My Commonplace Book: July 2020

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.


“Yes, I do like to read mysteries. They’re very helpful in my line of work. Of course, real life and fiction are very different, but the way of thinking – the logical thought process – is useful practice for anything life throws at you.”

The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo (1946)


Portrait of Amy Robsart by Charles Robert Leslie

Her eyes met mine and I felt a ripple of shock at the pain and disillusionment I saw there. This woman and I were not so dissimilar though she was Queen of England in her own right and surrounded by all the trappings of majesty. She could not command a man’s good opinion or his loyalty, nor could she, apparently, bear his child.

The Forgotten Sister by Nicola Cornick (2020)


Literary festivals all over the country turn writers into performers and open doors into their private lives that, I often think, would be better left closed. In my view, it’s more satisfying to learn about authors from the work they produce than the other way round.

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz (2020)


I want to call it coincidence but I have occasionally wondered whether time can fold in on itself and allow some people, if they are sensitive enough, a glimpse of the future. Some are more receptive to the invisible workings of the world, can intuit things in the way a dog can smell fear. It is often called a gift but to me it seems more of a blight.

The Honey and the Sting by EC Fremantle (2020)


Female pilot of the Air Transport Auxiliary.

She smiles awkwardly. ‘Is it really so perplexing for you to see a woman in a cockpit?’

‘No. Why?’

‘You look at me so oddly, and when you first saw me you seemed…’



When We Fall by Carolyn Kirby (2020)


My point is that while I was fretting over such nonsense, I failed to notice the one thing that mattered: we were happy. Other people had noticed, however – and they were most decidedly not happy. Envy snaps its teeth at the heels of good fortune, and there is nothing in the world more destructive than a man who wants what he cannot have.

The Silver Collar by Antonia Hodgson (2020)


Here was where one came to buy goods from the Rain Wilds: perfume gems with their eternal fragrances; wind chimes that played endless, never-repeating melodies; objects made of gleaming jidzin; and hundreds of other magical items…Containers that heated or chilled whatever was put into them. A statue that awoke as a babe every day, aged through the day, and ‘died’ at night as an old man, only to be reborn with the dawn. Summer tapestries that smelled of flowers and brought warmth to the room when hung. Items that existed nowhere else in the world and were impossible to duplicate.

City of Dragons by Robin Hobb (2011)


Favourite book read in July:

Moonflower Murders

New authors read in July

Seishi Yokomizo

Countries visited in my July reading:

Japan, England, Poland, fictional Realm of the Elderlings


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

10 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: July 2020

  1. Judy Krueger says:

    I read the most books in one month in July compared to other months. I have not read any of the ones you did, but I enjoyed what I read across the boards. Oligarchy by Scarlet Thomas was one of my favorites and she is a British author.

  2. FictionFan says:

    Ha! I just ten minutes ago read your first quote in the book itself! About halfway through The Honjin Murders now and reasonably enjoying it. I haven’t read any of your others but will probably read Moonflower Murders at some point.

    • Helen says:

      What a coincidence! I hope you enjoy the rest of the book. If you liked Magpie Murders, I think you’ll probably like Moonflower Murders too as it follows the same format.

  3. jessicabookworm says:

    From your quotes it sounds like a great month of reading, Helen. I haven’t read any of these, however I have copies of The Forgotten Sister and The Honey and The Sting, which I am looking forward to reading. I wish you more happy reading in August. 😃

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