Yes. Didion's writing is unmatched in its clarity, detail and wittiness. The subject matter is sometimes mundane and dated (Joan Baez, Las Vegas weddings, etc). However, the text is still engaging due to the excellence of Didion's prose. This is an especially good read for a writer who wants to see what can be done with everyday life using exceptional prose.
Any collection of essays by E.B. White, including classics such as "Once More to the Lake." Both writers are exceptional in capturing the details of everyday life and relating them to important ideas about human nature and our culture.
I love Diane's voice and reading style. She's great on screen or via audio.
Flashback to the 60s--Real Life Is Crazier Than Fiction
Hearing Diane Keaton pronounce tule fog as "tool" fog and Merced as "mers-ed" (emphasis on the first syllable rather than on the last) was a little jarring. Aren't there editors involved to help the readers pronounce the words correctly? Keaton is a good reader for Didion's slightly smug tone here, but those errors were disappointing.
I LOVE Diane Keaton, but a reader of prose she is not. Like, for realsies. I'm also fond of Joan Didion, but I wish I had read this 40 years ago. The thing I enjoyed the most about this book is her love of California and Los Angeles. If you're a Californian, you too may enjoy that-- but maybe buy a hard copy, unless you like trying to ferret out where the verb is in each sentence.
This is one of the worst Audible recordings I have heard. I could not abide the mispronunciation throughout of common words and the semi-quixotic, sing-song reading that sounded as though Keaton were reading everything for the first time and didn't know how the sentences should end. It was really trying to catch any coherence and I wish I'd just read the book myself.
Diane Keaton's slow, monotonous narration robbed Didion's stories of their marvelous verbal play and sardonic wit. I ended up increasing the playback speed so Keaton wouldn't ramble on, sounding like a bored and boring girlfriend in a Woody Allen movie. Didion deserved a narrator who actually understood what she was reading. Clearly, Keaton did not.
Keaton's mispronunciation of words was so annoying and distracting. Every time I heard "San Ber-dino," I wanted to scream. How did this book make it to Audible with that kind of narration?
I have long been a fan of Joan Didion and it was _Slouching Toward Bethlehem_ and _The White Album_ that won me over. It had been some time since I read these books, though, so I was looking forward hearing them. I found the experience quite disappointing.
Though I certainly was not impressed by the narrator, I can't actually blame her. It's just that some things are far more suited to reading than listening to, and this is one of them. You just don't focus on an audio book the same way you focus on a "printed" (electronic or dead tree format) page.
It's also true that some of the essays have aged very badly, most especially the title essay. Or maybe my perspective has changed. Perhaps society isn't less atomized in 2013 then it was in 1979 when I first encountered these books; perhaps I'm just used to it and unimpressed, thought it certainly seems less atomized.
What's aged well? "Goodbye to All That" (AKA: Farewell to the Enchanted City) is worth the price of admission for its poignant tale of staying to long at the fair. "Los Angelas Notebook" still holds up. "Comrade Laski, P.P.U.S.A. (M.-L.)" seems quite a familiar charactor, anymore. "On Morality" is still worth listening to. In general, the second half of the book retains it's interest far better than the first.
I'm sorry to have to give this audiobook a low rating. I would still buy a Kindle (printed) version.
I loved these essays when I first read them in the 70s and was happy to hear them again.
Pretty much everything. She mispronounces a LOT of words and it becomes insulting to the material and the listener.
Absolutely. This is requisite reading for Americans, especially those of us who weren't alive at the time Didion wrote Slouching. It captures a cultural movement.
Keaton has a recognizable voice and it flowed very naturally. She captured Didion's tone perfectly.
A film would never be able to do this book justice.