The Grand Game: A Celebration of Sherlockian Scholarship Volumes 1 & 2 – Leslie Klinger & Laurie King
Two different books, but I'm lumping them together because they are quite foundational texts. Editors Klinger and King have collected some of the most influential writings in Sherlockiana over the decades in these two volumes. I think these two books alone might be the best Sherlockian titles I've read all year.
I also read some interesting graphic novels this year:
Sherlock Holmes: Year One – Scott Beatty
This title creates a new chronology that falls between "A Study in Scarlet" and "Young Sherlock Holmes." Holmes and Watson meet and a new origin story is created showing the beginnings of Holmes' skills. Dynamite puts out some really good titles in their Sherlock Holmes series, but I wouldn't say this was one of their best.
The Liverpool Demon – Leah Moore
This title is also from Dynamite and I enjoyed it much more. Holmes and Watson find themselves investigating a series of gruesome murders that the locals are saying are being done by a monster named Spring Heeled Jack. "No ghosts need apply," could have been Holmes' motto for this case. There are some nice canonical nods in this tale and plenty of good original material.
A Study in Emerald – Neil Gaiman
Have you ever read Neil Gaiman's classic short story? This is that story told in graphic novel format. If you haven't, I would recommend hitting up the original version first. I really liked this version and would say that my enjoyment of it was enhanced from already being familiar with the story.
And I found some great books out there that merge Sherlockiana and theology, which is always an interesting crossover for me:
The Wisdom of Sherlock Holmes: His Musings on God, Human Nature and Justice – Chase Thompson
This isn't just a theology text, more of a collection of essays. Each chapter uses canonical information to back up Thompson's argument on each topic: atheist or believer in God?, compassion vs. sexism, are humans inherently evil?, and more. A quick and thoughtful book that I really recommend.
God and Sherlock Holmes – Wayne Wall
An older title, but worth picking up for anyone interested in the cross-section between religion and Sherlock Holmes. I didn't necessarily agree with every argument in this book, but they were well worth checking out.
And then there were the wide swath of other Sherlockian books that I tore through this year:
A Study in Scarlet Women – Sherry Thomas
I mentioned earlier in the year that I never completed this book. I was hoping for a retelling of "A Study in Scarlet" but with Holmes as a woman. It was more of an original tale with the Sherlock Holmes name slapped onto it. Another person told me that the Sherlockian connection became evident at the end of the book, but I never made it that far.
A Sherlock Holmes Commentary – David Martin Dakin
I can't believe it took me this long to finally pick up Dakin's book! It was high on the Shaw 100, and I can see why. Delving into curiosities, continuities, chronologies, and other things that don't start with the letter C, it should definitely be a part of every Sherlockian's book collection.
Cracking the Code of the Canon: How Sherlock Holmes Made His Decisions – Diane Gilbert Madsen
Here is an interesting take on canonical information. This book is a nice collection of different essays. Madsen uses statistical information to look at Sherlock Holmes and his methods in this quick an engaging read.
The Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes – Liese Sherwood Fabre
I picked up this book at Holmes, Doyle and Friends in March and quickly tore through it. Mrs. Fabre gave an interesting talk at the symposium and her book followed suit. It's more of a look at the Victorian world in which Holmes lived in and gives the reader plenty of background knowledge of what life would've been like.
Practical Handbook of Sherlockian Heraldry – Julian Wolff
I am not someone who's typically interested in genealogy, so I was never going to be the right audience for this book. But it's on the Shaw 100, so I worked my way through it. If you are interested in family crests and background of canonical characters, this is a book for you.
Some of My Favorite Sherlockian Things – E.A. Livingston
A delightful collection of essays by a Sherlockian I hadn't heard of until I was browsing the MX Publishing website one day. Although, I'd never heard of Livingston before this book, I was immediately captivated with his thoughts on the Canon and his delivery.
Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle & The Bookman – Susan Dahlinger & Leslie Klinger
As someone interested in the early commentary on Sherlockiana, this book was right up my alley. Dahlinger and Klinger have collected all of the mentions of Holmes in The Bookman literary magazine over its forty year run in this great omnibus of early Sherlockian writing.
Island of the Mad – Laurie King
I actually just finished this book today. With any series that has run as long as this one has (15 stories!), individual books can tend to not live up to the rest of the series. That is not the case with King's latest Holmes and Russell adventure. I tore through this in one day and really enjoyed our heroes adventures in Venice.
I will finish up my list next week (I read a lot this year). Compliments of the season to everyone!