You know the name. Sherlock Holmes is a pop culture icon, someone who everyone knows even if they haven’t read his books, seen his movies, or watched his numerous tv shows. He’s a focal point of British history and literature, having influenced dozens of fictional and even real detectives throughout his literary life. On this day (Oct. 14th), one of the seminal Holmes collections was published, entitled The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of twelve short stories.
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First featured in The Strand magazine, the stories were very popular and boosted the subscriptions to the magazine, allowing Sherlock Holme’s author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to demand increased payment with each story published. Sidney Paget illustrated all twelve of the stories that came to be featured in the Adventures collection, in time coming to best known for his artwork accompanying the series. The collection includes numerous famous Sherlock Holmes tales, such as A Case of Identity, The Red-Headed League, The Adventure with the Speckled Band, and A Scandal in Bohemia. The last one was especially notable for featuring the character of Irene Adler, who although only made on appearance in the Holmes canon nevertheless became a feature of numerous adaptations, such as the BBC show Sherlockstarring Benedict Cumberbatch.
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The stories were well received upon their serialization, with critics describing them holding a ‘unique power’ and some even saying Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the best short story writer since Edgar Allen Poe. The stories themselves had been adapted frequently in other media, with many of the stories being featured in the Granda Television adaptation of the Holmes canon, which ran from 1984 to 1995. They were also adapted on the BBC Radio 4 program, which ran from 1990 to 1991. Elements, such as the previously noted Irene Adler, have of course being taken out and used as an overall influenced over numerous Holmes adaptations as well without specifically adapting a single story.
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Happy birthday to this seminal collection of Sherlock Holmes tales! Crack open your volume if you own one and give these stories another read together. What’s your favorite short story featured here? Tell us in the comments!
I’m an avid reader, and the only time I read is when I take the train. I live in New York, so the train is like my mobile home, and finishing books is not an issue for me. As for my real house, my bedroom… you could say that it’s slowly becoming the book haven of my dreams—like the kind that has a bed, drawers, clothes, and essentials for every day, while I pick one book at a time from my stack of books. I say a stack of books rather than a shelf full of books because I, unfortunately, have not yet acquired a bookshelf, but it is becoming more and more of a priority. Out of necessity. The mountain of books is getting higher and higher to the point that it’s now just a centimeter away from touching my ceiling.
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And yet, I cannot help but to buy more books. My unexpected book trips to Barnes and Noble tell my wallet no but my heart yes. (That’s what the New York Public Library is for although I prefer buying.) As the typical millennial that I am, I order mostly online on Amazon. I love watching my stack of books grow like I am watering a plant as it blooms to a tall flower, and you cannot help but think sometimes you might have to cut some of the vines to make some room.
At times, I do get frustrated when I don’t have space in my bedroom for my bag, my makeup box, or other personal belongings. I made a self-compromising decision that I would place all these items in the living room instead. It’s not the most terrible thing in the world, of course, yet I couldn’t help but question just how far am I willing to go to buy and collect more books. I know what you must be thinking: “stop buying books then? or give some of the books you read or don’t want anymore to someone who will appreciate it more?” I would argue that a real book lover would not give up their books that easily, regardless of their feelings towards even the books they’ve left untouched—people’s taste in literature changes over time, and I don’t want any book among my collection to be the ‘one that got away.’
image via independent.co.uk (photo: Poetry is good for the soul ( iStock )
I’ve read about half the books in my collection. A lot of these books like White Teeth, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, In Cold Blood and many others are from back in my English major days. I never liked to rent books because I see books as something that is not for borrowing, not something you can put a deadline on. Stories, works of fiction, poetry, are captured in a place of timelessness—and reading a book is what you put into it. Getting the full experience and to truly appreciate the book means not having to worry about time waiting by the door, fumbling its fingers with impatience. That is also why I cannot rent books at the library, but I still support them with donations, and you should too!
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When family, friends, or boyfriends come into my room, the first point of eye contact is my books, looking down at us, questioning us if we would like to read one of them. Some of my loved ones challenge me as to why I keep the books I read or unread, or books I just completely lost interest in. I wouldn’t say I am a complete monster. I let people borrow my books; HOWEVER, I need a guaranteed return. I know all of a sudden I sound like a librarian, but I won’t charge late fees. Of course, I will send receipts of the promises you made that you would return them, like text messages, emails, all that good stuff. Now the most important questions of all, do I want to be a book hoarder? No, I don’t, and then people ask, what’s the point of keeping the books since spring cleaning is right around the corner? Why not make room for things that are possibly a bit more important?
image via nowtoronto.com (photo: tanja tiziana)
I hope it doesn’t sound crazy to say that I am enjoying this problem. I enjoy it because I don’t have to solve it, and it’s not a problem, at least for me. The way I see it, when you finish reading a book, you can’t help but have this feeling of a sense of accomplishment, regardless if you enjoyed the story or not. It feels fantastic to finish a book because of your commitment, consistency, persistence, and dedication, all realized. It’s not like writing where you have something to show what you did; you can only talk about it. But if you keep a collection of books and share your gallery of works, written by your favorite authors, in whom you have invested time—then that becomes your published work. It’s also important to note how seeing a small mountain of books can strike inspiration for people to become better readers or writers. My nine-year-old niece (a notorious non-reader) saw how protective of my small book fortress I am and FINALLY changed her perspective. Now, she’s obsessed with the Captain Underpants series and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. My books are not her taste (as she is, as we established, nine), but I think my books are like the fine wine that I love to sip while reading them.
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I know I may be Marie Kondo’s nightmare, but that’s okay, as long as I am living my dream. Inside The Bell Jar of my world, and book in hand, I will continue to live my best life.