16 Gripping Novels That Feature Diaries, Journals, and a Strong Sense of Place

16 Gripping Novels That Feature Diaries, Journals, and a Strong Sense of Place

Monday, 28 November, 2022

Whether it’s a pocket-sized book with a heart-shaped lock, a spiral-bound notebook, a carefully constructed bullet journal, or a no-nonsense Moleskin, the pages of a diary are filled with unfiltered thoughts meant for only one person: its owner.

But the confessions and revelations that follow the words ‘Dear Diary’ are often too hard to resist for prying eyes. It might be wrong to read someone else’s diary, but as these books prove, it’s also irresistible.


A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki

Prepare to meet three amazing women: a 16-year-old in Tokyo, a middle-aged Japanese-American in British Columbia, and a Zen Buddhist nun, who also happens to be 104 years old and an anarchist. They populate a story that’s all about the small moments that add up to the meaning of life.

Ruth is a former New Yorker now living in rural Canada. One day, she finds a mysterious diary and letters inside a Hello Kitty lunchbox on the beach — part of the detritus from the 2011 tsunami that struck Japan. Its author is Nao (pronounced ‘Now’), a teenager living in Tokyo. She’s bullied, lonely, disillusioned, and emotionally abandoned by her father, and the reasons for all of this slowly become clear via her diary entries.

The only person in her life who doesn’t let her down is her elderly great-grandmother (and radical feminist) Jiko. She lives in a Zen temple on a mountain and delivers delightful moments of levity and beauty to the narrative.

As Ruth reads Nao’s words on the other side of the ocean, she slowly grows attached to the girl, even though their relationship is out of sync — the events Ruth experiences in the present are the plot points of Nao’s past. So what is happening to Nao now?

Mystery, coming-of-age tale, family saga; this novel is a moving examination of the various meanings of time and how we choose to spend our precious days. {more}

Old Jiko is super careful with her time. She does everything really really slowly, even when she’s just sitting on the veranda, looking out at the dragonflies spinning lazily around the garden pond. She says that she does everything really really slowly in order to spread time out so that she’ll have more of it and live longer, and then she laughs so that you know she is telling you a joke. — Ruth Ozeki


The Book of Speculation - Erika Swyler

The Book of Speculation
> Erika Swyler

This novel probably doesn’t need a hard sell. It includes, in no particular order, two librarians, a tarot card reader, a traveling circus, mermaids, dark secrets, a family curse, and an antiquarian book that plays a pivotal role in the action.

Our hero is Simon, a librarian who lives alone in his family’s crumbling home on a bluff overlooking Long Island Sound. Both of his parents are dead. His much-adored mother was a circus mermaid who performed by holding her breath. But on a fateful day, on the beach just below their house, she drowned. That terrible event was the beginning of the end for his family. Soon, his father had also passed, and his younger sister had run away with a traveling carnival.

One day, a fragile, water-damaged book arrives in the mail. Simon soon learns this mysterious volume, a logbook from a traveling circus of the 1700s, may hold the key to a centuries-old mystery involving the women in this family. Is his family cursed?

Erika Swyler combines the magical and the mundane in a way that’s irresistible and immersive. And during the climax of the story — when a massive storm is raging outside — our heroes take refuge in the library. What else do you need to know? {more}

The box contains a good-sized book, carefully wrapped. Even before opening it, the musty, slightly acrid scent indicates old paper, wood, leather, and glue. It’s enveloped in tissue and newsprint, and unwrapping reveals a dark leather binding covered with what would be intricate scrollwork had it not suffered substantial water damage. A small shock runs through me. It’s very old, not a book to be handled with naked fingers, but seeing as it’s already ruined, I give in to the quiet thrill of touching something with history. — Erika Swyler


His Bloody Project - Graeme MaCrae Burnet

His Bloody Project
> Graeme Macrae Burnet

There is no dispute: 17-year-old Roderick Macrae has murdered his village neighbor Lachlan Broad along with Broad’s daughter and son. So we know the what. This dark, involving thriller examines the why and the how of this gruesome murder. Is Roddy evil, misunderstood, or insane?

