Sunday 24 January 2016


I have been naughty and purloined a good term from a bookseller of that name, but it suits today's post.

Here are two books I returned from Hampshire with.  When we were in Ringwood, there were lots of Charity shops, and one in particular had some excellent books.  I was Very Good and put back two Archaeology ones (one was on Material Culture and was a follow up to a book which seemed to be on every reading list I had for my Mat. Cult. course at Uni, and I could never get my hands on it as someone had always got there first).  This was The Past is a Foreign Country - the new one is the same title with Revisited on the end.  It was £3, but it was VERY heavy and I know I wouldn't ever have time to devote to reading it properly.  These I will read and pass on.

Two of my recent Library books.  I haven't started the Serpent Papers yet, but The Utopia Experiment is the sort of book which sounds like it aught to be better than it is, so you plod on waiting for "the good bit" but it's more about his psychological stance than actually day to day living in the wilds of Scotland in an experimental post-apocalyptic community.  To be honest, I could tell it was going to fail before he even got there because a) it was in Scotland, and b) they arrived about July with only very naive thoughts about self-sufficiency.  I would say - don't bother.  I'm not surprised to find he is now living in - I think - Guatamala.

Current bed-time reading.  I bought Growing up in Kilvert Country recently (probably at Hay-on-Wye) and was reading it when the Library came round again.  It tells of a fairly typical rural upbringing and isn't one to keep.

The First Murder I can heartily recommend.  5 historical crime writers (as detailed on the cover) deal with the murders associated with the performing of a Medieval play, spanning a thousand years.  Excellent.

When I go on journeys I see images which just have to be recorded.  If I am driving, I quite often tell my husband to write something down for me.  When I get home, i write them into my Commonplace notebook.  The one above is my travelling one, which lives in my big handbag.  On my train journey to Hampshire, the windows were filthy and I ended up just reading my book.  The pages above and below are from a past journey to So'ton - just little snippets.  They may end up as poetry eventually.  I  am copying them into a lovely hardback journal which middle daughter gave me for Christmas, but last week's journey is what made me want to look back at last year's entries.  Apologies for my scrawl - these are just notes.  Does anyone else have a Commonplace book?


  1. My mother is rather bloodthirsty, she'd love the medieval murders!

  2. I like the look of the Utopia one, might have to have a look at it just curiosity, I love your notes you scribble down perhaps one day they will all come together to be something else :-)

  3. I always have a notebook in my handbag BB - I dont think I could manage without it, although sometimes something written in a hurry proves impossible to read!

  4. Have you read the others by the medieval crime writers, there are 10 now, all very cleverly written and linked together to span the years. I've only read a couple of the early ones so far so will order some more. They are listed on Fantastic Fiction under Medieval Murderers

  5. I always have a notebook in my purse, I write haiku everywhere.
    But I transfer my thoughts to another book that has drawings and thoughts in it.

    cheers, parsnip

  6. Fascinating selection of books - I have the Daughters of Britannia one in a box of books waiting to be read and I loved the Daphne du Maurier one. Will look into the Medieval Murders one! I am sure I saw a mention of the Miniaturist on your blog. Have you read it yet? Would love to know what you thought if you have to compare with my thoughts.

    Love the idea of the Commonplace Book - do have a notebook in my bag but its a great idea to transfer thoughts into one book at home.

  7. Love your booklists, just read a Phil Rickman's book because of you and enjoyed it immensely. I used to keep commonplace books when young, and on this move to Yorkshire chucked them out, perhaps I should start again.

  8. Love your booklists, just read a Phil Rickman's book because of you and enjoyed it immensely. I used to keep commonplace books when young, and on this move to Yorkshire chucked them out, perhaps I should start again.

  9. Simon - oh gosh, perhaps that means I am bloodthirsty too!

    Dawn - I would order it from the Library rather than buy it. At least my words are not lost, if you take my meaning.

    Pat - ah you noticed the fatal flaw with my hastily-scrawled notes then!

    Sue - off to go look . . .

    parsnip - I like to read Haiku - I haven't written any since doing an Eng. Lit. course.

    R. Robin - the Miniaturist still awaits. I have tried a couple of times to start on it but wasn't in the mood for the first person present tense style of writing, but need to give myself a shake I think!

    thelma - you will have to read ALL the Phil Rickman novels as they are really great escapism. Strong willed of you to chuck out your commonplace books but no reason not to start a new Yorkshire one . . .

  10. I love the images in your Commonplace Book.