Sunday, June 2, 2019

If Only as a Check to My Own Memory [NOBL]

It's the beginning of June, and the start of summer!  Last week I talked about how I've started reviewing books for The Watsonian Weekly podcast, and that made me remember just how long it took to post my year-end round up of books last year.  So I'm going to do a mid-year check in this week.  I've read 105 books, stories and journals so far this year, and by my count 40 of those items have been Sherlockian texts.  I won't go into detail on each one, just give a quick snapshot of things and hopefully you'll find something that piques your interest.

I will start off with journals, as they have been a major part of my reading this year.

The Baker Street Journal:
V25, 3; V36, 2; V25, 1; V68, 4; V8, 3; Christmas Annual 2018; V3, 4; V4, 1; V24, 4; V35, 1; V10, 1; V12, 1; V69, 1; V13, 2 
Yup, that's 14 issues of the BSJ that I've read so far this year.  And it's all over the place.  I've read issues edited by Julian Wolff, Phillip Shreffler, Edgar Smith, and Steven Rothman.  It's interesting to see how the BSJ has changed over the decades.  If you have old copies lying around your house, pick one up.  I'd wager that it will be a nice trip down memory lane.

The Serpentine Muse:
Volume 35 Numbers 1 & 2
When I won The Beacon Award last year (humble brag, I know), I was awarded a subscription to The Serpentine Muse.  I wasn't sure what it was when I received my first issue.  Was it a collection of toasts?  Activity reports?  Scholarship?  Other stuff?  The answer to all of this is yes.  Once I knew what to expect when I opened up the cover of a new issue, I was quick to renew my subscription when the notice came in the mail last week.

The Holmes and Watson Report:
May 2000 , July 2000, September 2000, October 2000, January 2001 
The out of print journal is like opening up a Sherlockian time capsule to the beginning of the century.  These issues had Holmes running for president of the United States until Moriarty and Moran took over the publishing offices.  Imagine if Sherlock Peoria had a full time staff and they put out a journal and you have an idea of what this entails.

The Watsonian: Volume 7, Number 1
I love The Watsonian.  In fact, I reviewed it on the latest episode of The Watsonian Weekly.

The Canon:
The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, The Adventure of The Red-Headed League, The Crooked Man
My goal is to read 20 canonical stories by the end of the year, so having only read 4 by this point in the year tells me I need to pick up the stories more this summer!

The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars – Anthony Boucher
This had been on my TBR for a long while, but a friend raved about how much they loved it so I bumped it up.  And I'm glad I did!  Not specifically Sherlockian, but a fun 40's murder mystery that kept me turning the pages.

Subcutaneously, My Dear Watson – Jack Tracy
I know Holmes' cocaine use is a big deal for some folks, but I'm not that type of Sherlockian.  It was a fine book, just not for me.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as Told by Sherlock Holmes – Holy Ghost Writer
Stick with me here.  This is the story of Huckleberry Finn told to Dr. Watson by Sherlock Holmes, written by someone named The Holy Ghost Writer.  Apparently, this is part of a larger series where Sherlock Holmes tells Watson about other literary characters that he has worked with, and then tells their famous tales to Watson.  Except the actual Huckleberry Finn story here is just the Mark Twain text that has been copy and pasted in between snippets of conversation between Holmes and Watson.  This book is so nuts that I actually live-tweeted it the night I read it.  It's been months since I read this book, and I'm still not sure exactly what was going on.

Sherlockian Ruminations from a Stormy Petrel – Brenda Rossini
And now for something completely different!  A nice collection of essays by a true blue Sherlockian.  I always enjoy these types of books as the essays can be all over the map and still give you an idea of the Sherlockian that wrote them.

The Bedside Companion to Sherlock Holmes – Dick Riley 
A list of the stories, a biography on Doyle, information about Victorian London.  I'm sure we all have one or two of these in our own libraries.

The Sherlock Holmes Companion – Kenneth Harris
If you enjoy Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes you need this book.  A gorgeous photo layout with nice information about the episodes of the Granada series and the source material.

Lock & Key: The Initiation – Ridley Pearson
Every now and then I will pick up a YA re-imagining of the Canon and I always end up feeling "meh" about them.  I am definitely not the target audience for these types of books, but if they engage new readers and get them to check out Doyle's original stories, keep 'em coming!

A Holmes by Any Other Name – Bill Mason
Bill has collected every known parody of the name "Sherlock Holmes" and given background on each.  But this isn't just a book of lists.  There's also stories about contests to come up with new parodies and a look at how other characters in the Canon have been treated by parodists.

The Strand Magazine and Sherlock Holmes: Two Fixed Points in a Changing Age – Robert Veld
I am admittedly not very interested in Arthur Conan Doyle.  But man, did this book keep me into a story where he obviously plays a large role.  This is a must have history for any Sherlockian who is interested in Holmes' impact on the wider world.

Baker Street and Beyond: Essays on Sherlock Holmes – Lord Donnegal
Much like Brenda Rossini's book above, another great collection of essays.  I read this book in one sitting and would recommend it to anyone out there.

Sherlock Holmes in America – Bill Blackbeard
An interesting history of how Sherlock Holmes has been received and depicted in America.  With pastiches, scholarship, scripts and LOTS of pictures, it was a fun read.

A Sherlock Holmes Compendium – Peter Haining
Much like Sherlock Holmes in America, this is an overview of Holmes in popular culture, but it doesn't limit itself to the US.

Sherlock Holmes and Music – Guy Warrack
I picked this up because it was on the Shaw 100.  I'm not a musicologist, so a lot of this went over my head.  But this slim volume is a quick read and you can tell that Warrack was very knowledgeable about his topic.

Scandinavia and Sherlock Holmes – Bjarne Nielsen
Oh Lord, I loved this book.  I bought a set of the BSI International Series earlier this year, and Scandinavia is the first one that I've read.  This sets the bar pretty high for great scholarship and I can't wait to get to the others in the set!

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