I'm reading Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem
right now. It's wonderful, and I am not able to describe why. What's interesting is that many of the essays were written around the time that Truman Capote's In Cold Blood
came out. Didion takes a similar tack in some ways, creating something that is a piece of reporting but also a piece of art.
"Journalism always moves along a horizontal plane, telling a story," Capote said in an interview, "while fiction—good fiction—moves vertically, taking you deeper and deeper into character and events. By treating a real event with fictional techniques…it's possible to make this kind of synthesis." I feel like Joan Didion, who started out as a novelist, does that. Jon Krakauer and some of the other writers on my list do it, too. Philip Seymour Hoffman won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his role in
What's on Philip Seymour Hoffman's bookshelf? Read more!