My Commonplace Book: April 2023

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

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


It is quite possible to live happily with a person who does not think as you do about the eternal verities, but it is not possible to live happily with someone who wants the window open when you want it shut, or shut when you want it open, or with someone who likes a fire when you don’t, or doesn’t like it when you do.

The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge (1940)


“Somehow I don’t dare. It’s queer. I’ve always thought that innocent persons who became involved with criminals were absolutely idiotic not to go to the police first thing instead of muddling along, getting in worse stews. But here I am. Afraid – of what I don’t know.”

The So Blue Marble by Dorothy B. Hughes (1940)


In medicine or in any other enquiry, you didn’t go looking for what you wanted to be true, not least because that way you might miss the truth when it was right in front of you.

Voices of the Dead by Ambrose Parry (2023)


Siege of Badajoz by Richard Caton Woodville Jr

The shops displayed the most attractive wares; the cafés set out their little tables on either side of the Prado; guitar-players sang to any party of officers who looked as though they might be good for a peseta or two; the ladies of the town paraded in their best silk petticoats, and smartest satin bodices, flirting their fans, setting the long fringes on their skirts swinging with the provocative play of their hips; lemonade-sellers, in sleeveless waistcoats and white kilts, went up and down, doing a roaring trade under the avenues of trees; the gayest mats were hung out as sunblinds, creating a strange medley of bright hues in streets where the houses were already stained every colour of the rainbow.

The Spanish Bride by Georgette Heyer (1940)


All witnesses, metaphorically, wear black spectacles. They can neither see clearly, nor interpret what they see in the proper colours. They do not know what goes on on the stage, still less what goes on in the audience. Show them a black-and-white record of it afterwards, and they will believe you; but even then they will be unable to interpret what they see.

The Black Spectacles by John Dickson Carr (1939)


“You did, in fact, everything you set out to do.”

“There’s only one thing that’s more important,” he answered, “and that is, after you’ve done what you set out to do, to feel that it’s been worth doing.”

Random Harvest by James Hilton (1941)


Arid land in the Flinders Ranges, Australia

Billy wonders if the rest of his life will be spent crossing back and forth across the plain, which he has heard described as an empty wasteland but knows to be dense with motion: the motion of ancestors, spirits, the animals that should be here and the animals that shouldn’t, songs, stories, people, goods, water, minerals, the railway, the roads, stock tracks, fire, and the celestial bodies. When he crosses the plain, he both lives inside this density and passes over it.

The Sun Walks Down by Fiona McFarlane (2022)


Some people tell you that they are not influenced by the atmosphere around them. They are quite mistaken. We are all more or less affected by the spoken or unspoken thoughts of others.

Inquest by Henrietta Clandon (1933)


“It’s no good going back over the past. It’s the future one has to live for.”

Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie (1939)


Favourite books read in April:

The Bird in the Tree, The Black Spectacles, Random Harvest and Voices of the Dead

Places visited in my April reading:

England, US, Scotland, Spain, France, Australia

Authors read for the first time in April:

Fiona McFarlane


Reading notes: My April began with some 1940 novels for 1940 Club, then I seemed to stay around that era for most of the month. I only managed to read one new author, but sometimes it’s comforting to stick to authors you already know and enjoy. I’m starting my May reading with a re-read of one of my favourite Daphne du Maurier books for Heavenali’s DDM Reading Week, but I don’t have any plans other than that.

How was your April? What are you hoping to read in May?

14 thoughts on “My Commonplace Book: April 2023

  1. jessicabookworm says:

    Looks like another great month of reading for you in April and I look forward to see what you re-read for DDM week – Not sure I will be able to take part myself this year, but will still enjoy seeing what everyone else reads. 🙂

    • Helen says:

      April was a great reading month for me, but May is going to be busier so I don’t think I’ll read as much this month. I’ll definitely try to review my Du Maurier book next week, though!

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