We learn Roddy’s story through the pages of his diary, and it’s a heart-breaker. Downtrodden and abandoned by the people he loves, he’s a sensitive soul — kind to animals, smitten with a local girl. But in his dangerously insular, deeply religious village, might makes right and the sensitive suffer. You’ll ache for Roddy as you read his account of the untenable situation he faced, and you might even understand why he lashed out in a moment of confusion.

But as the story continues to unfold — through police statements from the other villagers, medical records, the report of a criminal psychologist, court transcripts — the view of what really happened becomes foggier.

The salty sea air, the withering cold, the claustrophobic confines of the crofters’ existence, the petty squabbles that define village life — all are brought to vivid life through the distinct voices that argue Roddy’s innocence and guilt. {more}

The outlook in these parts is that if one is to be visited by misfortune, there is nothing that can be done to avoid it. — Graeme Macrae Burnet


The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery

The Elegance of the Hedgehog
> Muriel Barbery

On the outside, Renée fits the stereotype of an inconsequential concierge. She’s middle-aged, prickly, irascible, dowdy, her television playing nonstop in the background. Little do the residents know that it’s all by design. Renée is secretly a reader and deep thinker who consciously dons her frumpiness like armor against the wealthy, vapid neighbors she serves in her building.

And Paloma. Paloma is a typical pre-teen in her disdain for her family. She documents resentments of her family in a journal labeled ‘profound thoughts,’ enumerating her issues with their wealth, their frivolousness, their privilege, their hypocrisy. She yearns for life to prove to her that there is real beauty in the world.

When Renée and Paloma strike up an unlikely friendship, it upends the lives of everyone in the building. But the simple plot is merely an excuse to spend time wandering in the minds of these two women. They take turns narrating the story, and their first-person flights of fancy are a delight. They dish on philosophy, art, literature, class, love — all the big stuff — with a world-weary enthusiasm (Renée) and a vibrant naiveté (Paloma) that’s impossible to resist. {more}

Note: This is also fantastic on audiobook with two narrators who bring Renée and Paloma vividly to life through their voice acting and accents.

The tea ritual: such a precise repetition of the same gestures and the same tastes; accession to simple, authentic and refined sensations, a license given to all, at little cost, to become aristocrats of taste, because tea is the beverage of the wealthy and the poor; the tea ritual, therefore, has the extraordinary virtue of introducing into the absurdity of our lives an aperture of serene harmony. Yes, the world may aspire to vacuousness, lost souls mourn beauty, insignificance surrounds us. Then let us drink a cup of tea. Silence descends, one hears the wind outside, autumn leaves rustle and take flight, the cat sleeps in a warm pool of light. And, with each swallow, time is sublimed. — Muriel Barbery


The Reece Malcolm List - Amy Spalding

The Reece Malcolm List
> Amy Spalding

This novel follows in the great literary tradition of stories that begin with the death of a parent — and then author Amy Spalding takes the plot in pleasingly unexpected directions.

When 16-year-old Devan’s father dies, she’s exported to Los Angeles to live with her mother, a best-selling author she’s never met. Devan is a list-maker, and in her journal, she keeps a heartbreakingly meager list of the facts she knows about her mom, a.k.a., Reece Malcolm.

After a bumpy start in her new home, Devan enrolls in the performing arts school and begins to find her way. But nothing is ever simple as we’d like it to be, and her conflicting bouts of confidence and insecurity perfectly encapsulate the agony of adolescence. She’s confused about her romantic feelings; she lashes out at the people she cares about the most; she yearns for female friends she can trust.

This light read plumbs emotional depths without clonking you over the head with its message, and is, ultimately, about finding where and how to belong in the world. {more}

He’s wearing a totally normal T-shirt from the mall or whatever, but it hangs on him like the shirt has fulfilled its sole mission in life. — Amy Spalding


Crow - Amy Spurway

> Amy Spurway

This is the funniest and most life-affirming book about a woman with brain tumors that you’ll ever read. The story is narrated by our heroine, Crow. Her real name is Stacey Fortune from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. But she’s left behind her small-town life to be a career girl in Toronto. She’s got a fiancée, works in marketing, and wears high heels. It’s all happening. But then things fall apart. Her heart is smashed to bits, and she learns she has three inoperable and unpredictable brain tumors.

So she returns to her childhood bedroom in her mom’s trailer, where her tumors cause rainbow-colored hallucinations, rubbery limbs, and frequent vomiting.

