Skip to content

Next Up: Play It As It Lays

Today we start my 85th novel from the Time list. 85!

Only 16 more of these books to go, and we’ll kick off the final 16 with Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion.

First observation: Wouldn’t the correct grammar here be “Play It As It Lies?” You lay something down, while that same something lies down. Well, maybe I’ll figure out why Didion name the novel as such as I read.

So here are a few quick facts about Play It As It Lays and the author, Joan Didion:

  • The novel was published in 1970 by Farrar Straus and Giroux.
  • Play it as it Lays is a “ruthless dissection of life in the last 1960s. According to Amazon, it “captures the mood of an entire generation, the ennui of contemporary society reflected in spare prose that blisters and haunts the reader.” Cool.
  • The novel was turned into a movie in 1972 starring Tuesday Weld and Anthony Perkins.
  • Didion, 81, currently lives in New York City.
  • Didion was married to the novelist and screenwriter John Gregory Dunne.
  • She’s written 5 novels, including Play It As It Lays, Run River, A Book of Common Prayer, Democracy and The Last Thing He Wanted, in addition to dozens of nonfiction books.

I don’t have a lot of interesting stuff on this one at this point.

I’ll be sure to share the tidbits and interesting passages I discover along the way, though.

Anyone with experience reading Play it as it Lays?

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. I read it years ago and loved it. She’s a wonderful writer.

    Liked by 2 people

    January 29, 2016
  2. Reblogged this on .

    Liked by 1 person

    February 1, 2016
  3. C’est bien.


    February 1, 2016
  4. “The White Album” perfectly captured all of the ’60’s that I so vividly experienced, first hand.


    February 1, 2016
  5. Hi, I nominated you for the Liebster award. Check my post for details:


    February 6, 2016
  6. One of my professors recently published a biography of Didion, and I took his Didion course in college–so I’ve read 8 of her books, a mix of fiction and nonfiction. Didion is part of a group of people whose work is sometimes referred to as “new journalism,” which basically means they allow themselves and their emotions/thoughts/opinions to enter into nonfiction writing (also a part of this group: Hunter S Thompson, Gay Talese, Norman Mailer). Didion is the master of details that are unemotional, interesting, and very specific, something she developed while writing nonfiction pieces for magazines. She has a way of making the most disturbing things seem blasé and vice versa. Her fiction is usually about messed up people doing messed up things, and Play it as it Lays is no different. If you want more Didion (at her best, I think), you should read The White Album, which is a collection of essays about the 60s.


    February 11, 2016

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: