i contain multitudes

A Kick Ass Commonplace Book


An early mind map from Vic

I’ve been dreaming of a commonplace book for quite some time now, ever since seeing a fantastic exhibit at Seattle’s Henry Art Gallery by Ann Hamilton that featured gorgeous vintage commonplace books.

These books have been around for centuries and they vary greatly in design and use, but ultimately they are a collection of quotes and ideas that a user gathers over time. Historically they have been handwritten but there are many instances of digital commonplace books online these days. As a voracious reader, I often come across lines of text so beautiful or so poignant that I expect them to be forever imprinted on my brain, but they are relegated to the gutters of my leaky memory pretty quickly.

An important question to start with is what will I use commonplace book for? Three things immediately come to mind:

  • A way to improve retention of the things I’ve read.
  • Inspiration for idea development and writing of all types.
  • A record of my reading that I can reflect on or share with friends.

I mentioned this obsession to my good friend Elise a while back and she loved it, too. We immediately started digging into the idea, going back and forth a bit. While we both love the idea of a commonplace book, we have pretty different ideas on the execution of the book, starting with the format. So we decided to test out a few prototypes and compare notes right here at

3 responses to “A Kick Ass Commonplace Book”

  1. […] months since I started playing with Evernote as a way to create a digital commonplace book (see our original post here) and I thought I’d give an update on how it’s […]


  2. […] (Don’t know what a commonplace book is? Read about it here.)   […]


  3. Thank you for wwriting this


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About Me

I’m Victoria Griffith and am enthusiastic about an awful lot of things. I blog about some of them here, particularly about books and writing. My goal for 2023 is to write a #25wordbookreview for every book I read, and to post them here and on Goodreads.

I was born in Paterson NJ, call Seattle WA my home, and spend a bit of time out in the desert of Southern California. I try to get out to see as much of the world as time and money will allow. 

If you’d like to say hi, you can reach me at


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