PCJP Picks of the Week 8/28


THE LAST LOVE SONG: A Biography of Joan Didion
by Tracy Daugherty

This brand new biography of the iconic Joan Didion is a superbly written work of research. Of course you know Joan from her provocative essays on culture, her careful novels, and her pieces that, as Daugherty says, "teach us how to live" (my favorite being On Self-Respect—read it now, thank me later). Now, through this magnetic story of her life, know her fascinating western background and her reflections on writing her work. This stunning book is, I promise you, not your dry and merely factual biography. Daughtery traces Didion's intellectual and creative growth, which is an opportunity that those who love to read and write would be remiss to forego.

 —Katie Eelman, media + events coordinator



by Joan Didion

To pair with Katie's recommendation, Joan Didion is simply one of the best. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKINGa devastating and triumphant memoir of the loss of her husband and daughter the same year. That was my introduction to someone who I knew was a legend, so I had to dig deeper and read more and found these two gems: PLAY IT AS IT LAYS may be my favorite fiction of hers and THE WHITE ALBUM, my favorite essay collection. You gotta read THE WHITE ALBUM at least for the title essay where she writes her intimate observations of Jim Morrison rehearsing with The Doors; it really puts you in the room. PLAY IT AS IT LAYS is a perfectly stylized novel of a complicated actress teetering on the edges of sanity amid messes of lovers and drugs. Check out this review. 

—Kate Layte, Owner + Manager



by Ottessa Moshfegh

Set in a juvenile detention center outside of Boston, EILEEN is a novel of obsession, madness, and violence narrated by Eileen five decades after the events of the story take place. Moshfegh writes with the poetic elegance of Lydia Davis and the gripping, emotionless turpitude of Cormac McCarthy, but is still uniquely Moshfeghian (her voice definitely deserves an eponym). This book is exhilarating and darkly witty, and I wanted to sink into each sentence but also felt propelled onward.

—John Cleary, bookseller