“There’s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the reader’s most private space,” Joan Didion declared in her 1976 essay “Why I Write,” in The New York Times. The Sacramento native used her arch powers of observation to document an entirely new frontier in California at a time when the literary establishment was fixated only on words coming out of New York City.

Alta Magazine books editor David L. Ulin and editor-at-large Mary Melton discuss Joan Didion: The 1960s & 70s (The Library of America), a collection of Didion’s crucial early work — including the novels Run River, Play It as It Lays, and A Book of Common Prayer and the classic essay collections Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album — that has been newly compiled and edited by Ulin.

Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Tues., Nov. 12, 7 p.m.; free. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com.

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