Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Hound of the Baskervilles

I am slowly accepting the arrival of the ebook.  I have nothing against them, I just don't prefer them over actual, physical books.  One of the things I like best about books is being able to flip through pages, start here or there, and go hither and yonder among the chapters (if I've read the book already, that is).  I love picking up books off shelves and opening them to any page and re-reading them.  It's like meeting an old friend for coffee.  You  can't do that with an ebook.  When I'm reading a  book for the first time, I like glancing towards the back with satisfaction as to how much I have left.  There just isn't the same amount of satisfaction to be had in that little "46%" in the corner of the screen.  I also love the feel of a book in my hand, the smell of it, the texture of the pages.  It's all part of the reading experience for me. 

I am coming around, however, to reading the occasional book on my Kindle.  I have a Kindle Fire, not so much for reading, but for tablet purposes. I do, however, occasionally download a book onto it, especially if the book is free.  (I also resent paying for books I can't actually see.)  And I will say this - reading on my Kindle has solved my lifelong problem of how to read while cooking.  It is easier to prop up a Kindle and read it while stirring than it is to hold open a book.  I will give you that. 

So I will confess that my most recently finished book, The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was read on my Kindle.  I have the complete set of Sherlock Holmes on my Kindle, and I am working my way through them with great enjoyment.  I still would love to have a hard copy on my shelves.  A lovely leather, or even fake leather, edition of the complete works.  And hey, I have a birthday coming up.  I mean, I'm just putting facts out there in the universe...who knows where they may land...

But I digress.  Back to Sherlock Holmes.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is perhaps the best-known Holmes story.  It is quintessential Sherlock.  it has been adapted for the stage, for TV, and for film numerous times in numerous languages.  Pieces of it are well-known parts of the Sherlock canon.  It is here that the hardcore Sherlock fan finds the Vatican Cameos reference, among others.  It is a timeless story that defines the characters of Holmes and Watson. 

When you read the novel, you realize why. 

The Hound of the Baskervilles is mystery and suspense at its finest.  Intrigue, mistaken identities, false clues, mysterious noises, villains, heroes - all there.  It is suspenseful without being gory or weirdly supernatural, something with which today's writers seem to struggle.  It leads the reader down one path and then expertly pulls them down the other.  The mystery of the unfortunate death of Sir Charles Baskerville, and the fate of his heir Sir Henry, grabs the attention of the reader and does not let it go until the last line.  At the same time, it is a fabulous portrait of Holmes at his finest.  Everything you love about Sherlock is there, and everything you love about his faithful companion Watson is there.  The two of them take on the case with a singular energy and apply both of their skill sets towards sorting it all out - though Holmes, of course, always has the upper hand...being Holmes, after all.

I read The Hound of the Baskervilles in about 48 hours.  It would have taken me less time had I not fallen asleep this afternoon for a much needed nap.  It's a fast read because you can't put it down.  Written over 100 years ago, and yet the modern 21st century reader can't put it down.  That's the sign of true genius in writing.  That's the genius of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and that's what makes it timeless.  (Incidentally, it originally appeared as a serial story in a magazine, stretching from August 1901 to April 1902.  Can you imagine have to wait months and months for the conclusion to your favorite can't-put-it-down novel?  It's like the early 20th century form of torture that Moffat and Gatniss, today's Sherlock creators, are putting us fans through now!)

If you've never read any classic Holmes, check out The Hound of the Baskervilles and experience what read literary genius is like! 

TBR update:
I am still reading Written in my Own Heart's Blood, but it has taken a slight backseat because I am trying to complete my local library's adult reading challenge.  They have a list of 12 genres, and if you read books in six of those genres, you get a prize and you get put in a drawing for the grand prize.  You can enter up to three times.  I am trying to complete the thing by the end of the summer, so I haven't been able to attack Diana Gabaldon with quite the fierceness that I would like.  I have one entry completed and I am halfway through my second entry.  So here are my current TBR, other than her book:

1. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
3. Maise Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
4. Lost in Translation by Adam Spears and John Kline
5. And...other books.  I need to find a Romance, a Western, an Inspirational Fiction, or a book about Kansas.  Or any mixture of the above.  And I am open to suggestions! 

No comments:

Post a Comment