We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live

Essay by Joan Didion


We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction is a 2006 collection of nonfiction by Joan Didion. It was released in the Everyman's Library, a series of reprinted classic literature, as one of the titles chosen to mark the series' 100th anniversary. The title is taken from the opening line of Didion's essay "The White Album" in the book of the same name. We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live includes the full content of her first seven volumes of nonfiction. The contents range in style, including journalism, memoir, and cultural and political commentary.
Critics noted that Didion's distinct literary voice, highlighted by John Leonard's introduction, is apparent throughout the collection. The Chicago Tribune review stated "even the slightest [of her work] tends to have at least a moment when her prose somehow modulates ... transfigures ... kicks the whole thing up a level."

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