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Dear Diary . . . .

"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it."

--J.M. Barrie

That's a rather weighty thought, but the fear of not living up to the best version of one's self shouldn't intimidate anyone who wants to be a diarist. It's interesting to compare your real life to your ideal version of it, and it's hard to do that without a regular account of what that real life is like, but that's not the point of the project. You don't necessarily need to fill pages with deep thoughts to make it worthwhile--your everday activities and whims are enough. These things might seem dull or too common in the moment, but the most valuable record for historians turns out to be a diary of the mundane. The things no one writes down because everyone already knows them get forgotten over time, and then we lose track of what life was like in other times and other places. So just write whatever comes into your head, and be inspired by these many different records of many different lives.


A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary Cover Image
By Anonymous, Philip Boehm (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780312426118
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Published: Picador - July 11th, 2006

The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780767932806
Availability: Special Order
Published: Image - October 25th, 2011

Mary Chesnut's Diary Cover Image
By Mary Boykin Chesnut, Catherine Clinton (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780143106067
Availability: Backordered
Published: Penguin Classics - April 26th, 2011

The Pillow Book of SEI Shonagon: The Diary of a Courtesan in Tenth Century Japan Cover Image
By Arthur Waley (Translator), Dennis Washburn (Foreword by)
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ISBN: 9784805311080
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Published: Tuttle Publishing - March 10th, 2011

Henry and June: From
ISBN: 9780156400572
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Published: Mariner Books - October 29th, 1990

Iraqigirl: Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq Cover Image
ISBN: 9781931859738
Availability: Backordered
Published: Haymarket Books - August 1st, 2009

Memoirs of a Breton Peasant Cover Image
By Jean-Marie Deguignet, Linda Asher (Translated by)
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ISBN: 9781609803469
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Published: Seven Stories Press - October 18th, 2011

Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of Emily Carr Cover Image
By Emily Carr, Gerta Moray (Introduction by)
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ISBN: 9781553651727
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Published: Douglas & McIntyre - April 10th, 2007

Signs of Home: The Paintings and Wartime Diary of Kamekichi Tokita (Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies) Cover Image
By Barbara Johns, Stephen H. Sumida (Foreword by)
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ISBN: 9780295991009
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Published: University of Washington Press - September 15th, 2011

Berlin in Lights: The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler (1918-1937) Cover Image
By Charles Kessler (Editor), Ian Buruma (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780802138392
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Published: Grove Press - December 18th, 2001