Diaries and the curated self


I wasn’t entirely happy with this book and my main complain has to do with editing. It would have been better if the book had been just 2014 probably, or 2015. As so little is written the first two years it makes little sense to include it. And as worthy as her work against climate change is, she writes the same thing about it, partly because she does the same thing over and over. But it isn’t a joy to read.

I’m fairly well informed on these things but that is also an area where things are moving very fast. As a blogpost when they were originally published they were probably very on point but now? They feel out of place. This was never Westwoods own diaries but written with others in mind. It has charm, I’m in awe of her and her work and even though I don’t agree with her on the stagnation of culture I’m still interested in her opinions. Just because I have an opposite view I wouldn’t give a book a lukewarm review but bore me with your repetitions? Then I start to roll my eyes.

There are other ways to go about it.


Tracy Emin’s My life in a column is in a sense a diary, and this book with a collection of her columns, is absolutely brilliant. Emin is an artist I admire and she is a good writer(I very much recommend her memoir Strangeland) and partly because she’s obviously had an editor that brought out the best in her. She herself realizes at some point that she has started to view the things that happen in her life through a lens; “Is this columnable?”. A very good word and I understand fully what she means.

New York Diaries is another version of a curated diary  in that it’s the diaries of many made into one. Teresa Carpenter has dug through archives and chosen one entry a day from a diary written in New York by someone famous or unknown, someone living there or a visitor. The breadth of stories contained between two covers is great reading, I stumbled across this book and I’m so glad that I did.

Last but not least; The Folded clock by Heidi Julavits. It’s a book I keep coming back too not just because of the pretty cover. Instead of writing in the classical format, albeit saving the “Dear Diary”, she has edited, played with time and ended up with almost a collection of essays or reflections. Read from cover to cover like a book it would probably not hold up, but as a side reading,an entry a day, a little here and there it’s a joy.

I do love reading other people’s diaries, always nosey this one, and they should be read almost like they are written: in pieces not as a whole. I love having a book like that in my stack of books. I’m glad I got Westwood from the library though, as it is not a book I wish to keep.

Books referred to in this post;

Get a life-The diaries of Vivianne Westwood

My life in a column by Tracy Emin

Strangeland by Tracy Emin

New York diaries by Teresa Carpenter

The folded clock by Heidi Julavits






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