My Commonplace Book: June 2018

A selection of words and pictures to represent June’s reading:

commonplace book
a book into which notable extracts from other works are copied for personal use.


Charlie asked a lot of questions, and if Henry couldn’t answer them, he bought a book which he read quickly and Charlie read slowly. Henry didn’t seem at all surprised by this overwhelming plenitude of objects to look at or ideas to think about, but Charlie was. It seemed to him that he had spent thirty years circling neighborhoods and buildings without even wondering what was inside. And each building was a Fabergé egg, pleasant on the outside, a treasure trove within. Henry said, “Books are like that, too.”

Golden Age by Jane Smiley (2015)


They had talked of it, planned it, and now here I was, to be informed. What would be the simplest way to curb a woman whose loyalties were suspect? For centuries, how had women of influence been robbed of their freedom?

“I have planned a marriage for you,” he said, fists on the arms of his chair to take his weight as he pushed himself to his feet.

Queen of the North by Anne O’Brien (2018)


Royal Pavilion, Brighton

Everything about Brighton pleased him: the fine streets and squares and well-planned gardens, the bow-fronted emporia and the libraries, the chop-houses, the coffee shops, the Assembly Rooms at the Castle Inn and countless other places of refreshment and entertainment, all set about that grand arena of elegant promenade, the Steine. As he turned to follow the Steine he looked across at the exotic Marine Pavilion, the King’s seaside palace, which had been that royal gentleman’s favourite residence during his days as Prince of Wales and later as Prince Regent. With its opal-tinted minarets and bulbous domes glinting with gold in the sun it had the appearance of an enormous, many-faceted Arabian Nights’ jewel set down glorious and incongruously within sight and sound of the English Channel.

Warwyck’s Wife by Rosalind Laker (1978)


Say good-night to Vicky, looking angelic in bed, and ask what she is thinking about, lying there. She disconcertingly replies with briskness: “Oh, Kangaroos and things.”

(Note: The workings of the infant mind very, very difficult to follow, sometimes. Mothers by no means infallible.)

Diary of a Provincial Lady by E M Delafield (1930)


“Very well, then. I want it understood that I’m a full third partner in this enterprise, and intend to remain so. I’m not to be put in a corner and disregarded because I am a woman. My uncle picked a good crew for this voyage; if you gentlemen think you can run away with this ship or go pirating, you’ll discover otherwise.”

The Big Book of Swashbuckling Adventure, ed. Lawrence Ellsworth (2014)


Helmeted Amazon with her sword and shield, 510-500 BC

‘To be an Amazon,’ she had said, striding ahead, her boots crunching a path for me, ‘is to fight, whether man or woman, virgin or mother. You are destined to become a queen, so the fight to protect your people will be both your calling and your duty, and nothing, no man, no marriage, no child, shall come before it.’

For the Immortal by Emily Hauser (2018)


‘Strawberry blonde!’ his voice boomed.

There had been a field of strawberries on their fruit farm, Cecily remembered. But as much as she searched, she never found a blonde one.

‘Real life,’ her mother Agnes had remarked, ‘is persistently disappointing’.

Real life, then, was like a field of red strawberries.

The Last Pier by Roma Tearne (2015)


Frances Howard, Countess of Somerset

Frances simplifies it, saying, ‘Imagine the King is a lit candle. The closer you stand the more light you have. But too close and you’re burned. My great-uncle wanted power more than anything, you see.’

The Poison Bed by EC Fremantle (2018)


Favourite books read in June:

Queen of the North and The Last Pier

Where did my reading take me in June?

USA, England, Ancient Greece, France, Italy

Authors read for the first time in June:

EM Delafield
H Bedford-Jones, Sidney Levett-Yeats, Jeffery Farnol, Johnston McCulley, Pierce Egan, John Bloundelle-Burton, Harold Lamb, Stanley J Weyman, Marion Polk Angellotti (all in The Big Book of Swashbuckling Adventure)


Have you read any of these books? Which books did you enjoy in June?

11 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: June 2018

  1. Melita Kennedy says:

    I have read one or two of the authors, but none of the books. June has been a historical mystery month for me with two new entries in long-running series. Island of the Mad is the latest Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novel. I liked it fine, but it’s not my favorite of the series (Justice Hall).

    The other mystery was Throne of Caesar by Steven Saylor, an entry in his Gordianus the Finder series. Gordianus is in his sixties and slowing down. It begins several days before the Ides of March. He is asked to see if he can find out if there’s a conspiracy against Julius Caesar who had been warned to be careful a few weeks earlier and until the Ides. There’s a side mystery…I had figured out that one pretty quickly. There are several reference to events that were chronicled in two earlier books that I haven’t read. I may give them a try or reread some of the series.

    I also found out that one of my favorite comic books, Mage by Matt Wagner, has a new series that started last year so I was able to binge read 10 issues as quickly as I could get them downloaded!

    • Helen says:

      I have read the first two Russell and Holmes novels but haven’t continued with the rest of the series yet, so it will be a long time before I get to Island of the Mad! I’m glad you liked it, even if it’s not the best in the series.

      I’ve never read anything by Steven Saylor, but I’m slowly becoming more interested in reading about Ancient Rome and I think I’ll probably try some of his books eventually. Enjoy your reading in July!

  2. Carmen says:

    Excellent reading you have had, with great quotes to choose from. 🙂 I like the ones from Queen of the North, The Big Book of Swashbuckling Adventure, and For the Immortal. Here’s to more great reading in July.

    I started Tomorrow in June but my mind was wandering, so I put it aside until the end of this year (possibly) and started reading Calypso by David Sedaris, which I have loved for the most part. Review to come in a few days. 😉

  3. Judy Krueger says:

    I have not read any of these, though I did read the first two of Jane Smiley’s series and must get and read the last one. I read some good historical fiction in June: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn about female spies in WWI, and Blackout by Connie Willis, both historical WWII and futuristic at the same time. I could not see how that would ever work but it did and because it is about time travel I had a good time.
    I love that picture of France Howard. She looks like a woman who should not be messed with!

    • Helen says:

      Blackout sounds intriguing. I haven’t read anything by Connie Willis yet, but she’s an author I’ve been interested in reading for a long time.
      And yes, you definitely wouldn’t want to mess with Frances Howard!

  4. jessicabookworm says:

    Ooo Helen, I haven’t read any of these but I just love the quotes from Queen of the North by Anne O’Brien and The Poison Bed by EC Fremantle, both of which I have copies of 😀

Please leave a comment. Thanks!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.