The novel’s conceit is that Crow is writing her memoir, and her voice is pitch-perfect: sarcastic and self-deprecating with just enough vulnerability to make you care about her.

Exhibit A: ‘How do I tell people that my secret to dropping the extra twenty pounds I lugged around most of my life wasn’t hot yoga or detoxing? And then how do I fake optimism and pretend I haven’t leapfrogged over the normal seven stages of grief and invented my own single stage: Surly and Reckless Resignation to Being Doomed.’ {more}

Irish wakes are pot luck. But no egg, tuna, or lobster salad sandwiches will be allowed at mine. And no mystery squares or funeral hams. My buffet table will groan with the weight of all my favourites, from the days when I didn’t give a shit about factory-farmed meats and non-GMO organic kale and MSG hangovers and the mid-life spread: suicide spicy chicken wings, donair pizza, poutine, bacon-and-cheese-stuffed bacon-wrapped cheese balls. Deep fried. Dipped in butter. Foods that Stacey-Fortune-in-Toronto avoided because she was scared they’d kill her or make her chubby. But Dying-Crow-Fortune-in-Cape-Breton doesn’t give a fuck. My throng of family, friends, and fans can expect an eclectic mix of my favourite music. Nothing sappy. It’s my party, and you won’t cry if I don’t want you to. Besides, it’s bad luck to start the keening too early. I’ll save the real tear-jerker tunes until the end, just before my wake transitions into the big sleep. — Amy Spurway


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë

Anne seems doomed to be the sometimes forgotten Brontë, but this novel is essential reading: Most literary critics hail it as one of the first feminist novels. It also happens to be a rollicking good read.

The story centers on Helen Graham, a woman struggling for independence and a safe, happy life for her son. On the run from a shady past, she takes up residence in the previously neglected Wildfell Hall.

Helen is a beguiling riddle to the townspeople, the subject of intense curiosity and judgment. She soon becomes a favorite topic for tongue-wagging over tea. Beautiful, but unmarried, distant and self-contained, she’s an artist who sells her own paintings to make a living… how dare she?

Unlike Thornfield and Wuthering Heights, Wildfell Hall is not haunted by ghosts or memories, but it is damp, unwelcoming, in disarray — a reflection of the town’s attitude toward Helen and Helen’s own state of mind when she arrives. Even the garden has given way to weeds, and a boxwood shrub carved into a swan ‘had lost its neck and half its body.’

Anne Brontë’s writing style is a little more accessible than her sisters’, and much of this novel feels quite modern. Helen, our struggling heroine, is equal parts 19th-century stick-in-the-mud and badass role model: courageous, honest, determined, self-contained. {more}

Near the top of this hill, about two miles from Linden-Car, stood Wildfell Hall, a superannuated mansion of the Elizabethan era, built of dark grey stone, venerable and picturesque to look at, but doubtless, cold and gloomy enough to inhabit, with its thick stone mullions and little latticed panes, its time-eaten air-holes, and its too lonely, too unsheltered situation — only shielded from the war of wind and weather by a group of Scotch firs, themselves half blighted with storms, and looking as stern and gloomy as the Hall itself. — Anne Brontë


The Stranger Diaries - Elly Griffiths

The Stranger Diaries
> Elly Griffiths

Ghosts aren’t real. Right? That’s the question our heroine Clare Cassidy struggles to answer in this modern Gothic murder mystery. Betrayal, illicit affairs, witchcraft, and secrets committed to a diary haunt this can’t-put-it-down novel.

Sure, Clare sometimes wishes she was a teacher at a more prestigious school — Talgarth isn’t exactly Oxford. But in the soft light of October, it can be easy to imagine she’s teaching at a university, ‘somewhere ancient and hallowed.’ Plus, it’s home to Holland Hall, named for its previous occupant: R.M. Holland, author of the Gothic story The Stranger and the subject of Clare’s biography-in-progress.

Then real tragedy strikes: Clare’s co-worker and best friend is murdered. The police are convinced the murderer is someone Clare knows because found next to the body is a handwritten note inscribed with a line from The Stranger.

