My Commonplace Book: February 2021

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

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


“Ah, but life is like that! It does not permit you to arrange and order it as you will. It will not permit you to escape emotion, to live by the intellect and by reason! You cannot say, ‘I will feel so much and no more.’ Life, Mr Welman, whatever else it is, is not reasonable.”

Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie (1940)


Clearly the answer was that birds have a life of their own which, although over large areas irrational and perplexing, isn’t quite so irrational and perplexing as the life that human beings have been contriving for themselves of late. Work hard on birds, and you may here and there make some sense of them. This scarcely holds true of homo sapiens.

Hare Sitting Up by Michael Innes (1959)


Reading room at the American Library in Paris

‘But seriously, why books? Because no other thing possesses that mystical faculty to make people see with other people’s eyes. The Library is a bridge of books between cultures.’

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles (2021)


Were not Time and Fate sisters? My feeling is that they both work against us, sometimes gently, sometimes harshly, with the briefest interruptions when the tide flows backwards for a happy moment, mainly due to our own endeavours.

A Net for Small Fishes by Lucy Jago (2021)


An entertainment in Vauxhall Gardens c. 1779

‘The magistrate says it cannot be one of her clients because the crime was too savage to be committed by a gentleman. Is that also your view?’

‘I think monsters who wear the masks of men are as likely to be found in the clubs of St James’s as they are in the slum rookeries of St Giles. Whether this is the former or the latter, I cannot yet say.”

Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson (2021)


My father once said: “If you understand yourself, it is as much as you can be expected to do.” How true that is! Every day I live I realise what a fund of wisdom he had. It poured from him as water pours from a spring, clear and hard, and just right.”

Good by Stealth by Henrietta Clandon (1936)


Favourite book read in February:

Good by Stealth

New authors read in February:

Janet Skeslien Charles, Lucy Jago, Henrietta Clandon

Countries visited in February’s reading:

France, USA, England

4 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: February 2021

  1. Judy Krueger says:

    Wonderful quotes. So your favorite was from an earlier time!
    When Sharon Kay Penman passed away I decided it was past time to start reading her books. So this week I look forward to reading Here Be Dragons, though it is sure to consume my week. The era in which the story is set is perfect as I have been reading about that time period and those conflicts in The Age of Faith by Will Durant.

  2. Calmgrove says:

    Lovely selection of quotes, particularly the one about books makng people see with other people’s eyes. Also, the monsters with the masks of men — I think we have a few of those in the seats of government at the moment, don’t we?

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