My Commonplace Book: August 2021 – and the end of 20 Books of Summer

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.


“Not by acquaintance only is it that we come to knowledge. There are ways of learning other than by the road of experience. One may learn of dangers by watching others perish. It is the fool who will be satisfied alone with the knowledge that comes to him from what he undergoes himself.”

St Martin’s Summer by Rafael Sabatini (1909)


The world’s wheel spins. The soft clay of the self spins with it, awaiting shaping hands.

Rose Nicolson by Andrew Greig (2021)


Meknes, Morocco

So Mathilde stayed in her room and wrote. But it rarely gave her much pleasure because, each time she starting describing a landscape or recounting a lived experience, she felt cramped by her own vocabulary. She kept bumping against the same dull heavy words and perceived in a vague way that language was a limitless playground whose vast panoramas frightened and overwhelmed her.

The Country of Others by Leïla Slimani (2021)


There is as evidently a society among books, as there is in a parliament of fowls, or a pack of hounds. Certain volumes do not love to be put too close to one another – Others rejoice in propinquity. One may look well or ill, in the shadow of a particular neighbour. A slight modest book must avoid overbearing company. Poets must be kept well apart, or they will quarrel, as everybody knows. These are matters of plain fact. – As axiomatic, to keepers of books, as the mysteries of shepherding are to any keeper of sheep.

The Infernal Riddle of Thomas Peach by Jas Treadwell (2021)


Half the work of a detective is not to find out what is but what isn’t!

The Sussex Downs Murder by John Bude (1936)


Portrait of Dr Elizabeth Blackwell

He wanted her to aspire, to dream, to always be more than she was yesterday. And right now, he wanted her to understand that just because you cannot reach the sun does not mean you cannot fly at all.

A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry (2021)


“We don’t really know what went on in that rather strange household – and that extraordinary house.”

“It is extraordinary,” said Sally slowly. “It’s rather like a GK Chesterton house. Private and secluded in the middle of a town, and all hidden and enclosed by leaves – and somehow giving the impression that it might open out into enormous and quite fantastic places, like a house and garden in a dream.”

The Man Who Wasn’t There by Henrietta Hamilton (2021)


“It is romantic, yes,” agreed Hercule Poirot. “It is peaceful. The sun shines. The sea is blue. But you forget, Miss Brewster, there is evil everywhere under the sun.”

Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie (1941)


Briseis and Phoenix, red-figure kylix, c. 490 BCE

In a court of law, if a man and woman disagree it’s almost invariably his version of events that’s accepted. And that’s in a courtroom – how much more so in this camp where all the women were Trojan slaves and the only real law was force.

The Women of Troy by Pat Barker (2021)


‘I realised that some time ago but it’s nice to think you’ve come round to it on your own. Land and what grows on it, that’s the only really important thing, that and people making do with what they’ve got and where they are.’

The Green Gauntlet by RF Delderfield (1968)


Favourite books read in August:

St Martin’s Summer, The Green Gauntlet and Rose Nicolson

Authors read for the first time in August:

Leïla Slimani, Jas Treadwell, John Bude

Countries visited in my August reading:

France, Scotland, Morocco, England, Greece


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


This year’s 20 Books of Summer challenge also comes to an end today. I managed to read and review 12 of the books on my list, have finished another that I haven’t reviewed yet – and am in the middle of one more. However, I did read plenty of other books this summer that weren’t on my list so I’m quite happy with my result!

Here’s what I read:

1. Still Life by Sarah Winman
2. Death in Zanzibar by MM Kaye
3. A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry
4. The Green Gauntlet by RF Delderfield
5. Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
6. The Last Daughter by Nicola Cornick
7. The Echo Chamber by John Boyne
8. The Infernal Riddle of Thomas Peach by Jas Treadwell
9. High Rising by Angela Thirkell
10. Red Adam’s Lady by Grace Ingram
11. St Martin’s Summer by Rafael Sabatini
12. The Sussex Downs Murder by John Bude
13. The Women of Troy by Pat Barker – review to follow

Reading now:

14. Goodbye, Mr Chips by James Hilton

Still to read:

15. Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym
16. The Lily and the Lion by Maurice Druon
17. The Ionian Mission by Patrick O’Brian
18. These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
19. The Reckoning by Sharon Penman
20. Confusion by Elizabeth Jane Howard


Did you take part in 20 Books of Summer? Did you finish your list?

7 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: August 2021 – and the end of 20 Books of Summer

  1. piningforthewest says:

    I did finish my list but haven’t managed to review them all yet. I also read quite a few other books, it has been a very bookish summer!

  2. jessicabookworm says:

    Well done on reading 12 books from your 20 Books of Summer list as well as lots of other books, too! I managed to read 9 books off my 10 Books of Summer list and my favourite had to be the utterly charming Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. 😊 Happy spooky reading in September! 🎃

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