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Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Book Talk: In defense of Doyle

Many have compared the two volumes of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in terms of quality and singularity. I have read comments stating that its second collection ─ two novels (The Hound of Baskervilles and The Valley of Fear) and two short story collections (His Last Bow and The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes) ─ fell deeply short of people’s expectations.

But, I would like to set one thing straight. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has had enough of Sherlock Holmes by 1893. When he wrote “The Final Problem,” Doyle was resolved to kill Sherlock despite the growing demand for his brilliant and remarkable hero.

Why? I see two reasons: first, it was to save himself; second, it was to save Sherlock Holmes.

Doyle did not see himself as a writer in a box. Although the adventures of his Baker Street duo greatly appealed to readers, he continued to explore other genres including fantasy, poetry and historical fiction. Killing off Sherlock had the purest intention, but it unfortunately received the worst reaction. The people of London were utterly disappointed and mad. It took Doyle eight years to give in to their pressures and release The Hound of Baskervilles in 1901 which is the first novel in Volume II.

Doyle knew that the quality of Sherlock’s adventure stories would inevitably decline. Each case required an intricate plot and, in turn, meant a lot of mental work for the writer. Additionally, the public’s demands and his publisher’s deadlines did not make it easier. This is why I empathize with Doyle. He wanted to preserve the greatness of Sherlock Holmes without the influence of fandom.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Volume II revived Sherlock in print, yet some people would say that it did not carry the same fire. Maybe, maybe not. But one thing’s for sure, kudos to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for writing such superb work.

Book Talk: Stuck in the mood

a girl wearing yellow sitting on a bench with a Sherlock Holmes book

In the past few months, I gave you a rough sketch of who I am as a reader. I talked about having to choose between a book versus its movie adaptation, being emotionally/mentally unprepared for a read, going out of my comfort zone, hoarding books, and dealing with my bookish pet peeves and fetish.

This time, I would like to share with you the biggest bane and boon of my reading life. My moods.

Most of us, if not all, go through this kind of dilemma. There are days when it gets frustrating to pick a book to read, especially when it’s hard to pinpoint what you’re in the mood for. Some days, you try and give it a few pages, yet halfway through, you’re like “Nope. Not this one. Abandon ship.” Even those copies that you’ve been so excited to get your hands on feel distant now.

So you wait until you feel that pull to read again.

Last November, I promised myself that I will not be spending any more money on books until the end of 2020. That I will continue ticking off my TBR list instead. So far, I have not given to temptation ─ but, problem is, I have not read any book either.

All my moods seem to be in perfect unison and point me to one man and one man alone: Sherlock Holmes. The well-loved Victorian detective in the literary world. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s infamous antihero with an impressive knack for solving cases in a strange and singular manner. And the only high-functioning sociopath I am most in love with (Sorry, Sheldon. It’s not you, it’s physics.)

I have read the anthology of stories, watched all versions of film adaptations and, just this month, listened to all audiobooks I could find in the public domain. If only I have my book with me, I would re-read all 700 pages once more.

Oh, I am SHERLOCKED again. What do you do with such a mood?

Wrap-Up | November 2020

Monthly Blog Update

So, we are down to final month of this challenging year. I know it has been hard all of us but I hope everyone is safe, sound and thriving.

November — the month that was. It’s when half of the world transitions from autumn to winter. It’s when dead souls are honored and bounties are celebrated. It’s when creatives around the world try their hands at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

I guess for me it would be “Nah, no writing November.” Anyhow, here’s a quick wrap-up.

Things I’ve written…

Continuing my #throwbackpoems, I have shared two from IG this month: Two Ghosts and Her name spells resilience. November 11 also marks Fyodor Dostoevsky’s birthday who would be 199 years old had he lived today. To commemorate, I shared Writer’s Quote Wednesday – On knowing, thinking and doing.

Books I’ve read…

My book collection is still continuously growing — all thanks to online resellers and Booksale. And despite the rise of scammers online, I was lucky enough to transact with kind and honest people who helped me find the books in my TLF (to look for) list. For this month, these are the gems that I got:

  • The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe (Php180 @a_bookworms_closet)
  • Famous Tales of Mystery and Horror by Edgar Allan Poe (Php150 @a_bookworms_closet)
  • Isle of Dogs by Patricia Cornwell (Php25 @Robinsons)
  • Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes (Php44 @Robinsons)
  • Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (Php125 @Robinsons)
  • After Nature by Purdy (Php39 @Robinsons)
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau (Php100 @mgaaklatnitanna)
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (Php125 @mgaaklatnianna)
  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (Php85 @mimilybluebooks)
  • Politically Correct Guide to the Bible (Php75 @mimilybluebooks)

For some bookish thoughts, I have written Book Talk: Books or movies? A reader’s dilemma. and
Quick Notes: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Meanwhile, I kept getting sidetracked in between reading with all the chaos brought by typhoons, work and politics. I was able to finish two books though: Letters To My Son by Kent Werburn and Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

A big shoutout as well to LibriVox for their free public domain audiobooks. I was able to revisit once again the good ol’ favorite, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes this month.

Places I’ve been…

My SMS friends and I got a chance to catch up and hike the Spartan Trail for the first time after lockdown. The heavy rains weeks before brought the trail to life. The riverbed was filled with water, the leaves were greener, the wind was cooler — it was the lovely day indeed to convene with nature. I went back to Spartan Trail on the third week of November, this time with James and his colleagues.

Posts I loved…

My virtual presence during this month was faint. I didn’t get a chance to read other people’s posts or interesting reads from the likes of Brainpickings/Medium. Let’s strive to do better this December, shall we? 😀

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Karma in the words of Holmes

Featured quote for Writer's Quote Wednesday

“Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another.”

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle’s collection of 12 short stories, was first published on this day (October 14) in 1892. Here’s one of my favorite lines from one of Holmes’ locked room mystery, Adventure of the Speckled Band.

Do you believe in karma (good or bad)? Have you experienced one?

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