My Commonplace Book: August 2019

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

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


I didn’t believe in the supernatural – I should say that up front, Mr Wrexham. And so the legends of the house didn’t bother me at all; in fact the whole idea of nannies and servants driven out by mysterious spooky happenings seemed more than a little ridiculous – almost Victorian.
But the fact was that four women had left the Elincourts’ employment in the last year. Having the bad luck to engage one nervous, superstitious employee seemed quite likely. Getting four in a row seemed…less so.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (2019)


‘Show respect!’ The chief sheriff took a pace towards Shadwell and raised his hand to strike him again, but the bishop waved him back.

‘One does not burn knowledge! That is a show for the common folk. One hides knowledge – one keeps it close. The libraries of the church hold truths you cannot dream of, Shadwell.’

The Second Sleep by Robert Harris (2019)


‘I think I can deal with a couple of boys, thank you, Detective Finkel,’ she said. ‘They’re the ones that need worrying about, not me; they’ll go to bed without a bite to eat. They’ve spent all their pennies on fireworks.’

‘They’ll be happy, though,’ he paused. ‘Sometimes it’s good to follow your heart’s desires.’

The Canary Keeper by Clare Carson (2019)


Favourite book read in August:

The Turn of the Key

New authors read in August:

Ruth Ware, Clare Carson

Countries visited in my August reading:

Scotland, England


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

16 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: August 2019

  1. Jo Shafer says:

    Currently reading I, ELIZA HAMILTON by Susan Holloway Scott ~ “I nodded again, my eyes wide. I’d never before been asked to keep momentous international secrets.”

    New Author/book: THE SUMMER OF ’69 by Erin HIldenbrand ~ “I’ll plan everything,” he says. “All you need is your bikini and a book.”

    THE BUTCHER’S DAUGHTER by Victoria Glendining ~ “The Holy Trinity is the redemptive resolution of a natural dissonance.”

    THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN by Philippa Gregory ~ “I feel as if I can think only when I see the words flowing from the nub of my quill, that my thoughts make sense only when they are black ink on cream paper.”

    THE LAST TUDOR by Philippa Gregory ~ “[She] pushes rudely in front of me, and I step back with false deference and assumed good manner . . . with a patient little sigh.”

    • Helen says:

      That’s an interesting selection, Jo. I have read one of those Philippa Gregory books (The Taming of the Queen) but not the other one. I, Eliza Hamilton sounds intriguing – I really want to read more historical fiction set in America.

      Happy reading in September. 🙂

  2. FictionFan says:

    I’ve also read The Turn of the Key and The Second Sleep. I wasn’t too blown away by the Ware but loved the Harris – but then I always love the Harris! Your commonplace book is looking short this month – I hope your time has been filled with other exciting things!

    • Helen says:

      My time has been filled with moving house, moving office, and dealing with various problems arising from both moves, but things are settling down now so hopefully my poor commonplace book will be a bit longer at the end of September! I’ll look forward to your thoughts on The Second Sleep. I thought it was a great idea but I didn’t like it as much as the other Harris novels I’ve read.

  3. Carmen says:

    I loved the first two quotes. I read two books in August–an improvement–Inland by Tea Obreht and Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh. I was conflicted about the second, while I liked the first one very much.

  4. jessicabookworm says:

    Helen, I haven’t read any of the books you read last month, although Robert Harris always seems like an author I should check out. As you know, I particularly enjoyed reading Queen of the North by, our mutual favourite, Anne O’Brien. Happy reading in September! 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Robert Harris is great, although The Second Sleep turned out to be not as good as some of the others I’ve read by him. I’m glad you enjoyed Queen of the North, which I think might be my favourite Anne O’Brien book. Happy September reading to you too. 🙂

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