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Year of Magical Thinking
Year of Magical Thinking | Joan Didion
From one of America s iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage--and a life, in good times and bad--that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child."
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Melkyl
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I haven‘t posted for a long time. My life has been quite a journey for the past few years. In 2018, my husband of 27 years died. It took me a while to find myself after that. In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, I started dating and met the man who would save me. In 2021, I learned my son was ill. In November of 2021, I was married on a Saturday and my son would pass five days later. This beautiful life is not for the weak.

Readergrrl You are so correct about that. Always looking forward. 2w
Chrissyreadit ❤️ 2w
peaknit What a roller coaster, and handled with such grace. Take care ❤️ 2w
See All 13 Comments
AmyG Oh my. Life and be so joyful and so painful. None of us are immune. Sending a hug from one human to another. Glad you are still here. 2w
sprainedbrain ❤️❤️❤️ 2w
LeahBergen ❤️❤️❤️ 2w
quietjenn ❤️❤️❤️ 2w
JessClark78 ❤️❤️ 2w
Leelee.reads ❤️ 2w
Cathythoughts 💔❤️ 2w
Kimzey I‘m terribly sorry for your losses. And glad you have found new love amidst the sorrow. ❤️ 2w
fredamans You are a strong woman. (((BIG HUGS))) 2w
Megabooks 💜💜💜 2w
20 likes13 comments
review
nathandrake1997
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Pickpick

Beginning. This felt like a book about beginnings. But, more about the act of finding a "beginning" than actually beginning something. The search of a beginning being one pertaining to the process of beginning to process grief. How does one after all deal with the sudden absence of someone near and dear to oneself?......(continued in comments)

nathandrake1997 .....How does one try to process the fact that they have to now set two dinner plates instead of three? That they have to book two tickets instead of three? That they have to tick the "widow" checkbox in the "marital status" section of a form? 2w
nathandrake1997 .....Joan Didion writes about loss in a manner that feels achingly personal and clinically detached at the same time. She writes heartbreakingly intimate details about various anecdotes in which Didion has to acknowledge the fact that her husband, John, is no more. 2w
nathandrake1997 ....One of them being the fact that she hasn't given away John's pair of shoes after his passing because she thinks John might need them when he returns home. This "not giving away his pair of shoes" extends to other facets of the life Didion and John shared as well..... 2w
See All 13 Comments
nathandrake1997 .....An especially heartbreaking fact being that the year after John passed away is the year when Joan started recognising that she had aged, since the 40 years she spent with John passed in such a blur that the psychological association of physical tenets of time and space felt secondary..... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....This first year in particular, when John's passing is so unfathomable for Joan that she keeps anticipating his return, forms Didion's "Year of Magical Thinking", a year when, relying on a theory by Stephen Hawking, Didion attempts to reconstruct the exact moment when nothing was the same anymore..... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....As Didion says, and this is not verbatim, "You sit down for dinner and in the next instant, life changes completely". That's exactly what happened in Didion's case as well. She and John sat down for dinner, and that's when John slumped in his seat and immediately slipped into a cardiac arrest, following which he was taken to the hospital and was then pronounced dead.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Along with giving us heartbreaking personal anecdotes, Didion also gives us the clinical side of the ordeal. At multiple occasions, Didion lists the bevy of medical tests and their excruciatingly minute detail down to a T! Maybe that's where one starts processing grief? 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Or is it at the literature they read? Or the films they watched? Or the music they listened to? I remember dad randomly crooning the "Maut aayegi, aayegi ek din" line from "Zindagi, ek safar hai suhana" whenever I think about him. Another music related anecdote being him randomly showing me the music video of "Jeena Yahan, Marna Yahaan" from MERA NAAM JOKER a few months prior to his death..... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Like Didion interpreting her husband's response to art as clues leading to his imminent demise, maybe dad was leaving similar clues as well, clues that I completely missed and now can only sit back, reflect and regret.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....A reason I could interpret as to why Didion's writing feels so achingly raw is probably because of the fact because of just like a person recently bereaved, Didion is probably seeking healing but probably isn't aware where to start.... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Along with the reader, Didion tries multiple avenues, whether it is memories, medical records, art, food, Didion takes her questions to each aforementioned avenue and probably just like most of us, walks out with a bigger plate of questions and seldom and answer..... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Maybe the answer to dealing with a predicament as intimately personal as grief is probably making peace with the fact that finding an answer is an inherently futile pursuit..... 2w
nathandrake1997 ....Didion closes the book with the fact that she is afraid of the fact of the passing of time. She is afraid because with each passing moment, the rawness of what occured might gradually fade and the remnant memory would a hazy, unrecognisable husk of what it once was. 2w
13 likes13 comments
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d.readingnook
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📖 Let Me Tell You What I Mean.
“I admire objectivity very much indeed, but I fail to see how it can be achieved if the reader does not understand the writer‘s particular bias..”

