My Commonplace Book: June 2021

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

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


There are moments in life, so monumental and still, that the memory can never be retrieved without a catch to the throat or an interruption to the beat of the heart. Can never be retrieved without the rumbling disquiet of how close that moment came to not having happened at all.

Still Life by Sarah Winman (2021)


He leaned forward. ‘Jonah, are you well?’

The oarsman lifted his grizzled face and there was moisture in his eyes. ‘I may be, but my city ain’t. There is a madness here, the like of which I have never seen in all my years on this river. The pride that people wear like a badge, the certainty they are right and the other man is wrong, on both sides, it is a black sin that eats at us all. And it can only lead to great sorrow.’

The Wrecking Storm by Michael Ward (2021)


First Opium War – Canton, May 1841

‘I don’t believe in single causes, Trader. Black and white, good versus evil. Real life isn’t like that. Historians in the future will find all kinds of things going on here at the same time, some of which may even be random chance. If historians can discern any pattern, it will probably be complex, a system in flux, like the sea.’ He smiled. ‘God made the universe, Trader, but that doesn’t mean He made it simple.’

China by Edward Rutherfurd (2021)


‘And, of course, yes, I’m very ordinary. An ordinary rather scatty old lady. And that of course is very good camouflage.’

Nemesis by Agatha Christie (1971)


Minster Lovell Hall, Oxfordshire

‘I am almost eleven,’ I said, ‘and I know things because I watch and listen. I think on things. It is not a pastime reserved for men.’

‘It’s uncommon,’ Francis said. Then, with a gleam of amusement in his eyes, ‘In anyone, man or woman. We would all be spared a great deal if men thought first and acted second.’

The Last Daughter by Nicola Cornick (2021)


Favourite book read in June:


Authors read for the first time in June:

None this month

Places visited in my June reading:

China, Italy, England


This was another slow month for me in terms of number of books finished, but I did enjoy everything I read, which I think is much more important!

Have you read any of these? What did you read in June and do you have any plans for July?

7 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: June 2021

  1. Calmgrove says:

    Not read any apart from the Christie, but I like the quotes you’ve chosen. Especially in a country like China its history is a complicated tapestry with loose threads and another more blurry pattern on the reverse. In fact, anyone who claims the course of history is definitively written is a charlatan. (And they’re mostly men, aren’t they, as Nicola Cornick’s characters might concur.)

    • Helen says:

      The Rutherfurd book helped me to appreciate just how complex China’s history is. As it ended with the Boxer Rebellion I’m hoping for a sequel covering the 20th century.

  2. jessicabookworm says:

    Helen, I haven’t read any of these, but I am looking forward to reading more by Nicola Cornick – I have The Forgotten Sister on my TBR. My June was also a slow reading month, with all that was going on, only finishing two books and sadly having to DNF another. However I took great comfort in reading The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis, which was my pick of the month. Happy July reading! 🙂

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