Monday, September 27, 2010

Slouching Toward Bethlehem

My procrastination has continued in full force - I really don't want to write an essay now that I've gotten myself into article/journalist mode, but it must be done. But anyway, in addition to cleaning the apartment, running errands, taking a walk, I also read Joan Didion's Slouching Toward Bethlehem for J669 next week as a means of putting off my essay for 620.  Which I'm going to start after this blog post, I promise.

I have been pretty critical of some of the books I've read for class so far this semester, but I actually really loved this collection of Didion's essays and articles. I think she is great the way that she is so clearly a part of the text but in the news pieces she never uses first person. I guess you just really get a sense of how she views herself through her writing no matter what the subject matter.

She is also really great with one-liners that just completely stop you in your tracks as you are working through a page. I always admire writers who can set up a rhythm and then completely knock you off it without leaving a reader feeling disoriented. All of the work in this collection also use really great language, I think she is a good example of the idea that all words have a specific meaning, and that there are no synonyms. She seems to focus on choosing the perfect word for what she is trying to convey.

So overall, this one was a win. I think its also important to note that for how famous and well regarded Joan Didion is, I had never heard of her before. We've been talking in J669 about the new journalists - Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson, Truman Capote and I think its interesting that out of the whole bunch, Didion was the one that I hadn't heard of.

I also have to say that the title of the book made me think of Lehigh, how I miss Bethlehem, PA.

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