Books in Diary or Journal Form

Michaela from Vienna emailed me with an excellent suggestion for a post: a listing of books written in journal form. The example she gave was I Capture the Castle:

I’d never read this book, but the description made me want to:
I Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over six turbulent months, to hone her writing skills. She fills three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries. Her journals candidly chronicle the great changes that take place within the castle’s walls, and her own first descent into love. By the time she pens her final entry, she has “captured the castle”–and the heart of the reader–in one of literature’s most enchanting entertainments.

I have to admit I had a hard time thinking of other books like this that I’d actually read. One favorite I’d have to mention would be Bridget Jones’s Diary— not exactly serious literary fare, but very clever and funny. And of course there’s The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

I turned to the helping hands of Google for more ideas:
A list on Goodreads

A discussion forum at AbsoluteWrite.

Amazon customer discussion of books written in diary or letter form

The Wikipedia page for “epistolary novel,” though most of the examples are written in the form of letters or other documents, rather than diaries.

How about you? Please share any other favorite books featuring diaries or written in diary form!

7 thoughts on “Books in Diary or Journal Form”

  1. I actually completed the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do It Yourself Book. As a 42 year old man, I have to admit… it was a lot of fun. My kids loved seeing what next thing Dad did in his book (there’s cartoons to draw, lists to make, prompts to finish), but the greatest part about it was there was a sizable amount of pages towards the back for journaling, so this was my actual journal at the time. Loved doing it.

  2. Although not for the timid, Anais Nin wrote alot in journal form, recording a good part of her personal and private life. Most of these have been restored in recent years to their original form by friends and family at her request after her death.

  3. I capture the castle is a lovely book. Well worth a read.

    One of my favourite books of all time is called The Red Leather Diary (I reviewed it briefly at It’s actually a non-fiction book following two stories. The author, Lily Koppel, finds a red leather diary when her apartment block is cleared out of clutter from decades ago. She decides to save the diary from the trash, and when she opens it she discovers the diary of a teenage girl living in 1920s New York. She decides to go on a mission to find the girl who wrote the diary. The books follows both the entries in the 1920s diary and Lily’s efforts to find the author and reunite her with her teenage journal. It’s such a lovely story!

    Not a journal-style book, but still a good read, is 84 Charing Cross Road. It’s another real life story, but this one follows the format of letters between two pen pals. Lovely story, and it was also made into a film.

  4. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the first part is entirely written as a diary. The second part relies on a number of devices including letters and a phonographic personal journals. In fact a later discovered diary is a common horrot story device. Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Arkroyd is written in diary form with a strange twist. Finally, I will recommend Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole series, all of which is written as diary entries.

  5. Tracy: I admire Anais Nin’s writing and am still reading her diaries, there are so many it takes a lifetime to get through!

    More books I can think of to add to the list are:
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower
    100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed (note: also not for the timid)

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