My Commonplace Book: January 2019

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

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


“You think you’re very clever, Carlton,” she said. “And so you are, my dear, as a rule. But it’s not very clever to underestimate one’s opponent. That’s one of the most elementary of tactical errors, isn’t it?”

Rogues’ Holiday by Maxwell March (1935)



Success in Egypt was an abstract for which others could easily take credit, leaving the real person responsible for some actions or monuments unknowable for generations, lost to cultural memory, making Hatshepsut’s name more unpronounceable as the generations crept by. Doing everything right ensured Hatshepsut’s lost legacy.

When Women Ruled the World by Kara Cooney (2018)


She thought – was this religion? – a snare to make one fall into the hands of one’s enemies? Were holy things always to be abused, and words of love and worship turned into a death-trap? Should one man’s belief be set up against another’s, and men kill each other for not holding the same ideas, it would mean wars without end throughout the world, for it was the glory of men’s minds to hold different thoughts, and the only thing by which they could be judged was their actions, right or wrong.

Elizabeth, Captive Princess by Margaret Irwin (1948)


ABC Railway Guide

“Words, mademoiselle, are only the outer clothing of ideas.”

The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie (1936)


The sand itself, in contrast with the surrounding sea, seemed the home of weird noises, compounded of the ceaseless lapping of the ripples on the edge of it, the eerie cries of unseen gulls, and the intermittent wail of the distant lighthouse. It was an uncanny feeling, alone on this lost corner of the earth, which belonged neither to the realm of the sea or of the land.

The Secret of High Eldersham by Miles Burton (1930)


‘We all think, Leo, but none of us know. Matters of the heart are like the river. They bend this way and then that way, and sometimes there are rocks around the corner. Sometimes. But sometimes not. You never know.’

The House on Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve (2018)


Sometimes during a great emotional crisis the mind rallies. The gentlest spirit sometimes revives as though it had received from some unsuspected depth a new lease of courage and endurance.
It is at such times that hitherto helpless, unsophisticated souls goaded by circumstances so terrible as to be almost outside their comprehension make an unexpected stand, receiving from their reserves a small measure of that exhilaration in the face of danger normally possessed only by their stronger brethren.

The Devil and Her Son by Maxwell March (1936)


There is no principle worth having that does not exact a price. We must recognise the cost of our principles and take responsibility for that cost. We must not deny the consequences of our own actions.

Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss (2014)


Radcot Bridge

What we see on a map is only the half of it. A river no more begins at its source than a story begins with the first page.

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield (2018)


Here lay the tragedy. Western man is so constituted that he cannot abide contentment. It is the unforgivable sin. He must forever strive towards some unseen goal, whether it be material comfort, a greater and purer God, or some weapon that will make him master of the universe. As he becomes more conscious he becomes more restless, more grasping, forever finding fault with the warm dust from which he sprang and to which he must return, forever desirous of improving and so enslaving his fellow-men.

The Breaking Point by Daphne du Maurier (1959)


Favourite books read in January:

The ABC Murders, Once Upon a River

Where did my reading take me in January?

England, Ancient Egypt, Italy, Greece

Authors read for the first time in January:

Kara Cooney, Sarah Moss, Miles Burton, Alex Reeve


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

10 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: January 2019

  1. piningforthewest says:

    I read the Kara Cooney book and I think you and I thought much the same about it. I would like to read The Breaking Point sometime.. I think that The Hotel by Elizabeth Bowen was my favourite read in January. I love that bridge photo.

    • Helen says:

      I enjoyed The Breaking Point – although I’m not really a fan of short stories, I do like du Maurier’s. I must read something by Elizabeth Bowen soon!

  2. jessicabookworm says:

    How exciting that you went to Ancient Egypt this January 😉 I am very interested to try When Women Ruled the World by Kara Cooney. As for my own reading, I only read two books, but they were both bobby-dazzlers. 😀

    • Helen says:

      It’s great that your two books were both such good ones – I think the quality of the books you read is much more important than the quantity. 🙂 I’m hoping to read more books about Ancient Egypt soon.

  3. Carmen says:

    Like you, I finished Once Upon A River in January. I liked the quotes from Rogues’ Holiday, Elizabeth, Captive Princess, The House on Half Moon Street, Bodies of Light, and Once Upon A River.

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