My Commonplace Book: March 2022

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

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


For as long as she could remember she had been obsessed with the ocean. It was the beating heart of many of the books she read, bringing people together or tearing them apart. The world was just a myriad of people in different places and only the sea could decide whether they would find each other in the end or not…

The Sunken Road by Ciaran McMenamin (2021)


What use dwelling on it? Nought could be changed of the past, except his opinion of it. It was not only our beginning that made us, but what came after.

Privilege by Guinevere Glasfurd (2022)


But she’d learned, occasionally to her cost, more often to her benefit, that no matter how well you hid yourself from life, life – pesky business that it was – had a way of tracking you down.

The Dark by Sharon Bolton (2022)


Engraving by Hendrik Hondius showing three people affected by the dancing plague.

‘Know this: fear is a weak hold. It will not bind. That is what you never understood.’

The Dance Tree by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (2022)


Long ago Eve had discovered that the small amenities and sensualities of life are more comforting in a crisis than any philosophy. She was fond of saying that there was no tragedy in this world that could not be softened a little by a hot bath, a cup of strong coffee, and a good cigarette, while a couple of cocktails and a well-cooked dinner would mend a broken heart.

Who’s Calling? by Helen McCloy (1942)


‘You cannot take the measure of a man when things are working well,’ said Wilde, as though it were a truth I ought to know. ‘It’s only when the plan goes badly wrong and everything is broken that you’ll see what he is made of – if he breaks, too, or builds something from the pieces that remain.’

The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley (2022)


My training and my habits of thought are those of a scientist. No scientist is worthy of the name if he is content to build up a hypothesis on simple intuition or guesswork. When he has definite evidence , even if the final proof is lacking, he may venture to put forward a theory, in order that others may be able to check, establish or disprove his contention.

Scarweather by Anthony Rolls (1934)


Woodland at Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire

I cast about for the right words. ‘I suppose I wonder what employment could be more interesting than training a child’s mind.’ Now I had his attention, and went on self-consciously. ‘My principal says that the material on which nurses work is more precious than canvas, more exquisite than marble, and more valuable to the world than both of those things. It’s about the shaping of people into good human beings.’

Mrs England by Stacey Halls (2021)


How can a day, an hour, a minute change a life so completely? Why can these clocks not be made to run backward and take him to the day before, to the life he had supposed he would have? That, he thinks, would be a worthwhile pursuit for a clockmaker, not simply to mark off time as it passes, but to tame the beast, to make it run this way and that; to make time man’s servant, not man its ever more obedient slave.

The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley by Sean Lusk (2022)


“No man owns his own life,” he said. “Part of you is always in someone else’s hands.”

Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone by Diana Gabaldon (2021)


“I may,” said Poirot in a completely unconvinced tone, “be wrong.”

Morton smiled. “But that doesn’t often happen to you?”

“No. Though I will admit – yes, I am forced to admit – that it has happened to me.”

“I must say I’m glad to hear it! To be always right must be sometimes monotonous.”

“I do not find it so,” Poirot assured him.

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie (1953)


Favourite books read in March:

The Dark, After the Funeral and Mrs England

Places visited in my March reading:

England, France, USA, Ireland, Turkey, Scotland

Authors read for the first time in March:

Ciaran McMenamin, Anthony Rolls, Sean Lusk


Reading notes: I enjoyed my March reading and was pleased that I found time to read something for both Reading Ireland Month (The Sunken Road) and Reading Wales Month (Scarweather), as well as returning to the Read Christie 2022 challenge with a book that I loved, After the Funeral. I haven’t managed to review everything I’ve read, but some of those books haven’t been published yet and I’ll be posting my reviews nearer to the publication dates.

In April, I’m looking forward to 1954 Club and have two or three possibilities lined up for that – and of course, I still need to read my book for the recent Classics Club Spin, In a Lonely Place.

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

8 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: March 2022

  1. FictionFan says:

    The Helen McCloy quote wins for me this month – pretty much my own philosophy of life (though sadly no longer with the cigarette!). Looking forward to your reviews of The Dark and Privilege since they’re both on my TBR, but as usual I’m running late with review copies.

    • Helen says:

      I loved The Dark. It was great to have a new Lacey Flint book to read after all this time! I’ve been making an effort to get ahead with review copies as it was making me feel stressed seeing so many on my NetGalley shelf. Unfortunately, as soon as I clear one off the shelf I find another one to request!

  2. jessicabookworm says:

    Helen, I look forward to your review of The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley, as you know I lover her and I have a copy of that to get to. 🙂 As for my March reading, I actually read quite a bit considering how tired and busy I have been, however I only finished two books. My favourite of which was the historical-romance The Garment by Catherine Cookson. 💐

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