The Diary of a Young Girl
The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists. I’m really taken with a quite obscure 2001 anthology, “The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists,” edited by Irene and Alan Taylor. It includes diary entries from Sofia Tolstoy and Brian Eno and Andy Warhol and Queen Victoria and Joseph Goebbels and Anne Frank and John Wesley and on and on — all these wildly disparate lives butting up against each other. My new book is in part about how social media has become an echo chamber — where we surround ourselves with people who feel the same way we do. When someone enters our circle who isn’t like us, we sometimes cast them aggressively out, hence the startling renaissance of public shaming, online. In a sense “The Assassin’s Cloak” reminds me of what I used to love about Twitter. The book is a cascade of lives that are often nothing like ours — heroic, important, nondescript, petty, despicable. But instead of rejecting those people, we read their diary entries and get inside their heads.