My Commonplace Book: December 2020

For the final time this year…

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

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


‘We live on a river and it has a life of its own,’ Hermann said. ‘Like all waterways, it’ll eventually bring new people to us and also take people away. We don’t exist in a locked box and nor should we try to.’

The Running Wolf by Helen Steadman (2020)


Humans could never accept the world as it was and live in it. They were always breaking it and living amongst the shattered pieces.

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb (2013)


Norwegian stave church

Rumours are the seeds of legends, light enough to spread on the wind, and quick to grow. By the time a truth has put down its root, rumours will have blossomed and become their own truths, because even the wildest fantasy has been told by someone, and this – the fact of something being told by someone – gives it a veracity, even if what is told is more than a little unlikely.

The Bell in the Lake by Lars Mytting (2018)


She knew there were good, kind Germans like Wolf, who’d never wanted the war, who emphatically never wanted Hitler. Many Italians hadn’t wanted Mussolini either and so many families on both sides only wanted to get on with living their lives. But war was making monsters of them all.

The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jefferies (2020)


“A lie doesn’t reproduce external facts faithfully – it is a product of the liar’s own mind, and therefore a clue to the quality and content of his mind. The liar, like any other storyteller, must draw upon his remembered experiences to build his fantasy, and his choice of detail is guided by his tastes and emotions. So if you want to learn something about a man’s emotions and memories listen to his lies.”

The Man in the Moonlight by Helen McCloy (1940)


Favourite books read in December:

The Bell in the Lake and The Running Wolf

Countries visited in my December reading:

Norway, England, Italy, USA, Germany

Authors read for the first time in December:

Lars Mytting


Have you read any of these? What did you read in December?

Happy New Year!

8 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: December 2020

  1. Calmgrove says:

    “If you want to learn something about a man’s emotions and memories listen to his lies.” I think this is an apt motto for the way we and a few countries have been led during this tumultuous year — but I think you knew that, which is why you included it!

    Thanks, though, for reminding me to include a Robin Hobb in my reading plans for this year, I did admire the first ever one I read last year. (“Last year”! Have to get used to that! The same as when when we used to regularly write cheques, a receding memory now, like telegrams, £sd, dial-up telephones and videotape machines…)

  2. jessicabookworm says:

    Happy New Year to you too, Helen 🎆 I haven’t read any of these, but great to see you found two favourites among them. In December, I read my Spin result, Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell; the historical-mystery, O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King; and the historical-fiction, The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner. 😃

    • Helen says:

      I haven’t read any of your December books either, but they all sound good. I’m determined to continue with the Laurie R. King series this year!

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.