When I decide I'm interested in a particular subject, I tend to go all out in looking for and at books. Working in a library with so many resources at my fingertips it's hard not to get excited by a topic that is for me fresh and new. It's not as though I haven't been interested in diaries before, but maybe it is a matter of timing and finding the right book to really pique my curiosity. I've read a number of diaries over the years--either fictional or standalone, though nothing in the way of a whole series or set of diaries, which all of a sudden I'm very keen on doing. You should see the pile of books I have staring at me at the moment--diaries and books about diaries and journal keeping. It's at moments like this that I feel very sorry for people who don't read. Within these books are new (or maybe old) and interesting lives and worlds just waiting to be explored. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.
I have a very long list of diaries that I'm curious about. Somehow a list of thirteen seems too skimpy to share, but it's probably better to take this in easily digestible chunks. I have a feeling I'll be sharing more over time, but to begin with here are thirteen diaries/diarists whose work I would love to explore. Some of these books I own, some just sound fascinating. They are mostly very famous, though I've thrown in a few that are perhaps less well known.
Bring Me a Unicorn: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1922-1928 -- I begin here as I have several of Lindbergh's diaries and plan on starting this, her first, when I finish Revelations. Probably most famous as the wife of aviator Charles Lindbergh and from the kidnapping of their baby in 1932, but she was an aviatrix and author in her own right.
Etty Hillesum: An Interrupted Life, The Diaries 1941-1943 and Letters from Westerbork -- I've heard this is a most remarkable book and testament to the human spirit. Hillesum died in Auschwitz in 1943. I've owned it far too long without having read it.
Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank -- This surely has to be one of the most famous diaries ever written. I read it in high school and it is a book that has always stayed with me. Definitely a book to own and read again.
Diary of Elizabeth Drinker: The Life Cycle of an Eighteenth Century Woman -- Drinker religiously kept a journal from 1735-1807. I'm not sure how many volumes it encompassed, but this is an abridged version. It's an important document describing a woman's life in 18th century America.
House by the Sea, May Sarton -- I started to read this a few years ago, but it unfortunately went back to the library unfinished, though not because I wasn't enjoying it. It covers several years of Sarton's life when she was living in Maine.
Diaries: 1910-1923, Franz Kafka -- I seem to collect Franz Kafka's works. I have his letters, his short stories, his diaries, his novels, and even books about him. I've read very little, though I did have a Kafka phase where I read about the relationships had had with two different women. Would love to pick up something by him this year.
Passionate Apprentice: The Early Diaries 1897-1909, Virginia Woolf -- Another famous diarist. I've not yet read any of her diaries, though I have read several novels. When I do get around to them, I'd like to start with this one, her earliest diary.
Linotte: Early Diary of Anais Nin, 1914-1920 -- And a woman who made a name for herself in large part from her diaries. Reading them was meant to be a big project of mine a few years back. I'd still like to. Another fascinating if complicated woman.
Few Eggs and No Oranges: The Diaries, Vere Hodgson -- Persephone Books has reissued this as well. It sounds like an important and interesting document of what it was like to live through the Blitz in London.
Diary of Samuel Pepys -- I had not thought of reading Pepys before, but what better place to learn about 17th century London from someone who lived it.
Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey, Lillian Schlissel -- I read this years ago. If you're curious about what it was like to be a woman pioneer in the 1800s, this is worth checking out.
Katherine Mansfield Notebooks: The Complete Edition -- I read her Journal, which is published by Persephone Books several years ago. She was a brilliant, if sometimes difficult, and fascinating woman. I still want to read more of her stories and wouldn't mind reading more about her life.
A Pacifist's War Diaries, 1939-1945, Frances Partridge -- This was one of several excellent recommendations I received. She was part of the Bloomsbury group, and since this is an era I am interested in I had to order it. Am waiting patiently for it to arrive.
I'll share more of my finds later. I'm in no rush to finish any of these, but hopefully throughout the year I can dip into a variety of diaries.