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Play It As It Lays
Play It As It Lays: A Novel | Joan Didion
A ruthless dissection of American life in the late 1960s, Play It as It Lays captures the mood of an entire generation, the ennui of contemporary society reflected in spare prose that blisters and haunts the reader. Set in a place beyond good and evil-literally in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and the barren wastes of the Mojave Desert, but figuratively in the landscape of an arid soul-it remains more than three decades after its original publication a profoundly disturbing novel, riveting in its exploration of a woman and a society in crisis and stunning in the still-startling intensity of its prose.
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purebugbeauty72
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Joan Didion. 🙌

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Emilymdxn
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Just watching the excellent documentary about Joan Didion that I found on Netflix - no idea how new it is I just know that I found it today. She‘s one of my absolute heroes and I‘m so grateful to be learning more about her, it‘s incredibly well made with so many interviews and archive material. if I wasn‘t in the middle of the booker longlist I‘d be having a big Joan Didion kick right now. Really recommend the film

Julsmarshall Ooh, great find! What is the title? 3mo
Emilymdxn @Julsmarshall it‘s called Joan Didion: The Centre Will Not Hold from 2017, I strongly recommend it! 3mo
70 likes2 comments
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ValerieAndBooks
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Mehso-so

This was my first Didion, so I don‘t know if this is consistent of her style. The Questions without question marks throughout got annoying real fast. Definitely felt like a relic of the 1970s. (It was published in 1970)

Read this for #1001Books

DivineDiana Don‘t know. 🤔 Only “read one” but it was an audio! 🙂 6mo
LittleWonder I started with The Year of Magical Thinking, then Blue Nights. The Netflix documentary “The Center Will Not Hold” is fabulous! (edited) 6mo
saresmoore I think that would drive me bonkers! 6mo
See All 12 Comments
Reggie It started with Cormac McCarthy years ago, but my irritation for authors not using quotations, or question marks, or lately even indenting paragraphs has been so eroded I‘ve almost come to expect it. Lol 6mo
Chab256 This was my first and only Didion so far, but I actually loved it. Not sure if her essay style differs... 6mo
CarolynM I've only read this one and The Year of Magical Thinking. I liked it a lot. I took the lack of question marks as part of the general ennui and off-handedness. 6mo
ValerieAndBooks @DivineDiana I guess with audio, punctuation (or lack of) would be unnoticed 🙂 6mo
ValerieAndBooks @LittleWonder I‘ve had The Year of Magical Thinking in my TBR for a long time but the topic would hit too close to home for me right now. Wonder if I‘d like her essays more ? 6mo
ValerieAndBooks @Chab256 yes, I‘m curious to find that out about her essays. Maybe I can find one online to start with. 6mo
ValerieAndBooks @saresmoore yes especially since it felt affected to me. 6mo
ValerieAndBooks @Reggie oh Reggie your punctuation expectations have lowered 😂! 6mo
ValerieAndBooks @CarolynM makes sense about the lack indicating the ennui. This novel definitely felt very detached. I actually didn‘t like the overall tone of the book but that really is probably more me than an indication of Didion‘s talent. (edited) 6mo
62 likes1 stack add12 comments
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ValerieAndBooks
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Still in a huge reading slump! But that didn‘t stop me from taking these home from the used bookstore after I dropped off several there 😊. $7 total. Tagged book is a #1001Books, as are a couple others here — including Franny and Zooey which I read many years ago but don‘t remember much.

Not hot and/or green outside yet but spring is in the air 😊🌱🌱🌳🌳🌱🌱

Blaire Crossing to safety is one of my all-time favorite books. Highly recommend! 8mo
ValerieAndBooks @Blaire Good to know! I‘ll keep it near the top, then 😊 8mo
Leftcoastzen Nice ! I love Franny And Zooey read it yearly 8mo
Liz_M It's good to have plenty of options for when the reading slump ends! 😁 8mo
86 likes4 comments
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JulietteGF
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Mehso-so

The characters in this novel are far from being likable. The writing style is very detached, which in this case goes well with the main character's personality. Did I like the book? Yes, but only to a certain extent. I didn't feel close to any of the characters, I didn't get passionate by the setting of the story, or by the story itself. It's only my second book by Didion, but for now I haven't been seduced by her writing...