📖 The Year of Magical Thinking.
“Grief is different. Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehension that weakens the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life”

8 likes1 stack add
review
Cathyloves2read
Mehso-so

I did the audio version of this book. I found it to be very sad. Basically, this book tells the true story of a woman who unexpectedly lost her husband. It outlines how she‘s dealt with that loss over the course of a year. Her daughter also spends most of the story in the hospital, very I‘ll. It wasn‘t a bad book, just very depressing.

14 likes1 stack add
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Kayla.Adriena
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From the kitchen of Joan Didion how awesome! Can't wait to try it! Thank you Thank you @TheBookHippie for the recipe and the fantastic book 🥰. Apologies again for the late post ! #RecipeSwap @BennettBookworm

TheBookHippie ❤️ I hope you enjoy it! 1mo
BennettBookworm How cool!! 1mo
22 likes2 comments
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Kshakal
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 💛💛💛 2mo
Eggs 💔😔👍🏼 2mo
25 likes2 comments
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Eggs
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My first Didion book, about the passing of her husband John Dunne. I had just lost my own husband. It was an impressive book, so I read several more of her books

#WeRemember #JoanDidion @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

64 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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GatheringBooks
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#WeRemember Day 14: #JoanDidion‘s book is one of the few I hand-carried with me when my family and I moved from Singapore here to the UAE nearly 3 years ago. Here are the other titles I hand-carried with me along with photos of the 20-foot container holding all our belongings: https://wp.me/pDlzr-kTV

Eggs 💜📚🙌🏻 2mo
47 likes1 stack add1 comment
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caitlin.reads.books
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Pickpick

Sad and beautiful. A few parts were too literary for me with obscure references. But, I don‘t think people talk about the reality of death and grief enough. This book explores it deeply and superficially. Feelings and day to day life. Recommend, 4⭐️

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lele1432
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Pickpick

Really glad I read this through the #Literati book club. A sobering work that addresses how we define a good life, and how we process a sudden death. Despite fame, success, and access to resources most don‘t have, nothing can prepare someone for tragedy at the dinner table. I‘m sure I‘ll come back to this one to help me through grief at some point. 4⭐️s

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lele1432
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“Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it.” 😔

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lele1432
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It‘s been a busy weekend so I‘m just now able to join in on the #FabulousFebruary #readathon. Starting this one today for one of the #Literati book clubs. I love the relatable way Didion wrote. Over the past few years, especially the past 2, I‘ve heard and experienced so many of these life-changing moments, making this a particularly relevant read.

Cathythoughts So good 💫 4mo
Andrew65 Good luck 😊👍 4mo
21 likes2 comments
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sophies_little_library
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Each time we did it I was afraid of missing the swell, hanging back, timing it wrong. John never was. You had to feel the swell change. You had to go with the change. He told me that. No eye is on the sparrow but he did tell me that.

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RebL
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I waver between being envious & impatient with people who mourn. It feels like an indulgence not available to me. What Didion captured in this book that does resonate with me is how absurd it seems to attend to the mundane when a loved one lies dead in the dining room.

22 likes2 stack adds
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Simona
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Pickpick

Deep sadness and grief are familiar to everyone, the feelings that everyone has experienced, but yet these are the same emotions that isolate us from others. Sad, intimate story about loss and isolation …
#nonfiction2022 #unplanned
#19822022 #2005
#booked2022 #writtenByJournalist

Cinfhen Wonderful choice 😍 beautiful review 6mo
Simona @Cinfhen Thanks 😊 I think so too - that this was a great choice for the first book of the year. 6mo
Ruthiella I love Didion‘s writing. ❤️ 6mo
See All 8 Comments
Simona @Ruthiella My first book by her, but definitely not the last. 6mo
Librarybelle Such a great choice! 6mo
Simona @Librarybelle Thank you, I‘m pleased with my choice too 😘 6mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage This book addresses such a difficult topic and Didion does a beautiful job. I pick a copy up to share every time I see one in a used book shop. Sadly, there are always people who can relate. 6mo
Simona @BarbaraTheBibliophage Sadly, yes … and I can see how comforting this book could be. 6mo
65 likes2 stack adds8 comments
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CBee
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What a woman. What a writer. What a loss.

