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Marina Sofia

Came across your blog via Smithereens and am so glad I did. You have a nicely eclectic taste in books, so it's enjoyable to follow your meanders. Like your list of diaries - some of my favourites are there, such as 'I Capture the Castle' and 'Edith's Diary' or 'Diary of a Provincial Lady' (although I have to admit I didn't think anybody still read these nowadays).
Growing up, I also enjoyed 'The Woman in White' & 'Daddy Long Legs', which are in diary form. And a more modern example is Adrian Mole's diaries by Sue Townsend.


Nice list! I believe The Color Purple by Alice Walker is written as a diary as is The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Cath @ Constance Reader

I love love loved Clara Callan. So happy to see you did, too. Everybody should read this book.

Anne of Windy Poplars is written as a series of letters, and certain other LM Montgomery books are heavily written in diary style (Rilla of Ingleside and the Emily trilogy come to mind).

Claire (The Captive Reader)

Any list with both I Capture the Castle and The Diary of a Provincial Lady on it is sure to make me happy - I do love novels written in diary format! Elizabeth and Her German Garden is another of my favourites. And thanks for introducing me to A Brief History of Montmaray. I really enjoyed it and am having an equally excellent time reading The FitzOsbornes in Exile.


Two more come to mind: Though it's not all a diary (the frame is epistolary), Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall has a diary as its centrepiece. And William Boyd's Any Human Heart is told mostly through a diary.


You already have quite a comprehensive list of fictional diaries, Claire. Stone Diaries is very good. Our book group read it and had a good discussion of it.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker was written in diary form and a must read.


Great choices, great post, Danielle. I'm pretty excited, I have most of them. I never thought of them as being fictional diaries but of course they are.
I've read The Stone Diaries, Dracula, Edith's Diary and of course Bridget Jones. They are all very different. The one I'm the most keen on reading is Clara Callan and I Capture the Castle.
I have signed up yesterday for a readalong of The Color Purple. It's hosted on Liburuak's blog in May.


Marina Sofia--Thanks for the comment and please drop by any time! :) I think there is a nice following of EM Delafield's Provincial Lady books--you should check out Simon at Stuck in a Book--I think he has read (and maybe written about) most of Deafield's books. I am slowly trying to make my way through but a reread of the PL might be in order this year. The Woman in White is one of my all time favorites and I should have listed it here (the Moonstone has letters in it, too). I will have to check out Daddy Long Legs--I think I have it on my Nook. I've heard of Adrian Mole but never read the blurbs to see what it's about--thanks for the suggestions!

Stefanie--I read The Color Purple so long ago that the story has faded from memory unfortunately. Obviously the same with The Yellow Wallpaper--I'll add them both to my list--Thanks!

Cath--I even have it in a cloth edition--I should dig out my copy and give it a reread--the story was appealing to me then as it is now. I am determined to read a LM Montgomery book this year--I seem to have missed her completely in my reading as I was growing up. Duly added to list.

Claire--They are two of my favorites as well. How could I have forgotten Elizabeth von Arnim--I loved her garden novels. Glad you are enjoying the Montmaray books--I am in the middle of the first (have been sidetracked by another book I am trying to finish because it is due back at the library--you know how that goes!).

Rohan--I think Dracula is only framed, too, if I recall--will find out as I keep listening. I don't mind if there are only diary elements to the story. I really need to read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall--I need a good Victorian novel soon, I think. And I am itching to read William Boyd--I think I have a copy of Any Human Heart--will dig it out this weekend--I saw part of the BBC adaptation, but then stopped watching as I knew I wanted to read the book!

Penny--I've owned Stone Diaries for so long--not sure why I've not yet read it. I think I have collected a number of her books, but not sure I've yet tried her. Go figure. I read The Color Purple more than 15 years ago now--and must reread it I think. Thanks!

Caroline--I may have to check out that readalong. I read TCP so long ago now I can't remember anything about it. I like epistolary format novels--have read lots with letters but maybe not as many with diaries,but this seems a good time to add a few to my reading pile. I loved Clara Callan and I Capture the Castle. I think my library has the Patricia Highsmith--I liked the first Ripley book and always meant to read more, but haven't yet done so. Thanks for the heads up on the readalong.

Mary Grover

How about "The Diaries of Jane Somers" by Doris Lessing? These are two books originally published as being by Jane Somers; Lessing wanted to see how they would be received without her already famous name attached. I enjoyed the two books very much; I think they were published in a combined volume after first being published separately.


The Griffin & Sabine saga by Nick Bantock, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, The Screwtape letters by C.S. Lewis... I love epistolary novels, but can't think of any more at the moment. Oh, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Simon T

Great topic! I'm not sure I could come up 13, but I might be tempted to try... right now I can't think of any fictional diaries which aren't on your list, though.


The only one I could add is Elizabeth Berg The Pull of the Moon. Still unread here - as is The Stone Diaries by the way. Another great list including all the suggestions made in the comments.


I've had The Stone Diaries on my shelf for so long and you are reminding me that I am way overdue to read it.


Here are the details for the readalong. It's on May 31 which is good as my readalong is on the 28th in May.
I will also join another readalong in April, Emma is reading Remarkable Creatures (you mentioned that in another Thursday Thirteen on women's friendhips). It will be on April 26. It's just me and her so far. But if you haven't read it yet.