Reviewsbylola I started this but gave up after a few pages. I just wasn‘t in the right mood. 9mo
JulietteGF @Reviewsbylola Yes, I totally get it. It can be quite a depressing read... Or one that makes you feel angry. Or both, haha. On the upside, it's quite a fast read ;) 9mo
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whatrebeccasread
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Panpan

I tried to like "Play It as It Lays" and at times I did think that it was picking up, but I think I've come to the conclusion that Joan Didion is just not for me and I'll be donating my third and final book rather than struggling through another! Another 1 star review from me.

My full review is up on my blog now ?

CarolynM It wasn't much fun, but I thought this was an interesting book. 11mo
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zsuzsanna_reads
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Pickpick

The blurb said something like: "this book captures the soul of a generation in the 60s", but I have to disagree. In my view it captures excellently the life of seemingly enviable (in this case, part of a Hollywood elite) affluent women adrift in their thirties.

Disturbing, but compulsively readable. Highly recommended. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Image: David Hockney "A Bigger Splash" 1967

Cathythoughts Stacking 👍🏻♥️ 12mo
LauraJ Nicely said. 12mo
gentlepet Love Didion 12mo
UwannaPublishme I read this ages ago. Maybe it‘s time for a reread. 12mo
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mklong
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Mehso-so

I hate to give Didion a so-so because I do love her sparse, yet sharply observant, prose. I just found it very hard to become absorbed in or connected to a book that is essentially about meaninglessness. Perhaps I should stick to her essays and memoirs. I think Sandy agrees.

JoScho ❤️❤️❤️ 14mo
Leftcoastzen Sandy is super cute! 14mo
Tamra 😻 14mo
See All 6 Comments
tammysue ❤️❤️❤️ 14mo
Joy0201 What a cute pup! I loved this book but I read it about 25 years ago. 14mo
mklong @JoScho @Leftcoastzen @Tamra @whatshesreadingnow @Joy0201 Thanks ladies! I love that sweet little goofball so much! 14mo
63 likes6 comments
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manifestsanity
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Just watched the Netflix documentary "The Center Will Not Hold," about the life and work of Joan Didion. A brilliant film directed by Griffin Dunne. So fascinating. Turbulent times, turbulent words. Highly recommended.

Kimberlone So good. Really does justice to Didion‘s beautiful writing. 1y
Lola I have this downloaded but haven‘t watched it yet-I love her. Griffin is actually her nephew. He was an actor at one time. I loved him with Madonna in Who‘s That Girl :) (edited) 1y
manifestsanity @Lola Griffin Dunne stars in my favorite Scorsese movie After Hours. 1y
61 likes3 comments
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Joy0201
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Day 6 of the #10booksthatchangedme challenge. Play It As It Lays. Joan Didion is a master.

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JGadz11
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Super thrilled about my Powell‘s book haul! Will worry about packing these later... 📚📚📚

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deathmetalcardigan
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She never puts on any weight, you'll notice that's often true of selfish women. [...]. She was always a very selfish girl, it was first last and always Maria.

CaitlinR I haven‘t read Didion for a long time — thanks for the nudge. 1y
deathmetalcardigan @CaitlinR you're welcome for the nudge! I think we all need that sometimes with our old favorites 1y
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Teafiend
Pickpick

I really love the writing but the topics are really depressing.

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Teafiend
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This book is Depressing. But I really like the writing

Reagan-reads I want to read it again, I was so young when I read it and I remember being blown away by the writing but I‘m not sure the gravity of it hit me. 2y
UwannaPublishme I read this ages ago, too. May be time for a reread. 😊👍🏻 2y
Teafiend Definitely have to be in the mood for it, I think 2y
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CarolynM
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Pickpick

Didion's prose is hypnotic and she is unflinching in her depiction of a narcissistic world where everything is surface and there seem to be no meaningful connections between people and no value put on family relationships. To the modern reader the misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia are jarring, but it's good to be reminded that we have made some progress.

