Introduce myself… Well, I’m a Sherlock Holmes fanatic (although I am not a member of the Baker Street Irregulars, I play the grand game anyway), a certified cryptozoologist, a crossword puzzle and word game player, I have a Edgar Allan Poe lunchbox that I use everyday, and I read. A lot.

I’ve been writing reviews for about six years but I began to read and have opinions about books before I was three years old.

Some stay with you. These are the five (if I have to limit it) I would say have affected me.

NUmber 1Just seeing the cover art sends me back to fourth grade — dated though it is. I read all of the Narnia books, of course, but for some reason it was the Dawn Treader that really came alive for me.

I return to books time and again, and try to revisit a time when I could wrap myself in magic (and a quilt) and completely lose track of reality.

“Adventures are never fun while you’re having them.”

Number 2

I read The Count of Monte Cristo over the course of one summer – all 1100 unabridged pages of it. And I could have read 1100 more. The book has so many wonderful side stories, that all manage to link back to the main narrative.

It has everything — murder, adventure, revenge, philosophy, training, wit, intrigue, theft.

“It is the way of weakened minds to see everything through a black cloud. The soul forms its own horizons; your soul is darkened, and consequently the sky of the future appears stormy and unpromising.” 

068672-black-ink-grunge-stamp-textures-icon-alphanumeric-m03-clearThen there are the books you wish you could read again for the first time. Gillespie & I by Jane Harris is such a book. Like Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, at about the halfway point, the story takes an unexpected turn.  It’s a brilliant misdirection and meant that I spent each free moment intent on reading just a few more pages. I truly had a book hangover after this one.

‘No, sir,’ I said, shortly. ‘ I know of no such device.’

His lip curled, and he gazed at me, askance: if I were a representative of the modern world, then it would appear that I was distinctly below par in his estimation. Immediately I was filled with regret and anxiety: I had let him down! As a child, I had learned all about kaleidoscopes, in the hope of pleasing him.  If only I was better informed, now, about carpet sweepers.

FourThe Hound of the Baskervilles must act as a stand-in for all Sherlock stories. It’s difficult to choose just one. But this short novel features Watson as detective through much of it and proves my point that Watson is not the bumbling idiot as he was portrayed to be in many movie versions. he was a medical doctor who served abroad in the Army — how stupid can he be?!

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” 

FiveThe Winter Queen by Boris Akunin was as massive Russian-language hit. It was a pure adventuresome detective novel, something not seen in modern Russia. In a culture that reveres serious literature, this was something so different, its author used a pseudonym. The Erast Fandorin books were finally translated into English (though anything later than the third novel requires ordering from a UK outlet.

“The foppishly dressed but terribly slovenly young man stumbled along Tverskoi Boulevard with rapid, erratic steps, paying no attention to anyone—expensive crumpled frock coat, dirty white tie, dusty white carnation in his buttonhole.”

Looking forward to Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

24 thoughts on “Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Day 1”

  1. I love Narnia and Sherlock Holmes! Dawn Treader is definitely a favorite, along with Prince Caspian and The Silver Chair. The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of my favorites. I love all the short stories but I don’t tend to remember them as much.

  2. The Dawn Treader has to be one of my favourite Narnia books, too. And I loved the Count of Monte Cristo!

    I’ve recently discovered a love for crime and mystery, so I shall have to check out some of the other books on your list.

  3. Ooh, Gillespie and I was delicious. I have to read Rebecca this year. Have you read The Woman Upstairs? Not really gothic, but some angry woman stuff. I have one of the Akunin mysteries around here somewhere. I’ll have to get it out – I do like mysteries.

    1. Just started something called The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell. But I will check out The (not mad)Woman Upstairs. 🙂

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else mention the Erast Fandorin books before. Hooray! I love them! I haven’t gotten the later ones yet (like you said, they’re not readily available in the US) but I hope to at some point.

    1. Best online source I’ve found is Book Depository. While in London a few years ago, I went into the inimitable Daunt Books and a lovely chap led me to the proper section. Turned out he was a Fandorin fan too! I bought all they had and he gave me a Daunt tote bag!

  5. The Count of Monte Cristo, Yes!! One of my favorites. I’m going to have to check out your #3. I love Rebecca.

  6. I still haven’t read The Count of Monte Cristo! I want to, and though I rarely shy away from giant bricks of books, I tend to when they’re classics. Maybe I should try an audio book version? That might be just the ticket.

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