My Commonplace Book: May 2022

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

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


Sometimes the decisions of our lives, decisions affecting many lives in some cases, are made after reflection, conversation, correspondence, sleepless nights, the weighing of disparate elements amid doubt and uncertainty. Sometimes they come in a moment at a window, looking out on a springtime day.

All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay (2022)


But with them went deference and courtesy, fidelity and faith, a belief in man’s work and the pride that goes hand in hand with that belief. These fundamental standards wove the pattern of a Victorian day, and the writers and artists of that day became part of the pattern and echoed it in print or upon canvas, stamping it with their individuality, their own genius, creating an era that was at once warm and colourful and prosperous, an age away from our present world of meagre mediocrity.

The Rebecca Notebook: and Other Memories by Daphne du Maurier (1981)


Lyudmila Pavlichenko

Because people love war heroes…but even in my own beloved homeland, war heroes are supposed to be clean and uncomplicated. Those urging me to write my memoir will want a patriotic young woman who fought to defend her country, a heroine to root for with a story clean and simple as a full moon – and I was that young woman, but I was more. My moon had a midnight side.

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn (2022)


‘Once you meet Miss Talbot, I’m sure you’ll adore her,’ Lady Radcliffe said reassuringly. ‘We all do – even Dottie.’

‘I’m sure I would like very much to meet her,’ he said quite affably, although inside, the flames of suspicion had been fanned. And after all, though Dottie was a discerning judge of character and admittedly difficult to impress, Dottie was also a cat.

A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin (2022)


“My friend, in working upon a case, one does not take into account only the things that are “mentioned”. There is no reason to mention many things which may be important. Equally, there is often an excellent reason for not mentioning them.”

The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie (1923)


Perseus with the head of Medusa, (Benvenuto Cellini)

And while I am all in favour of using precision to describe something, might I suggest that you would be better off not doing something so dangerous so often that you need a specific word for it? Perhaps develop your self-control, rather than your vocabulary.

Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes (2022)


But there are temptations which it is not in the power of human nature to resist, and few know what would be their case if driven to the same exigencies. As covetousness is the root of all evil, so poverty is, I believe, the worst of all snares.

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe (1722)


Guilt was what kept you awake in the middle of the night or, if you managed to sleep, poisoned your dreams. Guilt intruded upon any happy moment, whispering in your ear that you had no right to pleasure. Guilt followed you down streets, interrupting the most mundane moments with remembrances of days and hours when you could have done something to prevent tragedy but chose to do nothing.

All the Broken Places by John Boyne (2022)


Favourite books read in May:

The Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting, Stone Blind and All the Broken Places

Places visited in my May reading:

England, US, Russia, France, Australia, Greece

Authors read for the first time in May:

Sophie Irwin


Reading notes: I haven’t read as many books in May as in previous months, but I still managed to take part in Daphne du Maurier Reading Week and Read Christie 2022, as well as getting ahead with some upcoming NetGalley reads. Tomorrow is the first day of this year’s 20 Books of Summer challenge (you can see my list here). Let’s see whether I can actually complete the challenge this time; I have my first book, Fortune by Amanda Smyth, ready to start!

How was May for you? What are you planning to read in June?

12 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: May 2022

  1. Janette says:

    I love this collection of quotations especially that one from A Lady’s guide to Fortune Hunting. It made me laugh out loud when I read the book. Good Luck with your 20 books of Summer

  2. Calmgrove says:

    I liked the Sophie Irwin quote (though I guess Dottie was indeed very discerning, aren’t most cats?) but was then drawn up short by Defoe’s “poverty is, I believe, the worst of all snares” – sadly, that remains as true as ever, especially now.

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