CaitlinR Great review, thanks. 2y
CarolynM @CaitlinR thank you 2y
zsuzsanna_reads @CarolynM having just read this sadly I don't think we've made all that much progress 😢 12mo
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Augustdana
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It‘s been a great year for reading! I‘m quite a slow reader, so for me to surpass my goal AND read ten more books than I did last year is huge! Most of them were four star awesome as well! I read two Didion books and two books by Roxane Gay and lots of incredible ladies and I‘m gonna do it all again next year

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vivastory
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Pickpick

Didion's sparse, yet relentless, prose captures the empty & violent lives of her characters. Just as the opulence of casinos & hotels is the perfect setting for their narcissistic & hedonistic lives, the empty highways & Mojave Desert is perfect for their ruined relationships & purposelessness. Although this is about filmmakers & actresses, it is not sensationalism. A simmering tale of destruction, subtle yet frequently chilling.

ApoptyGina69 Big fan myself. Great collage!!! 2y
vivastory @ApoptyGina69 Thanks! I don't often reread books, but I think I will reread this one. Didion really leaves a lot open for the reader. 2y
saresmoore Wow, fantastic review! I‘m certainly interested in reading this now. 2y
57 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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Bertha_Mason

Now I've officially read Joan Didion's fiction. I think I'll stick to her essays from now on.

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Bertha_Mason

Has anyone ever even TRIED to write a Novel About Los Angeles (TM) without dozens of pages of casual, rancorous homophobia? 😝😡

Bertha_Mason Oh look, casual racism. 2y
batsy 😡 2y
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Augustdana
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The library has been good to me this year and delivered this early xmas present.

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Bertha_Mason

My girlfriend and I watched "The Center Will Not Hold," the new Joan Didion documentary, and I'm definitely reading Play It As It Lays next.

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Rockconey
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Pickpick

Quick. Haunting, but a bit depressing.

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Rockconey
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Current read

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emilyhaldi
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Maria Wyeth is one of the more #fragile characters I can remember. Her story is a quiet kind of tragedy of a life built on empty accomplishments (fame & beauty) and no happiness. There is an underlying tension throughout the book as you wonder which moment is going to be the one to break Maria. And yet she continues to float through her life in a cloud of detached melancholy.
"I know what "nothing" means, and keep on playing."

#rocktober

BookAlongBlog 💕 Didion 2y
BarbaraBB Sounds like a great book! 2y
Cinfhen What a beautifully written blurb💚🙌🏻 2y
See All 7 Comments
bookloo “Blurb goals” ❤️ 2y
Mdargusch I agree @bookloo 👍🏼 2y
Reviewsbylola I've only read two of her books but I really liked them. 2y
emilyhaldi Thank you, I‘m blushing ☺️ @Cinfhen @bookloo @Mdargusch 2y
89 likes6 stack adds7 comments
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Zoe_reads_books
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Good beer and an even better book. The sense of Hollywood apathy in this book is exactly why I left LA/Southern California, but I still love reading about it. #booksandbrews

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savvy24

I might as well lay it on the line, I have trouble with as it was.

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AlizaApp
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Joan Didion is my queen 👑 #mood

SaraBeagle I love this book! 2y
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Eggs
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Mehso-so

Obtuse and disjointed at times, the story is about Maria Wyeth in 1960s Hollywood and Las Vegas. Though her life has its tragedies, she chooses to cope by abusing drugs and booze, driving long distances under the influence, and essentially self destructing. Bleak.

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writeropolis
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One thing in my defense, not that it matters: I know something Carter never knew, or Helene, or maybe you. I know what “nothing” means, and keep on playing. Why, BZ would say. Why not, I say.

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mauveandrosysky
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Pickpick

This is a fierce, sordid novel about a woman in crisis in 1960s LA. Maria is the kind of apathetic, amoral, detached person you could picture hanging out with Patrick Bateman. In fact, this reminded me quite a bit of Bret Easton Ellis's Less Than Zero or even JG Ballard's Crash. There's a pervasive sense of detachment, emptiness and ennui verging on destruction. I imagine it packed a punch upon release, but by today's standards is relatively tame.

DeborahSmall I enjoyed Less Than Zero, I'll give this a go 💕 3y
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Chab256
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Pickpick

Maria: "Why do you say those things. Why do you fight?"
Carter: "To find out if you're alive."
This was my first experience with Joan Didion's fiction. The prose is sparse, but it packs a big punch. The story is dark, but moving. Maria is empty, but alive. It reminds me of Yate's Revolutionary Road in some ways. Read it...it could be read in one sitting!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
#quotes

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Chab256
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"It was something people did when they did not know what else to do, they went to New York for a few days."
#quotes
My current life while in SC...