Soon, everyone is a suspect — students, other teachers, the philandering head of the school — and their dark secrets are brought into the light, including the ones Clare meticulously scribbles in her diary every day. The structure and the judiciously doled out clues keep everyone guessing until the thrilling denouement when all the mysteries are resolved, and the ghosts are finally laid to rest. {more}

‘If you’ll permit me,’ said the Stranger, ‘I’d like to tell you a story. After all, it’s a long journey and, by the look of those skies, we’re not going to be leaving this carriage for some time. So, why not pass the hours with some story-telling? The perfect thing for a late October evening. — Elly Griffiths


The Red Notebook - Antoine Laurain

The Red Notebook
> Antoine Laurain

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to own a darling neighborhood bookshop in Paris, this is the novel for you. Bonus: It’s a romantic caper as sweet and satisfying (and endearingly flaky) as a pain au chocolat.

Our would-be hero Laurent Letellier is the owner of the Le Cahier Rouge bookshop. He’s a fixture in his Parisian neighborhood and has a routine that suits him. But one day, he finds a mauve handbag on the street. Was it dropped? Lost? Stolen? Inside, there’s no identification or phone — just a red notebook filled with feminine handwriting, ‘sometimes with crossings out, underlinings, or words written in capital letters.’ Suddenly, he’s in the grip of a small adventure. He becomes fascinated with the woman who jotted down her thoughts ‘as the whim took her, on café terraces or on the Métro.’ He makes it his mission to find her and return her handbag.

As Laurent follows the meager clues to her identity, he travels from police station to bookshop to dry cleaner and café, through the village streets of Paris lined with small businesses and neighborhood characters. We get to know the quirky people in his life and the city of Paris itself. {more}

As he left the building, he glanced over at the metal shutter of the shop. Shortly he would raise it by turning a key in the electronic panel, then nod a greeting to his neighbor Jean Martel (of Le Temps Perdu — antiques, bric-a-brac, bought and sold) enjoying a café crème on the terrace of Jean Bart. He would also wave to the lady from the dry cleaner’s who in turn would wave back through the window. Then after the shutter was up, he would look over his own shop window as he always did with its ‘New fiction,’ ‘Art books, ‘Bestsellers,’ alongside ‘Books we love’ and ‘Must reads.’ — Antoine Laurain


The Martian - Andy Weir

The Martian
> Andy Weir

What do you do if you’re stranded on Mars? Alone. Communication with Earth is a non-starter. And the clock is ticking. If you’re our hero Mark Watney, you crack a lot of jokes and get to work. After all, you’ve only got about a month to save yourself.

It’s 2035. NASA’s Ares 3 mission to Mars had been going pretty well for Watney and the rest of the team. But just six days into their stay at Acidalia Planitia, a dust storm literally blows the expedition apart. The crew is forced to quickly evacuate, leaving their fallen comrade Mark for dead. There’s just one problem: He’s very much alive. And now he’s stranded on an inhospitable planet 249 million miles from home.

It’s not all bad news: He’s got a Habitat for shelter (with an expiration date in 31 days). There are air and water, so long as the Oxygenator and Water Reclaimer keep functioning. So Mark decides to ‘work the problem,’ writing a bitingly-funny, poignant journal of his exploits to share his story and keep himself company. ‘I’d give anything for a five-minute conversation with anyone. Anyone, anywhere. About anything. I’m the first person to be alone on an entire planet.’ {more}

It’s a strange feeling. Everywhere I go, I’m the first. Step outside the rover? First guy ever to be there! Climb a hill? First guy to climb that hill! Kick a rock? That rock hadn’t moved in a million years! I’m the first guy to drive long-distance on Mars. The first guy to spend more than thirty-one sols on Mars. The first guy to grow crops on Mars. First, first, first! — Andy Weir


The Monsters of Templeton - Lauren Groff

The Monsters of Templeton
> Lauren Groff

‘The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the 50-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass.’

We’re not giving anything away with that quote. The monster makes its appearance in the first sentence of this spellbinding novel. But believe it or not, the elusive beast isn’t even the most important part of this story. The monster is the catalyst.

What’s front and center is the aforementioned disgrace. Our heroine Willie has returned from graduate studies in California to her childhood home to recover from a broken heart. She’s expecting to merely hide out until she heals from the humiliation and disappointment. Instead, she learns another hard truth: The facts she thought she knew about her father are a lie.

