My Commonplace Book: February 2022

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.


There are few people so obstinate as the man who half thinks he is wrong.

Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate (1943)


Yet it seems to me that most people, in most situations where the best means to proceed is unclear, will favour a careful, restrained approach over wild impulsive action based on an assumption that all of one’s darkest suspicions are the unvarnished truth. How often does a person shrug off the most bizarre events as mere coincidence, or happenstance, or good or ill fortune, without giving any serious consideration to a deeper meaning, or a deliberate design, or sinister intent? So it was for me.

The House of Footsteps by Mathew West (2022)


Portrait of Edwin Booth by John Singer Sargent, 1890

Is that what real acting is, that moment you stop pretending? And if so, can a person ever be sure, even offstage, even in the parlour of his own house, that he isn’t simply acting a part? All the world’s a stage etc, etc. You don’t have to be the son of a Shakespearean actor to have such thoughts. Everyone has them.

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler (2022)


I squeezed my eyes shut before I could stop myself. I have always been free, I reminded myself. I have always been free. I knew now that slavery was nothing to be ashamed of, that being born free meant I was lucky, not special, but horror was still my gut reaction.

Theatre of Marvels by Lianne Dillsworth (2022)


Camellia reticulata

Everything was believed except the truth.

The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas, fils (1848)


‘There will never be the neat ending you crave, Betty; we cannot go back to how things were, only forward to how things could be. Else why have we suffered so much?’

The Rebel Daughter by Miranda Malins (2022)


We fret and sweat over the choices that seem certain to tip the balance of our fortunes, but in truth it’s not the crossroads of our lives that determine their lengths. It is the unseen thorn which poisons our finger, the forgotten key we turn back for, the single careless step.

Traitor in the Ice by KJ Maitland (2022)


“A dream, your father states, is like a poem. It invents and reinvents its own language. It’s lyrical, ambiguous. And most importantly, it never quite gets to the point.”

Death and the Conjuror by Tom Mead (2022)


Electra and Orestes, from an 1897 Stories from the Greek Tragedians, by Alfred Church

Since my return from Aulis, I had thought the world empty of surprise. To be surprised, you had to have a belief that the world would always follow its rhythms and patterns as it had always done.

Elektra by Jennifer Saint (2022)


It was one thing to challenge a legend. It was quite another to challenge reality.

The Reindeer Hunters by Lars Mytting (2022)


Favourite books read in February:

Booth and Death and the Conjuror

Authors read for the first time in February:

Mathew West, Karen Joy Fowler, Lianne Dillsworth, Alexandre Dumas fils, Tom Mead

Places visited in my February reading:

England, USA, Ireland, France, Greece, Norway


Reading notes: I’ve continued working through the books on my NetGalley shelf and am up to date with the ones being published in March and April now (reviews to follow nearer publication dates). I also managed to fit in a book for the Classics Club Dare and a book from the British Library Crime Classics series, although I decided not to take part in the Read Christie challenge this month as the February book was Death on the Nile, which I’ve already read.

In March, I’m hoping to take part in Reading Ireland Month at 746 Books and Reading Wales Month at Book Jotter, read at least one or two books from the Walter Scott Prize longlist ahead of the shortlist announcement in April, and possibly join in with the next Read Christie book, which is After the Funeral.

How was your February? Do you have any reading plans for March?

5 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: February 2022

  1. Calmgrove says:

    So many wonderful quotes, thanks.

    Like you I shall be reading some books connected with Wales and Ireland, and also with Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett, both of whom died during a March. Trying not to overface myself, but not sure I’m succeeding!

  2. jessicabookworm says:

    Looks like a great month of reading, Helen! My own February wasn’t as successful. Well to be fair I actually read a fair bit, considering how busy I have been, however I didn’t finish much! In March, I just hope to finish the couple of books I have had on the go for a long time and get on to some new and shorter books. Happy reading! 😊

Please leave a comment. Thanks!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.