I'm so pleased to have today's guest post from journalist Lily Koppel about her compelling book, The Red Leather Diary, which is just out this week in paperback. The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal, is the story of Koppel's discovery of an old red leather diary in steamer trunk in a dumpster in NYC. Read on to find out about the amazing woman she discovered within the diary's pages and watch the cinematic book trailer as well.
It's a story that reads like a movie: on my way to work at the New York Times, I stumbled upon a dumpster filled with old steamer trunks, among them a flapper dress, a stunning coat from Bergdorf's, and a young woman's crumbling red leather diary. The Red Leather Diary is about my discovery of Florence Wolfson's diary, kept in New York in the 1930s, the amazing life that is portrayed in its pages, and its return to its owner at 90. Called a real life Titanic and a sexy Tuesdays with Morrie, the book comes out in paperback this week. With so much talk about the Depression, there is also renewed interest in what life was really like in the '30s as recorded in the diary. Florence, who didn't skip a single day in the diary's five years from 1929 to 1934, was crazy about art, but she was also mad about love. When Florence hosted her literary salon, she and its members were committed to the Socratic quest, to "know thyself." Three quarters of a century later, this remains Florence's ongoing journey. In her foreword, Florence writes about going from having no expectations to having a second act at 90, she asks: "How do you feel when a forgotten chunk of your life is handed back to you?" The book gazes beneath the surface of our seemingly "ordinary" lives to disclose the "private truths" of who we are. Thoroughly contemporary and timeless, the book offers a rare opportunity for mothers, daughters and grandmothers to read The Red Leather Diary together and share their own experiences at a cross-generational book club meeting.
You can browse inside the book here, and be sure to read more about the story behind the book in the PS section that is exclusive to the paperback edition. To invite Lily to talk to your book group, email her at bookclub AT redleatherdiary DOT com and check out the reading group guide and the book website.