Friday, February 22, 2013

Diaries and Memoirs

If you have ever wanted to snoop through a loved one's diary....resist that impulse and read someone else's instead. Your local library is a treasure trove of diaries, journals and memoirs that will let you dig deep into the recesses of someone's soul without dire personal repercussions.

Fictitious Diaries

The Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend delves not only into the angst-ridden life and hopes of Adrian from age 13 to 45, but also into the growing pains of Great Britain from the early 1980's to present day confounding, austere realities. A complex cast of characters perseveres through family dysfunction, political turmoil, wars, and economic difficulties with sometimes unintentional wit and humor.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13 & 3/4

The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole.

Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years

Additional fictitious memoirs and diaries in our collection include:

Any Human Heart: The Intimate Journals of Logan Mountstuart by William Boyd

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Diary: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk

A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe

The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell

For non-fiction lovers, we offer a wide variety of diaries, journals, and memoirs from some fascinating people. Author Anais Nin (1903-1977)  kept diaries for 60 years, from the age of 11 until shortly before her death in 1977. In addition to her diaries, she wrote novellas, short stories, and erotica, such as Little Birds and Delta of Venus.

Notable Nin diary compilations from our library collection include:

Henry and June: From the Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin

Fire from "A Journal of Love" : The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1934-1937 [eBook]

Nearer the Moon : From A Journal of Love: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1937-1939

If you have ever wondered about how introverted bookworms end up working with the public, two librarians' memoirs will give you behind the scenes access. Quiet, Please: Dispatches From a Public Librarian by Scott Douglas and Free For All : Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas In the Public Library by Don Borchert are highly recommended.

There is an abundance of off beat memoirs to choose from including:

Let's Pretend This Never Happened : (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

Hypocrite In a Pouffy White Dress : Tales of Growing Up Groovy and Clueless by Susan Jane Gilman

My Horizontal Life : A Collection of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler

My Anecdotal Life: A Memoir by Carl Reiner

Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir by Nicole J. Georges

Stirring It Up With Molly Ivins: A Memoir With Recipes by Ellen Sweets

Two modern American artists, Andy Warhol (1928-1987) and Keith Haring (1958-1990) wrote journals that have contributed so much to understanding their visual masterpieces. Warhol's tome: The Andy Warhol Diaries, edited by Pat Hackett is an occasionally tedious catalog of his daily expenses, social life, and work, that is intermingled with scintillating tidbits about his famous friends, from Jean-Michael Basquiat to Truman Capote. You will feel like a privileged best friend and a glamorous insider if you make it through all 807 pages, which was whittled down from 20,000 original pages.

Keith Haring's premature and tragic death from AIDS in 1990 robbed the world of an open-hearted street artist and social activist. The Keith Haring Journals are an artistic and personal journey that allows readers to journey with Haring from his promising, adventurous youth to great artistic achievements, to the American front lines of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980's.

One of history's most moving diarists is of course Holocaust victim Anne Frank (1929-1945). Her wartime diary has been translated into 67 languages and sold over 30 million copies. The Diary of Anne Frank : The Critical Edition is an especially fascinating edition to explore, because it contains two versions of the diary, along with the version edited by her father Otto Frank.

Otto Frank, the sole survivor and caretaker of his daughter's legacy, was a fascinating man in his own right. Carol Ann Lee's biography The Hidden Life of Otto Frank is a haunting portrait of a sensitive, cultured man and devoted husband and father who recognized his daughter Anne's universal message of hope and resilience. Lee is not afraid to also consider Otto Frank's few flaws and motives for secularizing the diary, and even in some instances slicing out unflattering passages regarding Anne's mother. Lee also constructs an excellent theory about who betrayed the Frank family and their friends to the Gestapo.

Miep Gies, the Frank's humble and heroic protector also wrote a memoir about her experiences with co-author Alison Leslie Gold. Anne Frank Remembered : The Story of the Woman Who Helped To Hide the Frank Family is a deeply moving memoir that details the complexities and perils of righteous Gentiles who put their lives on the line to save their Jewish friends and neighbors.

Despite the catastrophic loss of life during World War II, many courageous voices are still with us and our library also offers the following diaries and journals:

Rutka's Notebook : A Voice From the Holocaust

The Journal of Hélène Berr

The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak : Five Notebooks From the Łódź Ghetto

An Interrupted Life : The Diaries of Etty Hillesum, 1941-1943

The Heart Has Reasons : Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage

If you or a loved one are inspired to write a memoir or start keeping a journal for posterity, the library can help you in this endeavor with the following books:

The Art of Writing Memoir [eAudioBook] : Finding the Past In the Present by Natalie Goldberg

Writing & Selling Your Memoir [eBook] by Paula Balzer

The Memoir and the Memoirist : Reading and Writing Personal Narrative byThomas Larson

Note To Self : On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Samara O'Shea

Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal: The Art of Transforming a Life Into Stories by Alexandra Johnson

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