Pepys’ Diary is not great literature, although a wonderful read. It is an important historical and social record of its era. Pepys was on the ship that brought Charles Stuart back from Europe; he notes new flags, the renaming of vessels, the response of the fleet, and Charles’s spaniel defecating in the launch taking him to shore. Present at the Coronation, Pepys got sick drunk afterwards, awakening, the Diary tells us, in his own vomit. Pepys pays attention to the details: the pigeons in the fire that waited too long, flying from the flames with their wings afire and then plummeting. He helps us understand the ordinary context of life in London—its pleasure gardens, taverns, and restaurants, what food people were fond of, the "clubs," churches, playhouses, plays, actors, and, above all, the music of London. Reading Pepys’ Diary, we peek into the scandals of court and into the ways of Parliament; we shop for portraits, for a first carriage, a new suit.