My Commonplace Book: November 2022

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.


I liked the moon, with its soft silver beams. It was at once elusive and filled with trickery, so that lost objects that had rolled into the crevices of a room were rarely found, and books read in its light seemed to contain all sorts of fanciful stories that were never there the next morning.

The Ghost Bride by Yangzse Choo (2013)


Why were the things that were closest so often the hardest to see?

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan (2021)


Pendle Hill and the Ribble Valley

‘I call upon the powers of the night to curse this man.’ I yelled the words, holding both arms above my head. ‘I summon the power of the dark moon to strike him down.’ I was bluffing, of course. No witch can summon up powers in that fashion, but a good percentage of witchcraft is the ability to make people believe. And, sometimes, to scare them witless.

The Buried by Sharon Bolton (2022)


Memory didn’t reveal the past, but some vestige of it, coloured by what happened later and what is happening in the present moment. Memory is at the service of our will. We hide from what it’s inconvenient to remember – or unbearable to acknowledge. How else could we live with ourselves?

The Darlings of the Asylum by Noel O’Reilly (2022)


Sometimes a thread breaks and there is no picking up of that thread again. This does not happen much in books for it is considered bad writing to leave a thread hanging. Threads like that can unravel, the whole garment made ragged and its shape altered.

Blue Postcards by Douglas Bruton (2021)


Desperate people tried prophylactics and remedies ranging from quarantine and laxatives to bloody self-flagellation and plague-themed prayer. But the sad fact was that the plague’s spread illustrated nothing so much as the deep interconnection between medieval communities – and their terrible vulnerability to an infection that thrived on human mobility, overcrowding and limited standards of hygiene.

Powers and Thrones by Dan Jones (2021)


Statue of Julian of Norwich, west front, Norwich Cathedral

Grief marks a person, changing them for ever, like a tree struck by lightning. The tree may keep growing, but never in the same way.

For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy on My Little Pain by Victoria Mackenzie (2023)


‘Anyone can fool the world by acting a part. Even the devil can give alms,’ said Mr Sutcliffe.

‘But how can we determine character, if not by actions?’

‘We must look for the intention behind the deed.’

The Secret of Matterdale Hall by Marianne Ratcliffe (2022)


There is no use sighing over the past when the future is ours.

The Mysterious Mr Badman by WF Harvey (1934)


‘Yes,’ said Miss Marple. ‘I had thought of that.’

‘I suppose you think of everything!’ said Lucy bitterly.

‘Well, dear, one has to, really.’

4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie (1957)


Cover of the 1855 German edition

But it will be better, and more correct, if I say that all evil derives from bad example, and the weakness of our nature lies merely in our being obliged to follow that bad example. Furthermore, I am persuaded that the human race is positively destined to set it.

The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr by ETA Hoffmann (1819)


Or is it that if someone has power over you, you just don’t have the confidence or energy or whatever, to challenge them? Because some people have that charisma, don’t they? Born leaders. They tell you they have the answers, in such a way you believe they really do. But just because someone is a born leader, doesn’t mean you should follow them.

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett (2023)


Perhaps that was the point. You don’t need to be the strongest person in the room. Just the bravest.

The Murder Game by Tom Hindle (2023)


Tomorrow, tomorrow! Don’t think about it until it happens! You are beginning to dwell on it, and you mustn’t.

The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough (1987)


Favourite books read in November:

The Buried, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, 4.50 from Paddington and The Mysterious Mr Badman

Authors read for the first time in November:

Noel O’Reilly, Douglas Bruton, Marianne Ratcliffe, Claire Keegan, Victoria Mackenzie, ETA Hoffmann, WF Harvey

Places visited in my November reading:

Malaya, England, France, Ireland, Australia, Germany


November reading notes: November is always a busy month with lots of reading and blogging events taking place, so I’m pleased to say that I managed to join in with most of them. I read several novellas for Novellas in November, finished a nonfiction book for Nonfiction November and was able to fit in books for AusReading Month and German Literature Month as well. Sadly I didn’t have time to read anything for Margaret Atwood Reading Month but do have some of her books on the TBR that I would like to read soon anyway. As you can see I’ve also made a start on some of my NetGalley review copies for 2023!

In December, I’m hoping to read at least one or two books for Liz’s Dean Street Press December but otherwise have no special plans!

How was your November? What are you planning to read in December?

8 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: November 2022

  1. Shellie says:

    I love the pictures you added with this post. Can you believe it’s already December tomorrow? I am going to join the Read Christie challenge and read Hercule Poirot’s Christmas ( I already have it in my Kindle) and the next Verity Bright book. I’d also like to do a review of Dan Jones’ The Plantagenets. Now if I could just find a new book to interest me…not seeing anything great yet! Happy December reading 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Thanks, Shellie! Yes, it’s hard to believe it’s December already. I hope you like Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. I’ve read that one, so will choose a different book for this month’s Read Christie.

  2. FictionFan says:

    Seems like a bit of a theme in your quotes this month – bad human influences! The Yangzse Choo quote is my favourite, I think, though it’s a hard choice this time. Glad to hear you enjoyed The Mysterious Mr Badman since I’ll be reading it soon!

    • Helen says:

      Yes, sometimes I find there’s a theme running through the quotes, although it’s never intentional! Mr Badman is excellent – I hope you like it.

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