AmyG This one hurts. 😪 6mo
Julsmarshall Such a loss. 6mo
Kimberlone The coolness exuding from the photo 💯 6mo
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CBee @AmyG it does 😕♥️ 6mo
CBee @Julsmarshall tremendous loss 😕 6mo
CBee @Kimberlone every photo I‘ve ever seen of her, she just radiates that. Even as she aged. Just a beautiful woman, in this natural unaffected sort of way ♥️ 6mo
Crazeedi I didn't know! So sad💔 6mo
64 likes7 comments
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Elias1
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Pickpick

Probably the best book I have ever read.
#rip Joan Didion

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Leftcoastzen
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#wishesandblessings #magic
“A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.”-Joan Didion
While trying to process illness & death in her own family, she wrote a powerful book that has lessons for us all on this topic.I love Didions writing , a tough but worthwhile read.

Eggs I read this after my husband passed❤️‍🩹- it is profound 6mo
Leftcoastzen @Eggs I‘m glad it was some comfort? I hope . I passed it on to someone who needed it. 6mo
59 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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rather_be_reading
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Pickpick

Ended up loving this! It was totally not what I thought it was going to be about.

Leftcoastzen An amazing book! 13mo
Cathythoughts I loved this one ❤️ 13mo
40 likes1 stack add2 comments
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rather_be_reading
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Book 80

52 likes1 stack add
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Eggs
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Pickpick

Still writing at 87, and as eloquent as always. Magical Thinking has a #mournful tone but in a different way than you‘ve ever imagined. So elegant. Written after her husband‘s death in 2003, but before her only child-her daughter-died a year later #springsentiments

Crazeedi I've seen this book, but never read 1y
Eggs @Crazeedi Highly recommend! 1y
Leftcoastzen Great Book! 1y
See All 6 Comments
emmaturi I definitely want to pick up some of her books! 1y
Cathythoughts Such a good book ❤️ 1y
Eggs Time for a rereading for me-it‘s universally authentic 😥 @Leftcoastzen @emmaturi @Cathythoughts 1y
78 likes2 stack adds6 comments
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Eggs
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#brokenheart #loveprevails 💔

Losing one‘s spouse is a special kind of broken-heartedness

TheSpineView Yes it is!💔 1y
Elizabeth2 💗Sending hugs your way! 1y
Eggs @TheSpineView @elizabeth2 🥰 ❤️😘 (edited) 1y
71 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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WhiskeyMistress
Pickpick

Diving into 2021 with a bulky January total of 23 books. Ready to see where this year is going to take me. The tagged book was one of my Jan reads and I highly recommend. Fingers crossed I have time to mini review the books I go through for February!

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TheSpineView
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TheKidUpstairs This one has been sitting on my shelf for a long time. Must get to it! 1y
TheSpineView @TheKidUpstairs 😊📚📚📚 1y
71 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Esin
Pickpick

This book felt meditative to read and cathartic to finish... (Mason rec)

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Eggs
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An eloquent portrait of a life with, and the loss of — a #spouse 😔
#thankfulthoughts @Eggs

61 likes1 stack add
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mrroysanchez
Pickpick

A great expression and explanation of mourning that describes how we make things make sense after losing loved ones. “Time is the school in which we learn” how to come to terms with what‘s left in life after death of family and loved ones. An instantly meaningful read for anyone alive.

Cathythoughts Great book ❤️💔 2y
5 likes1 comment
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Eggs
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🌿 Always! We must use our Constitutional voices-we have control over so little else...
🙏🏻 the health and physical ability to travel so I can be with my daughters, sons in laws, and grands 💗

#thankfulthursday @Cosmos_Moon

Klou Thanks for tagging me! 2y
Cosmos_Moon Glad you will see your family 🥰 2y
Eggs @Kshakal 💖 2y
See All 7 Comments
Eggs @Cosmos_Moon Thanks 🙏🏻 2y
Eggs @Klou 😉🤗 2y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks ❤️🇺🇸 2y
UwannaPublishme 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 2y
50 likes1 stack add7 comments
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ChaoticMissAdventures
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Mehso-so

Joan Didion makes me want to smoke & drink a glass of expensive whiskey. She is a mood.
I enjoyed the mixture of biography, medical explanations, & thoughts on grief. But something about this just didn't work for me. Normally I don't mind name dropping or disconnectedness from wealthy people (we lost $50k because we bought a house before knowing we could sale one if our other houses so we ran away to Hawaii to regroup?) I found it annoying here.

ChaoticMissAdventures Starting to put together my October #bookspin and realized I forget to tag @TheAromaofBooks when I finished this September"s #bookspin ? 2y
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2y
25 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Eggs
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“Life changes fast.Life changes in the instant.You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.”

