Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Book of One's Own: People and Their Diaries” as Want to Read:
A Book of One's Own: People and Their Diaries
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A Book of One's Own: People and Their Diaries

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  120 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Strangely enough, this exploration of one of the most private of writing endeavors is likely to send readers off in a zillion different directions. Thomas Mallon's survey of diarists throughout the ages introduces us to the most personal writings of more than 100 diarists, including Samuel Pepys, Leonardo da Vinci, Virginia Woolf, and Lee Harvey Oswald. Mallon divides the ...more
Hardcover, 318 pages
Published November 1st 1984 by Ticknor & Fields (first published 1984)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 408)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jennifer
I really loved this book. Mallon is definitely a bit of a wordy intellectual, and can overanalyze (almost to the point of cruelty) some of the diaries and diarists. He often assumes too much of the reader, dropping names and events for context that don't always come to my little mind. With that said, though, this is a wonderful look inside the different people and different reasons people write in journals and diaries. Mallon has read (at least!) dozens of diaries and there are enough direct quo ...more
D'face
I really enjoyed this overview of more than one hundred diaries. Mallon groups the diaries into categories of writers and their circumstances and shows that diaries can serve many purposes. Some record travels, others confinement, some religious development and others creative, some are used to argue a point of view whilst others are used as cofessionals.

If you are interested in books, writing and the creative process this book will be of interest to you. The role of diaries as a historical reco
...more
Adrian
Mallon's survey of the best published diaries and why they are special. We all enjoy coming across our favourites in books like these. Mine are- Boswell, Sarton, Barbellion, Speer and Mansfield. I've noted some diarists I was unaware of such as Helen Bevington, William Souter, Ellen Weeton and Eve Wilson. This book was written 25 years before Mallon's volume on letter writers and betrays a religious inclination I wasn't aware of reading the later volume. He is also a little quick to judge withou ...more
Stacie Nishimoto
"I was, I was - I am."

A fun read indeed! Conversational, witty, erudite, as interested in the diaries of famous poets as those of their overshadowed spouses and siblings. Mallon slips through the pages of chroniclers, travelers, pilgrims, creators, confessors, prisoners, and apologists with ease, contributing empathetic, critical, and humorous commentary. At the very least, peruse the introduction!

"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his
...more
Ilya
Thomas Mallon is a fantastic novelist, whose sentences crackle with humor and irony.

When I found this book at a used bookstore, I wondered whether it was the same Mallon who wrote a non-fiction survey of journals and diaries. It is. And Mallon's same wryness and wit are there just the same.

I keep a journal every day, so there was a lot to interest me in this book. But because it jumps from one diarist to another, the book never grabbed me the way, say, "Fellow Travelers" did. (I am however amaz
...more
H
May 25, 2009 H added it
Shelves: memoir
An affirmation for journals and diaries, which fascinate us both as writers and readers. Wonderful introduction. The rest is something of a history of diary-writers and their secret stories, categorized by the function of the diaries. The most interesting was the section on diaries logging the writer's creation of art.
Madeline
Good for reading before bed and finding out which diaries might be interesting. But don't ask it to do any more than that, I think.

Mallon is mostly a pretty good writer, but there are some snags here that even my not-very-attentive reading couldn't pass over.
Dave Peticolas

Mallon surveys diarists and their writing over the centuries.

Kailey
Never made it past the introduction. Boring.
Joy H.
Feb 18, 2010 Joy H. marked it as keep-in-mind  ·  review of another edition
About diary-keeping.
Willow Curtis
Jul 25, 2013 Willow Curtis marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
pg 23
Jonathan Korns
Jonathan Korns marked it as to-read
Feb 17, 2015
Mary Grace
Mary Grace marked it as to-read
Feb 13, 2015
Nicole Donze
Nicole Donze marked it as to-read
Feb 02, 2015
Sada Sharidzuan
Sada Sharidzuan marked it as to-read
Jan 31, 2015
Myra
Myra marked it as to-read
Jan 31, 2015
Donna
Donna marked it as to-read
Jan 30, 2015
Shelby
Shelby marked it as to-read
Jan 29, 2015
Omar
Omar marked it as to-read
Jan 28, 2015
Deborah
Deborah marked it as to-read
Jan 25, 2015
Deanna
Deanna marked it as to-read
Jan 24, 2015
Fisayo Adesina
Fisayo Adesina marked it as to-read
Jan 20, 2015
Scholar
Scholar marked it as to-read
Jan 18, 2015
Ji
Ji marked it as to-read
Jan 16, 2015
Elyza
Elyza marked it as to-read
Jan 16, 2015
Mercurialgem
Mercurialgem marked it as to-read
Jan 15, 2015
Hoang Thao
Hoang Thao marked it as to-read
Jan 13, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal
  • The New Diary: How to use a journal for self-guidance and expanded creativity.
  • The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists
  • Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits
  • Life's Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Practice
  • Daybook: The Journal of an Artist
  • Journal to the Self: Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth - Open the Door to Self-Understanding by Writing, Reading, and Creating a Journal of Your Life
  • Anybody Can Do Anything
  • Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey
  • A Life of One's Own
  • Readings: Essays and Literary Entertainments
  • The Brontës: A Life in Letters
  • Old Books, Rare Friends: Two Literary Sleuths and Their Shared Passion
  • Creative Journal Writing: The Art and Heart of Reflection
  • Memoir: A History
  • Lost Classics: Writers on Books Loved and Lost, Overlooked, Under-read, Unavailable, Stolen, Extinct, or Otherwise Out of Commission
  • Recovering: A Journal
  • Writing for Your Life: Discovering the Story of Your Life's Journey
2096
Thomas Mallon is a novelist, critic and director of the creative writing program at The George Washington University.

He attended Brown University as an undergraduate and earned a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. from Harvard. He received the Ingram Merrill Foundation Award in 1994 and won a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1987. Mallon taught English at Vassar College from 1979-1991.

Mallon is the author of the
...more
More about Thomas Mallon...
Watergate Henry and Clara Fellow Travelers Bandbox Dewey Defeats Truman

Share This Book

“(about Voltaire)...he was generally unbedeviled by any foolish consistency.” 2 likes
More quotes…