Tag Archives: classic

Catching up on Sherlock reading

Long time no posts here, eh? I know, I know.

I’ve been reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books this year, spurred on by Mari. I posted about the first two books I read for the challenge way back in August. Since then I’ve read the next three, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, and The Hound of the Baskervilles.

After the longer-form stories of the first two books (one story per short book), The Adventures was a bit disappointing in that the cases were all so brief, so quickly dispatched.

And then when I read Memoirs, I was convinced that I’d picked it up out of order (even though I’d attempted to check). But nope. It was in order of publication date. It had already been clear that the stories weren’t conveyed in chronological order, but this one was a bit jarring.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Hound of the Baskervilles; it really is the most masterful of the stories, at least so far as I’ve read, so far.

Thanks for the nudge, Mari! I’ve been thoroughly enjoying these books, I plan to continue with them into the new year. Next up: The Return of Sherlock Holmes, published in 1905!

(I got these ebooks from Project Gutenberg.)

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A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

8721893974_1f51cdfb67_zFor Mari’s Sherlock Holmes reading challenge, I’ve read the first two books (by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, of course) so far.

I honestly can’t remember if I’ve read any Sherlock Holmes books before. I mean, surely I have, at some point, especially given my love of mysteries? But at any rate, I’m reading afresh now.

The first one, A Study in Scarlet, introduces the reader to Sherlock and we see him meet Watson. I did get a bit confused when a new second section started and, instead of the familiar London, we’re abruptly in Utah. It took me a long time to even feel confident the chapters of my ebook hadn’t gotten jumbled with another book somehow! It all became clear in time, though.

The second, The Sign of the Four, also had a somewhat similar detour, but it was much less abrupt and I didn’t get confused nearly as much. 🙂

Each is less than 200 pages (somewhat significantly less, actually). They read very quickly. Despite the (very rare) French or German quote that aren’t translated (a sign of a true classic, maybe?), the language is flowing and easy, not too stilted or old fashioned.

Reading these, I’m appreciating the adaptations I’ve been loving (both BBC’s Sherlock and Elementary) even more, both as treatments of the books and as their own, individual works.

I just love these stories!

On to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes!

(I got these ebooks from Project Gutenberg.)

Words from my reading

A few fun words that were new to me this week:

oary, adj Having the form or serving the purpose of an oar
page 4, Middlemarch by George Eliot
“Here and there a cygnet is reared uneasily among the ducklings in the brown pond, and never finds the living stream in fellowship with its oary-footed kind.”

parterre, n An ornamental flower garden having the beds and paths arranged to form a pattern; parquet; the part of the floor of a theater beneath the galleries
page 12, Middlemarch by George Eliot
“The casket was soon before them, and the various jewels spread out, making a bright parterre on the table.”

pilulous, adj Pertaining to or resembling a pill; small, inconsiderable, trifling
page 21, Middlemarch by George Eliot
“Has anyone ever pinched into its pilulous smallness the cobweb of pre-matrimonial acquaintanceship?”

purblind, adj Having poor vision, nearly or partly blind; slow in understanding or discernment, dull; obsolete: Completely blind
page 34, Middlemarch by George Eliot
“She was disposed rather to accuse the intolerable narrowness, the purblind conscience of the society around her: and Celia was no longer the eternal cherub, but a thorn in her spirit, a pink-and-white nullifidian, worse than any discouraging presence in the ‘Pilgrim’s Progress.'”

nullifidian, n Of no faith or religion; one who has no faith, an unbeliever, an infidel
page 34, Middlemarch by George Eliot
“She was disposed rather to accuse the intolerable narrowness, the purblind conscience of the society around her: and Celia was no longer the eternal cherub, but a thorn in her spirit, a pink-and-white nullifidian, worse than any discouraging presence in the ‘Pilgrim’s Progress.'”

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

What new words have you found lately?

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome

three-men-in-a-boatThree Men in a Boat: (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome (1889), 135 pages

I found this book on AbeBooks’ funniest books list, as chosen by UKers.

This is a funny book. The categorization of comic novel is right on. At one point, I was averaging one out-loud laugh per page. Then I lost count. Plus: It’s short. The narrator is a resistentialist, which is fun, too. This was a good diversion for me.

The book is about three friends (plus the dog, Montmorency) who decide it’s time for a break and set out, sculling up the Thames, camping at night or, alternately, staying at a local inn. Interspersed with the actual events of the book are many backstories, which, at least to some degree, really make the book.

This is not a book to skim, though, despite its brevity. I think it may have had to do with this particular edition (see below), but sometimes I did realize that I didn’t know what I was reading about and have to back up. I’d never missed much (never more than a few lines), but still.

About the various editions:
I read the 2006 Dover edition (linked above). The text is crammed into this trade paperback; Dover printed on the inside of both the front and back covers (although thankfully not the text of the book!) The text is unabridged, but this edition is apparently lacking illustrations that accompanied the original. Several publishers have this book available inexpensively, including Penguin Classics and Tor. Both have a higher page count than this Dover Value Edition (although the Tor page count is nearly twice that of either of the others, which is confusing). I like the cover of the Dover best, though.

There are just so many reasons to recommend this book: If you like dogs. Boating. England. History. Humor. Performing. Camping. Resistentialism. Traveling. Cheese. A fondness for any one of these, I think, would be enough to commend this book to you.

Because of the success of this book, Jerome went on to write Three Men on the Bummel.

This book is in the public domain (at least in the United States); LibriVox has a free audio version, plus links to several different free sources for the e-book.

Other reviews:
Beth Fish Reads
Farm Lane Books
The Indextrious Reader
She Reads Books
Jenny’s Books
Bibliophile Bullpen

I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.