Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Death As a Bestseller

Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking now has 300,000 copies in print, according to the Wall Street Journal. When I first read an excerpt in the New York Times Magazine, I thought the book would open up a new dialogue about death in this country, a topic we tend to ignore. The numbers suggest this may be happening.

Didion herself thinks the book speaks to an issue people have been thinking about.

"I think a lot of it is demographics. There is that huge bubble of the population that is now hitting an age where their parents are dying. They're looking at mortality themselves in a way they hadn't. I think that right now the country is more receptive to thinking about death and dying. I also think there's a lot of anxiety abroad in the land. And this is a much more accessible subject than I usually write about."

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