#mortality #septembersenses

sarahljensen I loved this book! 2y
Reviewsbylola So scary. 2y
73 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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AmyG
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Tagged Book
Richard YATES
Young Frankenstein
YES
You Turn Me on I‘m a Radio - Joni Mithell

#ManicMonday #LetterY @JoScho

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Texreader
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Pickpick

#Litsyatoz #letterY

I urge you not to read or listen to this memoir if you‘re struggling w/ tragedy or depression, the opposite of what I expected from the title (I got it because of the title). This is about the deaths of the author‘s husband & only daughter close in time to one another, & how she dealt with it. She accurately describes how we (or at least I) tend to magically think that if we just do something, a different result will occur. ⬇️

Texreader It can be quite superstitious but don‘t you do it, too? For example, she decides if she refuses to throw out her husband‘s shoes, then he‘ll come back. Or if she‘d only done something differently, her daughter would have lived, or could she go back and “fix” it? A good but agonizing tale. I was grateful it was short. Vanessa Redgrave nailed the narration. 2y
Megabooks Thank you. I downloaded this as well and don‘t think is the right time to listen to it for me. 2y
Heideschrampf I read it as a memoir, why does it say PLAY on the cover? Has it been adapted for stage? 😮 2y
Texreader @Heideschrampf Hmmm, I don‘t know. I downloaded the audible version but I can‘t tell if it is from a play or done especially for the audiobook 2y
Texreader @Megabooks Yea, I would have waited. Maybe I should have read the blurb about it first. Oops 2y
65 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Insightsintobooks
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Cathythoughts Such a good book ✨ 2y
wanderinglynn Totally agree with @Cathythoughts 👍🏻 2y
Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick Ooh, tempting. I've been slowly reading through Didion's work and haven't read this one yet. 2y
Insightsintobooks @Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick it's beautiful! You should get it. 2y
41 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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LapReader
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This week‘s op shop finds on the way home from work.

AmyG That Joan Didion book is beautiful and heartbreaking. 2y
Cathythoughts Loved Such A Fun Age 2y
43 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Chr1ss1e
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Life changes in an instant. The ordinary instant.

Cathythoughts I loved this one 2y
3 likes1 comment
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sarahlandis
Pickpick

Joan Didion writes like a poet. Her prose is undeniably captivating. I've only ever read excerpts from her work before and I just had to read more. This book is about marriage and children, but mostly grief and how living life works when unthinkable things happen.

Didion didn't necessarily mean anything good with the word “Magical“ and I love that. She turned the meaning of the word upside down- it is something unnatural, mystifying

sarahlandis hopeful without reason.

She also incorporates words from books and poems seamlessly, which gives her so much credibility as a writer and as a reader, and also motivates me to read and to write more as well.

May or may not have put several of her books on hold at the library after finishing this!!
2y
3 likes1 comment
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janerzy
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Pickpick

Didion is such a cool headed, logical and independent thinker. She investigated and reasoned her emotions dealing with loss and grief, like pealing an onion, to understand grief, and to watch what‘s happening to her what‘s changing inside her, above herself. And she shows you her process of pealing this onion in front you, and it makes you cry too....

What a real, beautiful, sharp, honest writing about love. I LOVE Joan Didion!

BarbaraTheBibliophage I loved this one, despite how tough her experience was. I have an extra copy to give when the time is right. 2y
janerzy @BarbaraTheBibliophage That is so kind of you. Indeed, we thought we knew about grief, but we don‘t know how tough it really is until we experience it...And how to truly support the ones around us who experience it. ❤️ 2y
bookandcat I love this book. I also love her book 2y
janerzy @bookandcat thank you, I will check it out! 2y
6 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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ke1lbe1l
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Pickpick

I had to actively accept and move past the privilege that was so casually oozing between the lines of this text - connections to Ivy-league educated medical professionals, not considering herself of any particular good luck, etc. But having dealt with the grief of losing one parent and managing the serious illness of the other, there were striking moments of relatability in her prose. And it can help to hear how someone else processes it all.

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ke1lbe1l

All year I have been keeping time by last years calendar. What were we doing this day last year? ... I realized today for the first time, my memory of today a year ago is a memory that does not involve John. ... John did not see this day a year ago.

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janerzy
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It‘s May! 🌸 🌱 My plant is growing out new leaf, and I‘m starting out a new book!

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Blaire
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#7days7books Day 1: 7 books that have left a deep impression and changed me.

