My Commonplace Book: November 2021

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

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


He wanted to know in order to get closer to the group, to become part of it. Not that the group meant anything! It was merely an order of things, a life within life, almost a town within the town, a certain way of thinking and feeling, a tiny handful of humans who, as some planets do in the sky, followed their own mysterious orbit heedless of the great universal order.

The Strangers in the House by Georges Simenon (1940)


Liam would say no good ever came of blame. The national curse, he called it. Always the pointing finger, the excuse. He’d rather find solutions.

Fallen by Lia Mills (2014)


The only known contemporary portrait of Perkin Warbeck, pretender to the English throne

“Whatever his birth,” shrugged the cardinal, “he has his dreams. And dreams, your grace, make dangerous enemies. Swords cannot slay them nor torture exorcise them.”

A Princely Knave by Philip Lindsay (1956)


And he thought to himself: What a start! Things always turn out differently from what you expect. What you think is going to be hard is often easy, and something you don’t even think about turns out to be difficult.

Nightmare in Berlin by Hans Fallada (1947)


One of the things I have come to know most surely in my work is that the belief system acquired in childhood is never fully escaped; it may submerge itself for a while, but it always returns in times of need to lay claim to the soul it shaped.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (2012)


“The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors” by William Orpen

“Self-determination isn’t just some abstract political notion, intended for the masses. Each of us must decide whom she will be, what we want for ourselves.”

The Ambassador’s Daughter by Pam Jenoff (2013)


I didn’t believe myself to be so cowardly, but it was impossible to reason with these people, and it could never have ended well. Nothing is more frightening in this world than ignorance and stupidity.

The Village of Eight Graves by Seishi Yokomizo (1949)


Sakura petals fall before they’ve withered, like the samurai who were destined to die young. Why do we neglect to revel in life when it can end at any moment? We are so often blessed, but fail to see it. The sakura remind us to pay attention.

I am the Mask Maker by Rhiannon Lewis (2021)


Penelope by Franklin Simmons (1896), marble

He told me once that everyone had a hidden door, which was the way into the heart, and that it was a point of honour with him to be able to find the handles to those doors. For the heart was both key and lock, and he who could master the hearts of men and learn their secrets was well on the way to mastering the Fates and controlling the thread of his own destiny.

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (2005)


Something peculiar happens when you set out to recount the past…It is as though the memory is a series of interconnecting rooms, each leading to the next, less-visited one, if only you’ll try the door.

The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan (2015)


“I hope,” he said, “that you are not feeling the worse for the shock. To be at close quarters with what is undoubtedly murder must be a great strain on anyone who has not come in contact with such a thing before.”

Modesty forbade Miss Marple to reply that she was, by now, quite at home with murder. She merely said that life in St. Mary Mead was not quite so sheltered as outside people believed.

They Do It with Mirrors by Agatha Christie (1952)


Favourite books read in November:

The Secret Keeper and I am the Mask Maker

Authors read for the first time in November:

Lia Mills, Pam Jenoff, Kate Riordan

Places visited in my November reading:

France, Ireland, England, Germany, Australia, Japan, Italy, Wales, Ancient Greece

2 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: November 2021

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