A commonplace book is many things, different for each person who keeps one. Most generally, it's a place, usually a notebook (sometimes a blog) to keep ideas, thoughts, important bits and babs. Sort of a nest for the intellectual magpie. It differs from a diary or journal in that it is not a record (of chronology or introspection), but a collection of curated ideas. For years, I've collected quotes that I love, or can't get out of my head, or otherwise feel moved by here on this page. For many years prior to that, I've kept my own commonplace notebooks. I fill them with the words that I find inspiring, thought provoking, had wish I'd written myself.
What's deemed important enough to record in a commonplace book depends its keeper. Carl Linneaus used his commonplace book to work out the nomenclature of things. John Locke thought the commonplace book was so important he wrote a treatise on how to keep one. Thoreau and Emerson kept them, as did Twain and Milton, Coleridge, Hardy, Woolf.
The Common Place is the outward facing gallery of my own private collection, a series of quotes and ideas that perhaps might inspire others in the way they do me. You'll see repeats here--most definitely of writers and books, probably of certain quotations themselves (especially if you go poking into the archives). My only real criteria for inclusion is that I have read the novel, memoir, or other source material in full, and am in some way inspired by what I've found. I don't offer interpretation--that's up to you.
So I begin this new year with a renewed commitment to my revamped version of The Common Place, and I hope you'll check back from time to time.