My Commonplace Book: February 2023

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.


Children are not born with memories of who insulted their mother or slew their grandfather or stole their land. Those hates are bequeathed to them, taught them, breathed into them. If adults didn’t tell children of their hereditary hates, perhaps we would do better.

Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb (2016)


My opinion is that, to be happy, it is best to think that, as we are the product of events, events will continue to produce that which is in harmony with us.

A Laodicean by Thomas Hardy (1881)


Medea the Sorceress by Valentine Cameron Prinsep, 1880

This was another lesson she had taught Meena: the world need not know your heart if it does not benefit you. And when your feelings do not suit the moment, conceal, pretend if you need to. Whatever you need to do to survive.

Savage Beasts by Rani Selvarajah (2023)


What he had not seen, he could not speak of. In his master’s employ, he had always followed that rule. Wise men have neither eyes nor ears.

Rivers of Treason by KJ Maitland (2023)


“Miss O’Connell is right,” he said gravely. “We are all human beings with equal rights, with liberty to regulate our own lives, and to choose for ourselves what we shall do, or not do. The only thing I want you to remember is that before our liberty comes our duty to each other – not any one person to anybody else, but each to all.”

The Empty World by D.E. Stevenson (1936)


First edition of The Square of Sevens by E. Irenaeus Stevenson, 1897

‘You have to dream,’ I said. ‘That’s how the impossible becomes possible. Show me a grand triumph that didn’t start out as a dream.’

The Square of Sevens by Laura Shepherd-Robinson (2023)


Nowhere was there cohesion or form. Unrelated incidents and people whirled round in space. But Poirot knew quite well that somehow and somewhere there must be a pattern. Possibly several patterns. Possibly each time one shook the kaleidoscope one got a different pattern…But one of the patterns would be the right pattern. The question was where to start…

Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie (1955)


I think, says Doreen, a lot of people go through life not-knowing a lot of things. It does take courage, you know. To live a life that, at least to yourself, is true. For a lot of people that’s too high a price to pay.

These Days by Lucy Caldwell (2022)


The Race between Atalanta and Hippomenes. Nicolas Colombel (1644–1717)

Jason thought the world was built for heroes. I knew we had to build it ourselves.

Atalanta by Jennifer Saint (2023)


Is it disrespectful to the House to love some Statues more than others? I sometimes ask Myself this question. It is my belief that the House itself loves and blesses equally everything that it has created. Should I try to do the same? Yet, at the same time, I can see that it is in the nature of men to prefer one thing to another, to find one thing more meaningful than another.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (2020)


The sublimity of the music reached a nerve deep within her and stirred up feelings and emotions she had thought long buried, for the music brought a sense of hope. Perhaps it was an idealistic, naive view of what the future might be – yet surely hope was part of what makes us human, she reflected. The future can’t be forever blighted.

The Lodger by Helen Scarlett (2023)


Favourite books read in February:

The Empty World, A Laodicean and The Square of Sevens

Authors read for the first time in February:

Helen Scarlett, Rani Selvarajah, Lucy Caldwell

Places visited in my February reading:

India, South Africa, England, Scotland, Greece, Ireland, France, Germany


Reading notes: February was another good month for me; although I didn’t read as many books as in January, I enjoyed most of those I did read, which I think is more important. I’ve also read a good variety of books, including fantasy, crime, historical fiction, mythology and science fiction! Now I just need to get on with posting the reviews. In March, I will be taking part in Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books, and am also hoping to join in with Reading Wales, hosted by Paula at Book Jotter.

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

7 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: February 2023

    • Helen says:

      I’ve got into the habit of noting down favourite passages as I read and putting this post together as I go along, but sometimes I forget, then it takes a lot of work!

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I loved both of those quotes. The Square of Sevens is great – I think it will probably be one of my books of the year – but it won’t be published for a while so I’m waiting until nearer the time to post my review.

  1. smellincoffee says:

    I enjoy reading your quotes! I used to keep mine written down in a physical journal, but then got lazy and started relying on kindle highlights. I’m more or less satisfied with my February, though I did not read as much from my TBR pile as I intended to. Once more into the breach…

  2. Calmgrove says:

    Some great quotes here, Helen, headed by Robin Hobb’s still apposite words and Stevenson’s equally relevant message.

    As with you, March will be taken up with Welsh and Irish titles but also books by Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones; I have high hopes of getting through about half a dozen books!

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