While Willie tries to put herself back together, she finds purpose in crumbling newspaper editorials, journal entries, and a packet of old letters that is actually labeled ‘Contents disturbing and painful.’ She slowly uncovers her past and tries to forge a way to a new and unplanned-for future. {more}

It is now September, the summer will be over; it was long, it was hard, but soon there will be the geese. Soon, breath in the mornings, soon long sleeves and tights, headbands to protect our delicate ears. — Lauren Groff


The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova

The Historian
> Elizabeth Kostova

‘Vampire librarian.’ If those two words have sold you on this book, feel free to stop reading this and get your hands on a copy of the book immediately. If you want more, try this: It’s a spine-tingling page-turner and a celebration of the unbreakable bonds we form with people in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

Or this: Most of the action takes place in historical libraries, dusty archives, and mountaintop monasteries — or around tables loaded with endless cups of tea, pastries, and Balkan food.

The story begins in 1970s Amsterdam: Late one night, while exploring her father’s library, a teenage girl finds a collection of old letters and a mysterious book. She reads the letters and is suddenly more frightened than she’s ever been. When her father disappears, she sets out on a quest to find him and to resolve letters’ secrets.

Equal parts Gothic thriller, detective story, travelogue, historical fiction, and a love letter to libraries, this epic effortlessly keeps track of a large cast of unforgettable characters as they fight for light in the face of an unspeakable evil. {more}

It was strange, I reflected, as we went out into the golden evening of the Byzantine streets, that even in the weirdest circumstances, the most troubling episodes of one’s life, the greatest divides from home and familiarity, there were these moments of undeniable joy. — Elizabeth Kostova


Dracula - Bram Stoker

> Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the OG vampire. He’s intelligent, cunning, polished, and entirely terrifying — the perfect foil for the pure-hearted team hell-bent on his demise.

The names of those heroes and heroines are firmly ensconced in pop culture: Jonathan and Mina Harker, Lucy Westenra, Dr. John Seward, and Dr. Van Helsing. Their letters and diary entries, as well as newspaper articles and even a ship’s log, disclose the haunting story of the original bloodsucker. Getting caught up in their spellbinding accounts is as effortless and natural as slipping into a dream.

The story is a classic hero’s quest: Jonathan, a young solicitor eager to prove himself and marry his true love, journeys to an isolated castle in Romania to meet his client, the mysterious Count Dracula. Despite the Count’s cordial welcome, Jonathan is beleaguered by a sense of creeping dread, and his instincts are correct. He’s soon fleeing for his life and fighting to protect his friends from unsettling symptoms: sleepwalking, unaccountable blood loss, and those curious wounds on the throat.

Dracula is part of our cultural consciousness. If you’ve never read the 1897 novel that started it all, we emphatically urge you to rectify that situation immediately. Even if you think you know the story, it’s supremely suspenseful and surprisingly modern.

The Gothic plot moves at an action-movie pace. It almost seems like Stoker wrote some of the scenes — the hazardous flight from Dracula’s castle, the ghostly shipwreck off the coast of Whitby — with film in mind.

But it’s not all frantic carriage rides, harrowing escapes, and stakes through the heart. There are many moments of palpable emotion, and by the end, you realize this story about a monster was a tale of devoted friendship all along. {more}

Note: The audiobook is something special. Narrated by 13 actors, including Katy Kellgreen, Alan Cumming, and Tim Curry, this production is powerful, haunting, and heart-breaking.

We are in Transylvania, and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things. Nay, from what you have told me of your experiences already, you know something of what strange things there may be. — Bram Stoker


The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

The Woman in White
> Wilkie Collins

This story begins in the very best Gothic tradition: at midnight, on a desolate road lit by moonlit. Humble art teacher Walter Hartwright walks along the track, lost in the thoughts of his travels the next morning to Limmeridge House in Cumberland.

Suddenly, a young woman dressed entirely in white — terrified, beautiful, pleading — materializes from the shadows and lightly touches him on the shoulder. ‘Is that the road to London?’ she asks, and with those six words, Walter is caught up in a twisted world of madness, secrets, and murder.

