The 19 Books That Changed Joan Didion's Life

The author of The Year of Magical Thinking cites old classics and 20th century masterpieces as inspiration for her own work.

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  • Didion's handwritten list of her most significant literary influences.

    Photo Credit: Brain Pickings
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A Farewell to Arms

By Ernest Hemingway

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Victory

By Joseph Conrad

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Guerrillas

By V.S. Naipaul

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Down and Out in Paris and London

By George Orwell

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Wonderland

By Joyce Carol Oates

Buy Wuthering Heights at Amazon

Wuthering Heights

By Emily Brontë

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The Good Soldier

By Ford Madox Ford

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One Hundred Years of Solitude

By Gabriel García Márquez

Buy Crime and Punishment at Amazon

Crime and Punishment

By Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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Appointment in Samarra

By John O'Hara

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The Executioner's Song

By Norman Mailer

The Complete Novels of Henry James

Buy The Portrait of a Lady at Amazon

The Portrait of a Lady

By Henry James

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Speedboat

By Renata Adler

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Go Tell It On the Mountain

By James Baldwin

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Notes of a Native Son

By James Baldwin

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The Berlin Stories

By Christopher Isherwood

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Collected Poems

By Robert Lowell

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Collected Poems

By W.H. Auden

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The Collected Poems

By Wallace Stevens