The Commonplace Book

I keep stumbling upon this 'word' over the course of a year.  Reading about Charlotte Mason one can't help but come across the term, "Commonplace Book."  What on earth?

Well, once again, here's an idea that totally resonates with me.

A Commonplace Book is a collection of quotes, thoughts and passages from any reading that strikes a chord with you.  For me, lately, that's been quite a bit.  I don't have time, or the paper, to write it ALL down.... but I have started my collection of the snippets that reach out of the page and grab my heart and mind.

I've used pens and highlighters before to mark these things in my books, and I've even written a few things down on paper here and there.  But I've never made a concentrated effort to keep a notebook just for this purpose, and up until this year, I don't believe I've ever heard of a commonplace book before.  It must be a new fad??

It turns out, commonplace books aren’t anything new and have been around for hundreds of years. What goes into a commonplace book is also highly individualized.It doesn't have to be a direct quote that you write down though they (commonplace books) often do contain those.  It can be a summary of your thoughts, a drawing, or whatever way you wish to convey what it is that resonated with you from whatever it was you were reading. A commonplace book can contain thoughts and quotes from a variety of sources across a vast amount of time.  It's sort of a personalized notebook (not one kept for a class) which can accompany you on all your journeys and be a great companion at any hour.

So as I read more about these in the books I've been reading -


and on   I actually paid for the $5.00 workshop @

It's so worth it.  There's a webinar video with Andrew Kern speaking as well as a 'cheat sheet' on Andrew's highlighting system and reading sequence and another source by the full of links to many sources related to commonplace books....I've barely scratched the service on it yet!

So I've started my Commonplace Book.

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For now it's actually a part of my prayer binder.  I figure this way I'm more likely to take it everywhere- at least everywhere that I'll be if I'm away from home for more than a few hours and might have time to read- whether it's scripture or another book.

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*** If you want to know more about my prayer binder, check out the site that I got the idea from:  Adventures of an Orthodox Mom -  I just started it a couple weeks ago- but I'm already using it every morning as part of my morning prayer time and I really love it!  The commonplace book is simply the section in the back of my binder- at least for now.

If you haven't read about or started a commonplace book yet, I highly encourage you to do so.  I have a feeling my commonplace book is about to become my new best friend!

Here's a sampling of my early writings:

 "Obey your conscience, deceive no one, and above all pray to God; everything comes from Him.    p. 61  The Way of a Pilgrim

"There is no season such delight can bring as summer, autumn, winter, and spring." ~ William Browne

Tell me-  do you have a commonplace book?  What's your favorite thing(s) to write inside it?




6 thoughts on “The Commonplace Book

  1. Mona

    I first heard this term when I was researching English Lessons Through Literature. I thought it was a great idea, but I never thought to keep my own commonplace book. I might try it. I'll have to check out your recommendations, too. Great post!

  2. Michele

    I love this idea! I'm even thinking a good Christmas gift idea for my five grown kids would be a nice Commonplace Book with an explanation of what it is. Thanks for this post!

  3. timjames

    I have blank journal that I jot in. I write down what struck me with the date, book, author and page info. Then I doodle around what I wrote our stick a few stickers on. 😉

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