If you’ve been a reader for a long time, you might recall I did a post in 2013 called The Hemingway Order where my mom told me to read some of Hemingway’s books in a certain order. She also told me a Kennedy Order, but I haven’t read those yet. Too many books, too little time!
Recently a new documentary came out about Joan Didion, and that spurred me to want to do a Joan Didion Order. I don’t know why, but for whatever reason I like to follow artists on their path. I like to read their books, or see their movies, and view their art, in order. Chronological order. I want to see how they evolved as a writer or artist. Besides the mini Hemingway Order, I haven’t done this because I get too excited to read a book and I read it out of order. I love artist retrospectives that are in chronological order.
Of Didion’s books I’ve read Play It As It Lays, The Year of Magical Thinking, and Blue Nights. But I’d like to read her books, and watch the movies she wrote the screenplays for, in order. In the Joan Didion Order below.
Confession — I’ve already watched the new documentary about her on her, The Center Will Not Hold, but wouldn’t it be fun to read all of her books and watch her movies in order, then watch the documentary? Ambitious, and I’m a nerd like that. I feel this way about a lot of writers and artists and filmmakers. I want to watch all of Woody Allen’s movies in order even though I’ve already seen a lot of them. I’m obsessed with the order for some reason. There’s a lot of people I want to do this with. It’s how I study them. It’s my own master’s degree in the arts.
The Joan Didion Order
- Run, River (1963)
- Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968)
- Play It as It Lays (1970)
Such Good Friends (1971) (uncredited)
The Panic in Needle Park (1971) (screenplay)
- Play It As It Lays (1972) (screenplay)
- A Star Is Born (1976) (screenplay by)
- A Book of Common Prayer (1977)
- The White Album (1979)
- True Confessions (1981) (screenplay)
- Salvador (1983)
- Democracy (1984)
- Miami (1987)
- Women and Men: Stories of Seduction (1990) (TV Movie)
- After Henry (1992)
- Broken Trust (1995) (TV Movie) (teleplay)
- The Last Thing He Wanted (1996)
- Up Close & Personal (1996) (written by)
- Political Fictions (2001)
- Where I Was From (2003)
- Fixed Ideas: America Since 9.11 (2003; preface by Frank Rich)
- Vintage Didion (2004; selected excerpts of previous works)
- The Year of Magical Thinking (2005)
- We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction (2006; includes her first seven volumes of nonfiction)
- Blue Nights (2011) — my post on this book here
- South and West: From a Notebook (2017)
Have you read Didion? Do you have a favorite work of hers? Give me all your Joan Didion thoughts and opinions, and what you think about my obsession with doing things in an order.