I posted earlier about my failure to read a canonical story every week this year. At the time of that post, I had read 23 stories, not too shabby if I do say so myself. I'm ending the year with 29 stories under my belt. Now that I think about it, I'll probably squeeze one more in just so I can say I read half the Canon in 2018.
But my year was more than just the Canon. Journals, scholarship, pastiche, memoirs, essays, you name it. If it was text related to Sherlock Holmes, count me interested.
By my count, I read over 50 other books and publications this year. So I'm not going to do an in-depth analysis of all of the Sherlockian things I read in 2018, but some really great writings passed through my hands this year and I would at least like to get their names out to you over the next few weeks. Hopefully something new will be on this list. Enjoy!
The Baker Street Journal: Volume 3, Nos. 1, 2 & 3 (1948), Volume 22, No. 2 (1972), Volume 67, No. 4 (2017), Christmas Annual 2017, Volume 68, Nos. 1, 2 & 3 (2018)
First and foremost: if you are a Sherlockian and you don't subscribe to the BSJ. WHAT? I was lucky enough to get quite a few old issues of the BSJ this year and figure if I read one issue a month, I will have years of great writing ahead of me. The BSJ puts out four standard issues a year, along with one Christmas annual that devotes the entire issue to one topic. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that without the BSJ, Sherlockiana would not exist today.
The Watsonian: Volume 5 No. 1 (2017), Volums 6 Nos. 1 & 2
Although it's only been around for five years, the Watsonian is a cornerstone publication for a Sherlockian library. Each article has a different vibe than the one that came before it. (Disclaimer: I've been published in here a few times, but trust me, there's good stuff in there, too!) I joined this year and am kicking myself for not doing so earlier. At least I don't have as many back issues to catch up on with this journal!
The Sherlock Holmes Society Journal: Winter 2017 & Summer 2018
Did you know that Sherlock Holmes mania isn't exclusive to America? Sometimes we Yanks have so much Sherlockiana over here, it's easy to forget that we are really the step-children in this fandom. The Sherlock Holmes Society Journal is a fantastic way to stay abreast of what is happening on the other side of the pond. Whether it's publishing news, visits to Portsmouth or updates on names that sound just a bit fancier than our own, this publication will keep you in the know if you're interested in what's going on in the mother land.
The Serpentine Muse Volume 34 Number 4I could've sworn that I'd read more than one issue this year, so I have to go back and check my shelf. I know a few members of The Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, and their journal reflects the members that I'm lucky enough to know: intelligent, witty, and classy. If you want to feel like you're part of a group of high class folk, this journal is for you.
The Holmes & Watson Report: January & March 2000
Did you know that Brad Keefauver used to put out a journal? Well actually, he put out a million different publications. Imagine if Sherlock Peoria were in print format and Brad had convinced a handful of other like-minded folk to join in this endeavor. Although this journal is no longer in print, it's worth checking out just for the reports written by Holmes' bearskin rug!
The Sherlock Holmes Reference Library: The Valley of Fear & The Return of Sherlock Holmes – Leslie Klinger
For those of us interested in even MORE annotations than what can be found in Baring-Gould's and Klinger's Annotated editions comes The Sherlock Holmes Reference Library. My collection grows steadily by a few volumes each year. And they are an unrivaled resource at scion meetings when discussing particular stories.
Sherlockian Shtick – Art Schroeder
And no for something completely different! Art Schroeder was a longtime Sherlockian in the St. Louis area before my time. Blessed with wit, but not artistic ability, he was quick to turn a Sherlockian phrase into a humorous stick-figure drawing. This locally produced work collects many of his Sherlockian stick figure puns. A quick read, and one that's fun no matter what page you're on.
Sherlock and the Ladies – Brad Keefauver
Yup, Keefauver's on the list again. Not only did he put out journals before the internet, but he also wrote a few books! This one takes you through Holmes' relationships and interactions with the women of the Canon. A clever look on a subject that is too often scandalized by other writers.
One Fixed Point in a Changing Age: A New Generation on Sherlock Holmes – Krstina Manente
Have you heard of this BBC show called Sherlock? Turns out, it brought a whole new wave of Sherlockians to the fold and with them came a fresh new look at our hobby. From shipping and Tumblr to re-evaluating some long-held beliefs about the Canon, it was a seismic shift in Sherlockiana. If you are even remotely interested in how a new generation of Sherlockian looks at this hobby, this is the book for you.
Trenches: The War Service of Sherlock Holmes – Robert Katz
Every year, the Baker Street Irregulars Press puts out a few books focusing on a specific topic. One of their releases this year focused on the manuscript of "His Last Bow" and the role that World War I played on Sherlock Holmes and his world. A reproduction of the manuscript for "His Last Bow" is included, but these books are so much more. It includes everything from an investigation on Tokay and a look at how Rathbone and Bruce influenced the war effort. These books routinely sell out, so if you haven't picked up your copy, now is the time!
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter – Theodora Goss
Not every book on this list is going to be a good fit for me. This is one. "The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter" has an interesting plot, Dr. Jekyll's daughter is looking into her father's past with the help of Sherlock Holmes, but I've never been a fan of alternating narrators. This book is told in a conversational style between the main characters and is sure to be a favorite of many people out there, but my hang ups with narration kept me from really enjoying it.
The Illustrious Clients’ Fourth Casebook – Steven Doyle
The Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis are a powerhouse scion society. And when one of your members is the guy who prints the Baker Street Journal, it's no surprise that they put out some good quality books as well. This is the fourth collection of writings by members of their society, and they don't show any sign of slowing down yet.
Mycroft and Sherlock – Kareem Abdul JabbarI'm going to wrap this week's list up with a recent addition, "Mycroft and Sherlock" released less than two months ago. If you liked Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's "Mycroft Holmes," you'll like this one as well. If you didn't for whatever reason, give the second installment a try. This is one of the few instances where the sequel surpasses the first. The titular characters are beginning to embody their canonical selves in this book, and it was a lot of fun to read. Definitely time well spent.