in the last 5 years, joan didion has become one of my favorite writers. one of those reading experiences you have where you read one book and then compulsively and as quickly as possible get your hands on and devour everything else by the same author. for me, it started with picking up play it as it lays in bookstore in france, after which i sat down at a nearby cafe and read it in a sitting. it’s subtle, extremely well-written and horrifying in a kind of brutally honest, seeing the inside of a marriage and family and woman’s mind laid bare. it’s succinct and unsentimental and violent and smart and it made me an instant fan of her work. when i can’t think straight, i pick up a joan didion book. her writing sharpens my thoughts, focuses my attention and sets the bar high.