Blaire Thanks @Cathythoughts for the tag. Not sure who is playing along but if you haven‘t been yet @Mitch @chrissyreadit @crazeedi @microbemom I invite you to play along. 2y
Cathythoughts Great pick 👍🏻 this book definitely was one that has stayed with me ❤️👍🏻 2y
MicrobeMom Thanks! I haven‘t been playing. I will have to check this one out! 2y
Chrissyreadit I will find a book today! 2y
janerzy I just got this book! 2y
64 likes3 stack adds5 comments
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Caterina
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Great #audiorun this morning around the Rose Bowl! I'm staying in Pasadena with my friend's brother for a couple days as my friend and I drive down to a training event in San Diego. This book is so heartbreaking but so lovely. I'm glad #NewYearWhoDis prompted me to pick up my first Joan Didion! @Emilymdxn @monalyisha

britt_brooke Love this!! Such a great read, too. 💔 2y
Cathythoughts This is a great book 👍🏻❤️ 2y
Emilymdxn OMG, Joan Didion is who I want to be when I grow up for sure. I‘m trying to read all her books 2y
42 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Eggs
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Joan‘s eloquent memoir of losing her husband resonated with me...

#memoir

#gratefulreads

@OriginalCyn620
@Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

OriginalCyn620 👍🏻📚😢 3y
Come-read-with-me @Eggs Sounds like an emotionally challenging book. 💔 3y
Eggs @Come-read-with-me It was poignant but not melodramatic. It was a salve for my wounds: I found this book shortly after my husband passed 3y
Come-read-with-me @eggs I‘m glad that it was something that helped to ease the pain. I can‘t even begin to imagine how deep a loss that must have been and am genuinely sorry for your loss. 3y
Eggs Thank you ever so much for your kind words. Didion could put into words what I couldn‘t at the time... 3y
69 likes5 comments
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kellyann28
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Amazon thinks all I read now is fantasy, I think I need to break it up 😂

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Emilymdxn
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I‘ve had a very busy month in August traveling to three different countries and being run off my feet so I did a good amount of reading! Some really great books - Ducks Newburyport, To Be Taught If Fortunate and Year of Magical Thinking were all 10/10 perfect books so it‘s been a brilliant month overall for books

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Billypar
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Pickpick

Although this technically follows a linear timeline starting with the night her husband dies, Didion writes it in spirals, returning over and over to thoughts and memories she had at the time. In doing so, she captures the mental life of grief in exacting detail--all the guilt, detachment, and fantasies that the death is somehow temporary. That Didion was able to write with such insight and clarity about this experience is pretty incredible.

Cathythoughts Great review! You explain it very well 👍🏻♥️ 3y
Tanisha_A Gosh! This is also super on my list. Love your review! 3y
Leftcoastzen What a wonderful review of an amazing book. 3y
52 likes4 comments
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Emilymdxn
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Pickpick

Definitely a pick of the year for me. This meditation on grief and its impact on your thought processes and your whole life was so important and special I‘m going to buy a physical copy so I‘ll have it when my mental health is bad next. I saw so much of my own way of thinking in Joan Didion‘s struggles following the death of her husband and I see myself rereading this over and over again.

Cathythoughts Such a good book ♥️💔I see in the first year of grieving so much magical thinking ... such a helpful book as a therapist too (edited) 3y
Billypar I just read this, and felt the same: she provided nuanced sense of what grief is actually like, beyond just the sadness and distress. Also read the audio, but probably would have been better in print given how good she is at the sentence level (didn't stop me from placing a hold on the Blue Nights audio though). 3y
Emilymdxn @Cathythoughts that‘s really interesting to hear! I once described to a therapist how I felt about lots of things in my life (not specifically in response to grief I guess more generally) and she said what I was describing was magical thinking but I struggled a lot with what that term meant, this book has helped me understand those thoughts. I feel like maybe it‘s easier to get your head round when you see it happen to someone else 3y
Emilymdxn @billypar I read blue nights on audio and thought it was incredible but I agree with you about Joan Didion‘s writing being so suited to reading in print. I‘d really like to get a physical copy and reread it that way. I quite rarely read paper books, I have issues with my hands that make it painful to do regularly, but I can do it sometimes, but Joan Didion seems so worth it I want to make her one of those writers 3y
Blaire Agree. @cathythoughts @billypar I read this years ago and then read it again after my dad died and it really helped me process his death. I‘ve recommended multiple times. It was the book that seemed to get it. 3y
70 likes5 stack adds5 comments
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ForCuriosity
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Starting this today. Eve though it‘s for school I‘m excited to start it. Hope it goes well!

Cathythoughts I loved this book ... 3y
22 likes1 comment