl tell another girl, "I'm gonna run off and get married. I don't care who. There are some great quotes. Her impressions are like a skeleton key to what it was like back then.
South and West: From a Notebook by Joan Didion review – back to the future of the US
The political and social commentary from were fascinating and disheartening as in a conversation she had with a gentleman in Mississipi: He talked about his town, how there was racial harmony because there were no black activists. He also said just because of discrimination no special treatment should be given now, it's just a matter of educating and getting the skills up for blacks.
Keep standards high and they get in once they meet those high standards. This was , but it seems this could have been said yesterday. In Birmingham, she noted that sports was the opiate of the people and how the big porches and windows weren't being built anymore because of air conditioning.
That just seemed sad. She noted the curious ambivalence of the constant talk about wanting industry. She asks: Is not wanting industry a death wish, or is wanting it? This made me think of how Trump wants the good old days of factory jobs. In reality, no one wants to work in a factory if they can make the same in an office job.
In another town, she notes: It seemed a good and hopeful place to live, and yet the pretty girls, if they stayed around Guin, would end up in the laundromat in Winfield, or in a trailer with the air conditioning on all night. In Grenada, Mississippi she describes that graveyards are everywhere and how: Death is still natural and ever present in the south, as it is no more in those urbanized parts of the country where graveyards are burial parks and relegated to unused or unusuable land far from sight.
From graveyards to a cat house: The notion that an accepted element in the social order is a whore house as it goes hand in hand with putting women on a pedestal. There were fireflies, and heat lightening, and the thick vines all around, and we could not see the house until the next day. It was large and private, secluded, set back from the road. I read a book about Faulkoner in Oxford, interviews with his fellow citizens in Oxford, and I was deeply affected by their hostility to him and by the manner in which he had managed to ignore it.
It thought if you took a rubbing from his gravestone, a memento from this place, I would know every time I looked at it that the opinion of others counted for not much one way or another. Down the Delta to Greenville she notes the time warp: The Civil War was yesterday, but is spoken of as if it were three hundred years ago. A quick read of a time capsule of sorts.