Y’all remember last May, when I said that if Elementary (which I was super worried about) turned out okay, I’d eat my hat? Consider my favorite ushanka gobbled, because I am loving it. To be fair, my errant sense of what is and is not good (one of my favorite movies is Rock of Ages, c’mon, people) means that my love does not immediately translate into any meaningful commentary on its quality, but the love is co-signed by friends, critics, and Scott Westerfeld. Step aside, Sherlock, I have a new favorite modern Holmes adaptation. (It’s a niche market.) Here’s three reasons why you should clear up your Thursday nights. Continue reading
Another Valentine’s Day, another batch of inappropriate Valentines handed out to my beloved friends (this year: The Dark Knight Rises), and another tribute to a literary couple that I adore. My journey through the Sherlock Holmes canon is almost complete, so John Watson and Mary Morstan have been weighing heavily on my mind. By which, of course, I mean that I’ve been making playlist after playlist for their various incarnations, so. Let’s get down to it.
His Last Bow by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
There’s only book left now. I’ve been taking my sweet, sweet time with polishing off the Sherlock Holmes canon—I started two years ago!—simply because my bookish diet requires a great deal of variety or I end up just stagnating and boring myself. A bit like Holmes himself, really, without the attendant misogyny, genius, or lackadaisical house manners. But just as I eventually finished Star Trek: The Original Series after four years (and with the rest of the franchise to go), so too must I set down a Sherlock Holmes collection only to realize that the next one I pick up will be my last. I’m mentioning it now because finishing a series gives me such an enormous sense of satisfaction that all the ennui hits me at the penultimate installment.
It’s the last Sunday of the year, so you know what that means. Either I’m getting stingier or this year hasn’t been the best reading year for me—while last year’s year in review post was agonizing to curate, I did this year’s in a few hours. Hopefully, 2013 will ring in a higher batting average for my reading. But it’s not that I haven’t enjoyed my reading this year; I definitely have, especially my nonfiction reading—I mean, I discovered Tom Wolfe this year, so that is a definite plus. As ever, this list is culled from what I read in 2012, not what was released in 2012 (although I read more recent titles this year than in past years).
For us Americans, this past Thursday was Thanksgiving. I finally was able to convince my mother to let me “help” (i.e., take over) with Thanksgiving dinner, and we had a fantastic time brainstorming a menu and executing it. And it was so nice to spend a few days at home, tending to things, like trying new recipes, interviewing librarians for grad school, and finally return my friend Natalya’s The Mighty Boosh DVDs. It’s a nice bit of decompression before the final push, so I’d thought I’d extend the holiday a bit and share what I’m (bookishly) thankful for.
Favorite secondary characters? (Note the plural)
My immediate response is to leap to The Lord of the Rings, but that’s an ensemble piece, so there really are no secondary characters. So I think I’ll start with Mary Morstan from the Sherlock Holmes canon; I loved her from the moment I saw her in Guy Ritchie’s film adaptation, where she throws a drink in Holmes’ face because he’s being awful to her. She’s not treated too well in the stories—Doyle, uh, forgot she existed at one point?—but I still love her character. Onto Mrs. Selwyn from Evelina, a sarcastic widow whose clever cruelty can upset the young, kind heroine, even though Mrs. Selwyn protects her. …I’m not really dredging up anyone else, because I tend to think of secondary characters in film, rather than novels, because it looks like I read a lot of ensemble pieces!
Let’s face it, Sherlock Holmes has rarely been a hotter commodity than at this moment—sure, he’s always been around, but he seems inescapable at the moment. We’ve got a successful film franchise gearing up for its third entry, to say nothing of the smash hit of Sherlock. Everybody and their mom watches it, the fandom is so ravenous that the production team can’t keep up, and it’s won awards. It’s so popular that CBS has decided to slice up a piece of the Holmesian pie for themselves in their very own Sherlock Holmes show, Elementary, coming to television screens this fall. We got our first look at the show on Thursday, and, guys… I’m concerned.
The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Y’all, this is the final Sherlock Holmes novel. I have two collections left go and that’s it; I will only reread the Sherlock Holmes canon in the future. I’m struggling between tearing through the rest of it (His Last Bow and The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, which I’ll actually have to rent from the library) and trying to savor it, like a good piece of dark chocolate, but I always end just eating it. At the very least, I’ll be done by the end of the year. The Valley of Fear is less known than the other three, especially The Hound of the Baskervilles or A Study in Scarlet, and, I have to admit, it’s for good reason.
Have you ever fallen in love with a fictional character? Who and what about them did you love?
Would you like that list alphabetized or arranged in chronological order? I’m from fandom; this is something I do all the time. For the sake of time, I’ll just highlight a few of my beloved literary characters this morning.
John Watson, Mary Morstan, and Irene Adler from Sherlock Holmes. Not that I don’t love Holmes, but Watson is such a good, loyal, and capable gentleman. The same goes for Mary, his own beloved, whose neglected death in the books I am not looking forward to, and I just love Irene to pieces.
Daenaerys from A Song of Ice and Fire. If you have to ask, you probably haven’t met her.
Cal from Middlesex. He’s more of a person than a character to me, especially after listening to the audiobook.