Robert Atwan, editor of the Best American Essays series, chooses the top ten essays since 1950 for PW's Tipsheet. All but three of the top essays are available to read online and linked in the article. (via)
"To really love Joan Didion—to have been blown over by things like the smell of jasmine and the packing list she kept by her suitcase—you have to be female. … Women who encountered Joan Didion when they were young received from her a way of being female and being writers that no one else could give them. She was our Hunter Thompson, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem was our Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He gave the boys twisted pig-fuckers and quarts of tequila; she gave us quiet days in Malibu and flowers in our hair. … Ultimately Joan Didion’s crime—artistic and personal—is the one of which all of us will eventually be convicted: she got old. Her writing got old, her perspective got old, her bag of tricks didn’t work anymore."
Vice President Richard Cheney, a mystery and an enigma: Joan Didion pulls together what is publicly known about Richard Cheney--his career history, his ideas, the way he works. "He runs an office so disinclined to communicate that it routinely refuses to disclose who works there, even for updates to the Federal Directory, which lists names and contact addresses for government officials. 'We just don't give out that kind of information,' an aide told one reporter. 'It's just not something we talk about.'" Previously.
Very good election analysis by Joan Didion in the current NYRB. (More inside.)