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.
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.”
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.”
Then 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.
The 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.”
The 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!