My Commonplace Book: July 2022

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

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


That is how it was every year. It was the previous year that was wonderful, or even previous autumns and winters, regardless of their bouts of influenza and minor children’s ailments and all the worry they caused then. Was this due to an inability in him to be happy other than as a delayed reaction, or was this the fate of most men? He had no idea, for lack of having asked anyone the question, especially not his work colleagues, who would laugh at him.

The Venice Train by Georges Simenon (1965)


When did the skills of a cunning woman become witchcraft? When did Elizabeth Mortlock, with her magic girdle and prayers that so helped women in childbed, become wicked – when did that change, and admiration and trust in the secret knowledge of women in their great sufferings turns to fear and arrests?

The Bewitching by Jill Dawson


Elizabeth of York

“In my day, it was frowned upon for a woman to know her letters. People feared it might lead to light behaviour, such as writing love letters. But my father, God be thanked, was forward in his thinking, and now it is becoming accepted than an educated woman can still be a virtuous woman. Being able to read and write will equip you with the skills needed to run castles and palaces. You can write your own letters and your mind will be broadened by reading books.”

Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose by Alison Weir (2022)


“You may say so if you like,” she said quietly. “You can call a sunset by a filthy name, but you do not spoil its beauty, monsieur.”

Pied Piper by Nevil Shute (1942)


“I learned (what I suppose I really knew already) that one can never go back, that one should not ever try to go back — that the essence of life is going forward. Life is really a one way street, isn’t it?”

At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie (1965)


Skellig Michael, Ireland

To travel is to turn the pages of the great book of life.

Haven by Emma Donoghue (2022)


‘It will do you good, doesn’t fix anything to mope, lad,’ the warder says encouragingly, slapping Mahmood on the shoulder. ‘I’ve seen plenty come and go and I’ll tell you this for not a penny, if your mind is a jail then it don’t matter where you are, but if you wake up thanking the Lord for the air in your lungs and wanting to make the most out of your predicament, then you’re halfway out the prison gate.’

The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed (2021)


One by one they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.

Dubliners by James Joyce (1914)


Thomas Cromwell

“That’s the point of a promise, he thinks. It wouldn’t have any value, if you could see what it would cost you when you made it.”

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel (2020)


“You’re so fond of literature. I should have thought you would have been good at grammar.”

Julia thrilled to the unconscious compliment of that “you,” even as she replied smilingly: “Oh, I’m afraid I care more for what people write than the way they write it, and I love history because it’s stories about people.”

A Pin to See the Peepshow by F. Tennyson Jesse (1934)


Favourite books read in July:

Pied Piper, The Mirror and the Light and A Pin to See the Peepshow

Authors read for the first time in July:

Nevil Shute, Jill Dawson, F. Tennyson Jesse

Places visited in my July reading:

France, Italy, England, Wales, Ireland


Reading notes: I’ve continued to make good progress with my 20 Books of Summer list this month, finishing another six from the list. That brings my total to twelve – and I’m halfway through the next two, so I think there’s still a chance that I might actually complete the challenge this year!

Did you read any good books in July? Do you have any plans for your August reading?

9 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: July 2022

  1. margaret21 says:

    My favourite books of the month were probably Madeline Bunting’s Ceremony of Innocence, Katherine J Chen’s Joan and Roger Morgan-Grenville’s Taking Stock. A mixed bag indeed! As indeed yours is.

  2. Calmgrove says:

    The Emma Donaghue quote, “To travel is to turn the pages of the great book of life,” is just perfect. And, for those who can’t travel, turning the pages of books allows one to visit other lives and cultures, other times and places from one’s own armchair.

    Apart from Simenon, which I read for July in Paris, I read a fair number of female authors, namely Frances Hodgson Burnett, Penelope Fitzgerald, Patricia Highsmith, and Muriel Spark – all great books in their different ways.

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I love that Emma Donoghue quote. Having the chance to ‘travel’ to places I’m not likely to visit in real life is one of the things I enjoy about reading.

  3. jessicabookworm says:

    Helen, I haven’t read any of these, however looking forward to reading Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose and The Mirror and the Light some time soon. In July I enjoyed several comforting books and hoping to enjoy more in August. 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose and The Mirror and the Light are both good books, but so long! I actually started both of them in June and had to take my time with them. I hope you can find lots more comforting books to read in August!

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