My Commonplace Book: October 2021 – and rounding up R.I.P. XVI

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

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


Ah, happiness courts the light so we deem the world is gay. But misery hides aloof so we deem that misery there is none.

I Would Prefer Not To by Herman Melville (2021)


‘Oh, with the link of kindness between master and man quite gone, I begin to see that Hardy is right after all. The vote is all that can give us a voice among these men of wealth and power. They treat the poor like mere machines, left to rust when no longer of use. What kind of life is that? Independence, Laurence, and a dignified freedom. That is what all men seek.’

Black Drop by Leonora Nattrass (2021)


Flag of the Isle of Man

It was a warm dusk and people were strolling along the vast promenade enjoying it. The holiday season had started and the town was full of visitors. It all looked very pleasant. Horse-trams clopping along the asphalt, happy crowds milling about, singing popular hits, the sea in front, blue, placid, with the tide out, and behind, the gentle hills of Man, sweeping smoothly down to the waterfront.

Death of a Tin God by George Bellairs (1961)


‘You refused to align yourself with Sir John and the Royalist cause, and you treat the rural poor for free. Milady hopes that means you’re on the side of Parliament and the people.’

Jayne gave a surprised laugh. ‘Then I’ll disappoint her as badly as I disappointed her brother. I support men and women who seek an end to division, not those who look to make it worse.’

The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters (2021)


Have less to do with the demands of the world. This world is but a thoroughfare and full of woe, and when we depart from this place, we take nothing with us but our deeds, good or ill, that will be remembered after us. No man knows how soon God will call him and therefore it is good for every creature to be ready.

The Royal Game by Anne O’Brien (2021)


It’s a curious moment, when a problem that has troubled you so much suddenly starts to make sense.

A Fatal Crossing by Tom Hindle (2022)


Traditional nutcrackers

When she danced, she flew on gossamer wings that lifted her away from the dragging weight of her family’s expectations. Enticed her with a glimpse of an alternate path to the one she was obligated to tread. When she danced, she had a voice. And nothing was more fearsome than a silent future.

Midnight in Everwood by MA Kuzniar (2021)


“It often seems to me that’s all detective work is, wiping out your false starts and beginning again.”

“Yes, it is very true, that. And it is just what some people will not do. They conceive a certain theory, and everything has to fit into that theory. If one little fact will not fit it, they throw it aside. But it is always the facts that will not fit in that are significant.”

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie (1937)


Dreams, Lily decided, played a part in almost everything. They could turn the past into the future. They could send you forth on a path you had once thought of but never dared to take – until now, in the tangled mathematics of your brain, dreams can sometimes lay before you equations which are perfect and correct.

Lily by Rose Tremain (2021)


Happiness often seems a thing of the past, understood only when it is gone.

Castle Barebane by Joan Aiken (1976)


Favourite books read in October:

Castle Barebane and A Fatal Crossing

Authors read for the first time in October:

Leonora Nattrass, Joan Aiken, Herman Melville, MA Kuzniar, Tom Hindle

Places visited in my October reading:

England, France, Isle of Man, USA, Scotland, Egypt, the Atlantic Ocean


Have you read any of these books? What are you planning to read in November?


The end of October also means the end of this year’s R.I.P. XVI event, which involved reading dark and atmospheric books between 1st September and 31st October. Here’s what I managed to read:

1. Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu
2. The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters
3. Crooked House by Agatha Christie
4. The Grey King by Susan Cooper
5. Death of a Tin God by George Bellairs
6. Castle Barebane by Joan Aiken
7. Black Drop by Leonora Nattrass
8. Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

I’m happy with my R.I.P. reading this year, although I didn’t have time for all of the books on my original list. Some will now have to be winter reads instead of autumn ones!

Did you take part in R.I.P. XVI? How did you do?

4 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: October 2021 – and rounding up R.I.P. XVI

  1. conmartin13 says:

    I know I have read Castle Barebone but I don’t remember it. There is one where someone is kidnapped and his finger is sent back to his family in a box. Joan is much more gruesome than her sister Jane! Did you never read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase as a child?

    I’ve read the Christies and The Grey King more recently. I’ve tried Elizabeth Peters but never really got into her books.


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