Arguably one of the most important writers of her generation, Joan Didion expertly manages to slip from form to form, including personal narrative, essays, fiction, and screenplays, with subtle precision, stunning imagination, and an insightful intelligence that lingers long after the last line. And while there’s certainly no hope of Didion teaching at your local community college any time soon (i.e. ever), there’s still plenty to be gleaned from her life and work–and, delightfully enough, her list of favorite books.
Written in her own hand and a compelling mix of classics and more modern works, the list certainly offers insight into Didion’s preference in prose. But might we also assume she herself picked up a few pointers from the likes of Bronte and Lowell? It’s an interesting question and one to keep in mind while reading Didion’s recommended reads. Which you should do. Now, if not sooner.