Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Red Leather Diary by Lily Koppel

It's been a heck of a week--lots of activity that goes along with school and work recommencing. I haven't had as much time to read, and I've really missed it. Reading calms me down--gives me the rest equivalent of, perhaps, a 20 minute catnap. The books I did manage to pick up this week seemed watered down compared to the The Help. I couldn't seem to get into them; there was nothing magnetic about them, and when I'm tired, I need magnetism, sweetheart. When contemplating what book to feature today, I dredged up (from the pitted membrane behind my skull) The Red Leather Diary by Lily Koppel. A unique little memoir, Diary tells the story of NYC writer Koppel who dumpster dives outside her apartment building and finds an old diary belonging to a young resident from the 1920s. Koppel is intrigued by the teenager's musings--despite the passage of time, they seem closely aligned with her own views--and launches an search to find her. The diary's author, Florence Wolfson, now in her 90s, is alive and well and willing to talk. The book wonderfully juxtaposes the past and the present. Some things were different back then, and some weren't at all. The Red Leather Diary seamlessly blends history and feminism and, of course, the best setting in the world (imho), New York City. FYI, some of my friends did not like this book, but, as you know, books are extremely personal choices. Just like husbands or wives or mattresses.

P.S. Does shopping for a mattress sound like fun? Well, it's not.

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