What are you reading?

by chuckofish

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“It saved me from ennui,” he answered, yawning. “Alas! I already feel it closing in upon me. My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the common-places of existence. These little problems help me to do so.”

“And you are a beneficiary of the races,” said I.

He shrugged his shoulders. “Well, perhaps, after all, it is of some little use,” he remarked. “‘L’homme, c’est rien–l’oeuvre c’est tout.’ as Gustave Flaubert wrote to Georges Sand.”

–Sherlock Holmes in The Red-Headed League

In casting about for something to read last week, I plucked The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle off a shelf at home. It was a 1930 edition which had belonged to my father. The name inscribed on the frontispiece was in my father’s adult hand, but judging from the words that are underlined throughout the book, he must have read it as an eight-year-old. It adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the experience, imagining little Newell looking up the words amiable and succinct.

Funnily enough, I have never before read any stories in the Holmes oeuvre. Of course, I am well versed in the Basil Rathbone film series

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and I have seen one of the Robert Downey, Jr.’s movies.

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My DP even gave me a boxed set of the British tv series from the 1950s starring Leslie Howard’s son Ronald Howard as the famous sleuth.

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But until now, I do not recall having delved into the original Doyle stories. Let me tell you, they are really good! Holmes is a wonderful character, always observing and thinking and deducing. And the stories are well-written, concise and light-hearted.

They are a wonderful distraction from the worries of the world. I highly recommend them.