The plot is intricately revealed through the testimony of various ‘witnesses,’ every chapter moving the story forward with a new narrator, each with their own hidden motivation. There are beleaguered women, dastardly men, sly servants, a hero with a pure heart, and Limmeridge House, the manor that isolates the characters from the rest of the world and conceals dangerous secrets in its walls. {more}

Note: This is great on audio. Award-winning audiobook narrators Josephine Bailey and Simon Prebble — they of the impeccable accents and sensitive line-readings — will draw you into the spine-tingling events of this timeless story.

There are three things that none of the young men of the present generation can do.They can’t sit over their wine; they can’t play at wist; and they can’t pay a lady a compliment. — Wilkie Collins


Wakenhyrst - Michelle Paver

> Michelle Paver

Our heroine Maud — feisty, put-upon, and about seven shades too curious — lives with her father, her two brothers, and a gaggle of servants in Wake’s End, an Edwardian manse on the edge of a wild fen. It’s 1906. Her mother is dead, and her father Edmund sees demons everywhere he looks.

Outside the walls of their home, Edmund Stearn is a revered historian. But inside the house, he’s a tyrannical taskmaster with unbreakable rules. One day, while slinking about her father’s study, Maud discovers his private diaries and takes the only reasonable action: She reads them. 15th January 1911. Last night I had the dream again. WHY? Just like that, Maud is caught up in the secrets of a gruesome murder as she struggles not with the question of who did it but why.

The mystery unfolds through two narratives: Maud’s unusual and heartbreaking upbringing and the increasingly unhinged entries from her father’s journals. The story gracefully weaves together threads of witchcraft and demonology, a Hieronymus Bosch-esque painting (with ‘tiny malevolent faces’ that were ‘painted in such obsessive detail they could be alive’), the folklore of the fens, and various hauntings of both a ghostly and emotional nature. {more}

She always liked how Wake’s End looked from outside. Its bumpy roofs were splashed with orange lichen, and its dormer windows poking from the attics looked like eyebrows over its shaggy green ivy-clad fence. The ivy kept Maud safe, and now she befriended the creatures that lived in it: wasps, spiders, whole families of sparrows. She would lie in bed watching the rustly green light filter through the leaves and listening to magpies stomping about on the roof. The old house was home to thousands of wild creatures. Not even father could evict them. — Michelle Paver


The Snow Ball - Brigid Brophy

The Snow Ball
> Brigid Brophy

New Year’s Eve, London, a Georgian mansion. Outside, a gentle snowfall. Inside, masked revelers dancing at an 18th-century themed masquerade ball. When the clock chimes midnight, a mysterious masked man kisses our heroine Anna, and the fete becomes very interesting indeed.

This intoxicating novel was a scandalous sensation when it was published in 1964. Its depiction of slow, deliberate seduction — and its examination of ‘sex, death, and Mozart’ — is enthralling, challenging, and very satisfying.

The narrative swirls among the clandestine trysts of three romantic pairs: a devoted married couple in the throes of mature love, two teenagers exploring the first whispers of passion, and the stars of the show, Anna (dressed as Mozart’s Donna Anna) and a masked Don Giovanni.

Author Brigid Brophy weaves a spell of words, sparkly and bubbly as champagne, capturing the manufactured optimism and breathlessness of New Year’s Eve. There are lots of sexy bits — so many carefully placed beauty marks, heaving bosoms, flushed cheeks, and whispered conversations that tickle the ear and neck. But it’s provocative, not graphic, titillating without being tawdry.

And when morning arrives, as it must, the bright dawn shines an inescapable and, potentially, unflattering light on the revelers and the shocking end to a glittering, sparkling, swirling celebration. {more}

Note: This enchanting book has been available only in second-hand shops until now; Faber & Faber has released a new edition in print, ebook, and audio. We loved the audiobook for Laura Kirman’s narration.

‘I like you,’ Anna said, without any emphasis or expression at all.

After a little she discerned that he was peering through the dimness towards her, towards the place at the rise of her breasts where, a little more to the left than to the right, she had stuck a beauty spot.

‘I like your beauty spot,’ he said. ‘I’ve liked it all night.’

‘I like you,’ she repeated in the same way as before.

‘Yet the curious thing is,’ he said, ‘that although I like it I want to take it off.’ — Brigid Brophy

Top image courtesy of Everett Collection/Shutterstock.

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