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Chab256
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tracyramone
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Pickpick

Being laid up in bed has been fantastic for my #toberead books. Working my way through the #litsyAtoZ challenge on my Kindle since I can't really get to the books on my shelves. Finally got a around to reading this. It was a fairly quick read but it was a really good read. I am so glad I finally took the time to read it. #joandidion can write the hell out of some dialogue.

Joybishoptx This has one of my all time favorite opening lines 💕💕💕 3y
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PixieDust
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Pickpick

There's something about this story I mean nothing actually happens and yet it's riveting... I don't mean that as an insult btw stories don't have to have a ton of action to be good! The story will hit you especially if you have depression. The nothing and emptiness that depression can create is captured very well here. This book made me feel that I need to read more Joan Didion.

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hwheaties
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Well, here is my #bookhaul from The Bookworm today. The Galbraith books are for hubs (at least until I want to read them), and the rest are for me 😃

Scored a signed copy of The Book of Speculation along with a couple of books I've seen recommended a lot!

Also I suppose this counts as my #FunFridayPhoto because it's the beginning of my 2017 TBR!

@Liberty

See All 18 Comments
beagle.mama I loved Graceling! 3y
BethFishReads Love that Galbraith series 3y
hwheaties @beagle.mama I've heard so much good about it! 3y
hwheaties @BethFishReads Hubs wanted something entertaining/not heavy to read during the coming semester (maybe he'll finally listen to me that reading fiction instead of his Twitter feed before bed is good for him??) and I suggested them. I'll let him know they've gotten another endorsement! 3y
BethFishReads Oh yes. Much better read good fiction in bed than Twitter (tho I'm a Twitter fan) 3y
hwheaties @BethFishReads Same here--but usually his Twitter feed doesn't relax him so much 😏 3y
BethFishReads That's always a problem 3y
hwheaties @BethFishReads Tell me about it! 3y
Megabooks Nice! 3y
KellyHerself Oh, Book of Speculation was so good. So was Graceling! 3y
DebinHawaii Great stack! 📚👍 3y
mcipher I just bought a copy of The Graveyard Book to reread - love it! 3y
minkyb The Galbraith series is such fun! 3y
114 likes1 stack add18 comments
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the_alternate_ending_library
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I'm excited and equally appreciative to receive this gift today. I thank you from my heart for this treasure!!! You are too kind. #signedcopy @Alfoster 🤗❤️

Alfoster So glad you like it! Grateful you organized one of the Secret Santa swaps!❤️ 3y
LeahBergen Ohhhh! 😍 3y
the_alternate_ending_library I LOVE IT!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you 😊 @Alfoster The swap is all my pleasure. #secretsantaswap 3y
See All 6 Comments
ReadingOver50 What a great gift 😀 3y
the_alternate_ending_library @Alfoster Have you watched the documentary on Netflix? 2y
Alfoster No, didn‘t know about it! But now I will, Thanks! 2y
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jdtchicago

He would say something and she would say something and before either of them knew it they would be playing out a dialogue so familiar that it drained the imagination, blocked the will, allowed them to drop words and whole sentences and still arrive at the cold conclusion.

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vincentscarpa
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Bookbeez
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Fantastic book haul during an unplanned stop in at Goodwill. Not book related, also got a canning pot, which is also awesome. Yay for Goodwill!!!

ReadingEnvy Annie Dillard 😻 3y
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malloryomeara
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Pickpick

Scathing and haunting. A blistering look into a Hollywood woman's empty life in the 1960s.

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SwayBug
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An afternoon spent with Joan Didion is just what the soul needs once in a while.

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darynne
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Pickpick

This book was unexpectedly compelling and heartbreaking. I identified so strongly with Maria Wyeth despite us having very little in common, which is, I think, a testament to Didion's extraordinary narrative skills.

Owenross Have you read The Year of Magical Thinking‽ So so good 3y
darynne yes!! also blue nights. such strong writing. 3y
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kunstlerroman
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