Friday, April 10, 2009

The Red Leather Diary


Just finished a book I could not put down, "The Red Leather Diary". Read it in three days which, given my work schedule and my passion for blogging and reading the blogs of others, is quite a feat.

The book chronicles the true story of an aspiring twenty something newspaper journalist who moves to NYC, takes a job with the NY Times and apartment-shares with an older woman in an old brownstone on Riverside Drive. One afternoon, the writer arrives at the brownstone to find a large dumpster filled with old steamer trunks and vintage items. Intrigued, she climbs into the dumpster and begins to search through the antique treasures left behind long ago, now headed for the garbage pile. Her search leads her to a crumbling red leather bound diary with a lock. The story-within-a-story is about the author of the diary: a pert, privileged, fourteen year old Jewish girl in 1929. It captures Manhattan in the twenties and early thirties...the clubs, the theatre, the educated, the artistic, bohemian and cafe society, the ex-pats and the avant garde.

Florence Howitt, the diarist, chronicles five formative years of her life between the ages of 14 & 19 through five unbelievably rich tumultuous years in New York City and Europe, 1929-1934. This is a must read for anyone with an interest in the Jazz Age.

For an in-depth overview of the book by chicagotribune.com, go here. For a wonderful book web site, full color photos & interviews & more, go here.

8 comments:

Star said...

I think historical stories are always more interesting than you think they're going to be. What are you going to read next?
Hope you're enjoying your Easter Eggs?
Blessings, Star

Lover of Life said...

Sounds intriguing. On my list! Thanks.

Ruth said...

When I hear about stories, whatever and whosever they are, I realize there is no end to our interest in the human experience. Even when someone's story is so different from our own, it's the common humanity that connects us. So we have to keep telling ours. And blogging is how we're doing it now, just fascinating.

Susan said...

That sounds so fascinating! I've been looking for a new read and this sounds perfect. Thanks for the recommendation!

California Girl said...

Star: just started "Gringos in Paradise" last night. It's about a Manhattanite career couple, now in their late fifties, who decide to relocate to Mexico and build their retirement/dream home.

LOL: you will love it.

Ruth: my new book should be right up your alley as well. The author is a former magazine editor for top publications.

Susan: it is worth the read.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

another book for the must read list!

Reya Mellicker said...

Fantastic pic of the brand new leaves. There's no green like that fresh new green, is there?

California Girl said...

kimy: definitely a good read.

Reya: you are right. This is from last year, we're waiting for this year's green. Pics to follow!

Christina

Christina
by Cole Scott