Thoughts of a diarist – and a 1940s book cover


I bought this for the cover and didn’t really feel inclined to read further than the inside jacket which explains it is the writings of ‘a civil servant in close association with local government’ who has travelled between London and Edinburgh and kept a diary in which lots of things ‘come under fire’.

Yet this is a case of love a book for its cover, and never judge a book by its blurb, because there’s a great little foreword, meekly titled ‘An author’s apology’, which includes thoughts worth leaving behind…

In a way, diary writing is a weakness. It is self-consciousness, vanity. You feel important – I must really write something – this is a day, I have been alive in it, it cannot just pass the void as a million million of days have done…

There is nothing much to tell that any other cannot tell. Our experiences are not unique. I am not one of those who go to Hamburg to bomb it for the first time or travel with Mr Churchill to see Mr Stalin. We are all too ordinary and yet – I write as a sedative. It calms me to write in this book with this atrocious pen in this atrocious Commercial Room. It brings me to my resting bed dreamy and content and not wholly feeling that life is nothing.


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