Sorry... Here is the link


Great list! Love books in the diary and letter format too. I have The Diary of An Ordinary Woman, The Provincial Lady and I Captured the Castle waiting on the TBR stack. Just started Dracula recently and am finding it very engaging surprisingly, as I am usually turned off by horror fiction and only gave it a try when a fellow blogger convinced me that it might be my cup of tea since I like journals & letters.
Just thought of Jane Harris's Observations, which though not really in the diary format, has its story centered on the employer insisting that her maid keeps a journal. Quite interesting, really.


Mary Grover--This sounds great--thanks for mentioning it to me. I have added it to my wishlist but will see if my library has it (seems like something they would have). I have never read Doris Lessing, something which I must rectify soon. Is it possible this is really out of print?

Jenclair--I loved Griffen and Sabine--thanks for all the suggestions--Frankenstein was great, too. I love this format, too, and it seems natural to read a few fictionalized diaries along with my real diaries! :)

Simon--I do hope you try--I'd love to see your suggestions. I knew I missed a bunch of good books as I am seeing in these comments. I should really go scan my shelves as I bet there are more than I am remembering.

Catharina--I read a few Berg books years ago, though now I can't remember which and what the stories were like--I'm pretty sure I have Pull of the Moon and I also need to read Stone Diaries. I love making book lists! :)

Kathleen--Me as well! I think I even bought a newer edition of it because I liked the cover so much--how shallow is that of me???

Caroline--Thanks for the link--I might have to read along with both books. I have Tracy Chevalier's book and have wanted to read it for ages--just waiting for a good excuse I think. I will note the dates. There was a time when I read all of Tracy's books as soon as they came out, but the last few I've only bought and have not yet read. And I am due to reread The Color Purple--it would fit in perfectly with my reading project--also I think it is not very long either. Thanks for the heads up as I love readalongs.

Michelle--I think you are in for a treat on all three books--and I am really enjoying listening to Dracula. I read it several years ago and as you say it is really very engaging. There are multiple readers for the audio and I am very impressed by them. I listen to it on my morning and evening walks to and from the bus stop. I forgot about The Observations--I read that when it came out and remember now the set up of the story. It was interesting--I have her new book to read, too! ;)


Oh great... I was not sure whether you had read Tracy Chevalier. I only read The Girl with a Pearl Earring and really loved it.


I've read a couple of these and have one or two more on my reading pile or list--some of them I didn't even realize had a diary format. I like the diary/letter format in novels on occasion as it gives the book a more personal, intimate feel.


A few suggestions:
Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston (diary-like)

Artificial Silk Girl by Irmgard Keun

and a few others


oops, the link:


A few that come to mind:

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster (this is really epistolary, though...)

The Diary of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain

Karen K.

I second Elizabeth and Her German Garden and the Adrian Mole Diaries. However, as I recall Daddy Long-Legs (and Dear Enemy, the sequel) were mostly letters, but they're still wonderful. I recently read The Stone Diaries and was underwhelmed. It was for the second meeting of the library book group I'd just started, and I probably would have liked it better if anyone had shown up to discuss it with me!

Not a diary, but a great novella in letters is Lady Susan by Jane Austen, one of her early works. It's quite hilarious.


Caroline--I've read The Girl with a Pearl Earring at least twice and really do like her books. Now I'm looking forward to reading Remarkable Creatures, too, which I have only heard good things about!

Kathy--I think usually I don't even notice when it's a diary format or not, but there is a nice intimacy about the way the story is presented. And now that I am on a diary binge I am looking for them specifically.

Melwyk--I have the Keun book and didn't even realize it was a diary format--that will automatically be bumped up the pile. I remember when you wrote about the Preston book--I had added it to my wishlist then. Maybe my library will have it. Now I will have to check out your links--thanks!

Mona--I like epistolary novels in general, so I am always happy to have suggestions for either. I just happen to be reading diaries at the moment. Thanks for the ideas--I don't think I had even heard of that particular Twain novel!

Karen--I think I would be put off a book, too, if it was something I read for an organized event that wasn't attended! I think I had heard ambivalent sorts of responses to the Shields book, which is why I hadn't read it yet, but I think I would still like it. I read Lady Susan ages ago for a book club and that is one I could happily reread. And I think I might have Daddy Long Legs on my Nook as a matter of fact, so it is handy for when the mood strikes! Thanks.


Oh, I love diaries. If you get a chance, do get a copy of The Assassin's Cloak, an anthology of the world's greatest diarists. It is a daily gathering of entries by Pepys, Mansfield, and Mole among many others. It is a wonderful book for jump starting your morning. Usually there are two or three entries for every day from different writers, philosophers and poets. It is a work of art.

When I purchased my Nook Color last year, it came with a copy of Dracula. I had just seen how thick the real book was and decided to give it a try on my new toy. It was so compelling. I had no idea that it was written in the form of diaries, letters, and news clippings. I was quite taken with the story and happy to add the title to my list of classics read.

And I adore the laugh-out-loud Provincial Lady books.


Belle--Someone else mentioned The Assassin's Cloak, but I didn't realize the format of it--I must buy it now! It would be the perfect book to read over the course of a year--am guessing that is how it is set up? I love the diaries I've been reading--have really been enjoying this little project. And I am finding the audio of Dracula really, really good! There are multiple readers--each character has a different reader so you feel like it is really being told to you. I am thoroughly enjoying it and am wrapped up in the story every time I listen. I read it before, but this has been a fun experience. It does looks a little intimidating when you see the book. And the PL is marvelous!

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