Great writers gift mankind with the chance to perceive the everyday through new eyes. The writer's imagination redefines the familiar through rich description, time travel, the fresh eyes of a well-developed character, or a mesmerising plot. A corner passed every morning on the walk to work inspires contemplation when remembered for its significance in a favorite book, just as the block walked after accepting a proposal, quitting a job, or finding out about an affair is rarely forgotten when passed again.
The following excerpts were taken from Hilton Als' 2006 interview of Joan Didion for The Paris Review. Didion has published over sixteen books including fiction, nonfiction and drama, as well as several screenplays. Before the publication of her first novel, Didion was a journalist. Her writing has spanned both disciplines throughout her career.
A diverse personal bookshelf is a sign of astuteness. The modern reader generally requires different materials for different occasions, which is why the wisest book lover travels with multiple options. There should be no shame in tucking Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Tina Fey, Nicholas Sparks and Ludwig Wittgenstein together in one's carry on, or in sliding a copy of Cat Fancy next to them.
There is probably a reason why history's best artists and writers have never tended to cross over into politics. To succeed creatively means to succeed on one's own terms, and the desire to do so often goes hand in hand with the fact that said creative may not actually be able to hold down that steady desk job. We're talking both physically and psychologically here; often the individual who excels at thinking outside the box simply wasn't blessed with the gifts necessary to fit the mold deemed most valuable by his or her society.
Given that The Book Thief spent over 230 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller List, some may be suprised to see the film hovering at 30th place nationally following its much-hyped opening weekend.