10 Joan Didion Books to Read Before You Die

Updated 04/24/19

There's nothing like cozying up with a good book over the holidays, so here at MyDomaine, we've curated a reading list of America's literary greats. Joan Didion is one of the most iconic authors of our time, and her breadth of work captures American life in a way few others have come close to. On October 27, Netflix released a new documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, which paints a more intimate portrait of the author (who turns 83 this December) and is directed by her nephew, actor and filmmaker Griffin Dunne. So when you find yourself needing an escape this holiday break, what better time to revisit some of Didion's most celebrated works?

Keep clicking for the best Joan Didion books to read before you watch the Netflix documentary.

Joan Didion Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968)

In a collection of essays, Didion describes her experiences in California during the '60s.

Joan Didion The Year of Magical Thinking

The Year of Magical Thinking (2005)

This moving memoir is one of the most intimate looks into Didion's life as she recounts the year following the death of her husband John Gregory Dunne.

Joan Didion Play It As It Lays

Play It as It Lays (1970)

One of Didion's most popular works of fiction, this book is a raw look at American life in the late 1960s.

Joan Didion The White Album

The White Album (1979)

Much like Slouching Towards Bethlehem, this book focuses on life and politics in California through a collection of essays previously published in magazines like Life and Esquire.

Joan Didion Blue Nights

Blue Nights (2011)

Didion explores her feelings on parenthood and aging while recounting the untimely death of her daughter Quintana Roo Dunne.

Joan Didion After Henry

After Henry (1992)

A collection of journalistic essays, this book delves into the veins of America from New York to Washington to L.A.

Joan Didion South and West

South and West (2017)

This new book is a collection of excerpts from Didion's never-before-seen notebooks.

Joan Didion A Book of Common Prayer

A Book of Common Prayer (1977)

This novel explores human behavior through personal and political tragedies in the fictional Central American country of Boca Grande.

Joan Didion Salvador

Salvador (1982)

This book essay is a real-life manifestation of A Book of Common Prayer, where Didion describes El Salvador at the height of its civil war.

Joan Didion We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live

We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction (2006)

For a range of Didion's nonfiction work, this collection includes a variety of pieces from journalism to memoir to cultural critique, including everything printed in After Henry.

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