My Commonplace Book: July 2018

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

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


She was sure that only those who had never had freedom understood its true worth, a treasure to be guarded at all times and never to be lost again.

Claudine’s Daughter by Rosalind Laker (1979)


If we do not alter with the times, the times yet alter us. We may stand perfectly still, but our surroundings shift round and we are not in the same relationship to them for long; just as a chameleon, matching perfectly the greenness of a leaf, should know that the leaf will one day fade.

A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor (1951)


Suspected witches kneeling before King James

‘But the Devil is not so cunning as he believes. He has left certain marks on the bodies of those whom he has claimed as his own. He most commonly shows favour towards a particular type of woman. Sometimes she is poor. Often she is unmarried. She may also be skilled in the art of healing.’

Despite the cool of the old stone church, Frances felt her body prickle with a rising heat.

The King’s Witch by Tracy Borman (2018)


‘Now, do listen, Deb! Seven hundred pounds for the bays and a new barouche! Well, I can’t think where the money is to come from. It seems a monstrous price.’

‘We might let the bays go, and hire a pair of job horses,’ suggested Miss Grantham dubiously.

‘I can’t and I won’t live in Squalor!’ declared her aunt tearfully.

Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer (1941)


The chief pleasure connected with asking an opinion lies in not adopting it.

Desperate Remedies by Thomas Hardy (1871)


Portrait of René Descartes

He ran his hand along a shelf, but was not checking for dust. ‘One book is not enough. Never enough. What one needs is a library. A library is an investment in the future, Helena.’

The Words in My Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd (2016)


‘Have you noticed what is left, at the end of the day, as it were, after all these ancient civilizations have been and gone, disappeared into the mists of time?’

Mrs Wilkinson smiled vacantly as she held her wine glass to her lips.

‘I’ll tell you,’ he said, smiling disarmingly. ‘The beautiful things that people have made, and, occasionally, if they are lucky, the things that they have said. That is all that remains. Not fame, nor fortune or notoriety: these things pass…we take very seriously the gift of art and literature, as these are the things that will be left after all our empires are gone.’

My Beautiful Imperial by Rhiannon Lewis (2017)


It is a great prophet, is the sea: one need only sit upon the shore for a time to know that the answers to all mysteries are contained within the chanting of the waves. But we have lived apart from the sea for so long that we no longer speak its language. And so we look upon it like deafened men towards a singer, trying to understand what has been lost to us.

Smile of the Wolf by Tim Leach (2018)


‘Well now, suppose you got out the Meccano and made a pretty elaborate crane. Then suppose you took it to pieces again and handed just those bits to your boys and told them to make a crane. Each boy would produce something different, and each would have a few bits over, which they’d just have to use up anyhow. We’ve been given just such an assortment of bits – but we don’t even know whether they should make up into a crane or a windmill or a bridge. For instance, why am I here? Why did your precious Chief Constable get me down? What am I supposed to be investigating?’

Appleby’s End by Michael Innes (1945)


Whitby Abbey

“You’re the daughters of a prince, Edwin’s closest marriageable kin,” said Breguswid. “Peace-Weavers, they call them. Brides who gather broken threads and weave them together to mend the hurt men cause.”

The Abbess of Whitby by Jill Dalladay (2015)


While it was certainly true that country folk could still be a little credulous, being far removed as they were from great seats of learning, Sarah understood that when there was a dearth of knowledge and education, people – no matter their origins – were inclined to believe just about anything communicated to them with sufficient confidence and authority. However, Sarah also knew from personal experience that when all hope was lost, when all else had failed, people were willing to try almost anything to save those that they loved.

The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry (2018)


“Every group of people have their own stories that they create to make sense of their world. Therefore, in folk stories, in fairy tales, we see the reflection of humankind: its strengths, flaws, hopes, fears. They tell us what it takes to survive. That, Miss Hart, is why the stories are important, and why they must be protected.”

The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola (2018)


Favourite book read in July:

Desperate Remedies

Where did my reading take me in July?

England, the Netherlands, Wales, Chile, Scotland, Iceland

Authors read for the first time in July:

Elizabeth Taylor, Guinevere Glasfurd, Rhiannon Lewis, Tim Leach, Tracy Borman, Ambrose Parry, Jill Dalladay


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

16 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: July 2018

  1. piningforthewest says:

    I’ve only read Faro’s Daughter from your post. In July I enjoyed reading The Poison Bed and also The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor.

  2. FictionFan says:

    I did enjoy The Story Keeper in the end though it took a bit of time to break through my cynicism! Did you enjoy the Ambrose Parry? I have it on my TBR and am intrigued by it…

    • Helen says:

      I had mixed feelings about the Ambrose Parry…it took a while for me to get into it and I thought it seemed unnecessarily complicated, but I liked the setting and I ended up enjoying it overall.

  3. Carmen says:

    You have traveled a lot in the past month, Helen. Always love the quotes you pick. There are so many great ones here to choose a single winner, but I liked the ones from Claudine’s Daughter, A Game of Hide and Seek, The Way of All Flesh, and The Story Keeper. Desperate Remedies’ ( 😉 ) and My Beautiful Imperial’s were my two favorite.

    • Helen says:

      I’m glad you like so many of this month’s quotes, Carmen. Sometimes the single-line ones like the one from Desperate Remedies are the best!

  4. Calmgrove says:

    What a wonderful selection of quotes, both inspirational and reflective. Thanks for sharing them.

    I’m nowhere near matching your range and number of books read this month, Helen; from my reviews it appears I’ve only read one classic (The Epic of Gilgamesh and two YA fantasies Goldenhand and The Last Dragonslayer.

    However I have read widely in researching a Joan Aiken children’s adventure, finished Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book (the most perfect novel I’ve read in a long time) and finished all but one of a collection of Carson McCuller’s short stories. And started dipping into Tristram Shandy. I suppose on that basis I’ve read more than I thought I had!

    • Helen says:

      I always think quality is more important than quantity when it comes to monthly reading figures, but it sounds as though you got through quite a lot of reading in July anyway. I must try to read The Summer Book soon – I’ve seen so many bloggers say they have loved it!

      • Calmgrove says:

        Absolutely, both my partner and I really enjoyed the Jansson and will be coming back to read it on a regular basis, I’m sure.

        And I think you do both quality and quantity, unlike my snail’s pace, for which I’m in awe, Helen! But I do read a lot of other stuff too, from the weekend papers (which usually take all week) to the backs of food packets… 😁

  5. jessicabookworm says:

    Helen, I’m afraid I haven’t read any of these book. However I did have a good reading time in July – In particular I enjoyed the magic, weird, fun Sourcery by Terry Pratchett and the swashbuckling adventure Sandokan, The Pirates of Malaysia by Emilio Salgari. Happy reading in August 🙂

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