Sherlock Holmes is one of the most beloved characters in the British canon, and with countless adaptations and reimaginings, it was bound to spawn its own army of memes.
When Someone Tries to Talk to You Before 10AM
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It’s too early to be any kind of way, and that includes mad at you. Just look at that face! Get the man a cup of coffee. Of course, knowing him, he’s probably just thinking about cigarette ash or lock picking and barely heard, but I still think there’s a lot to relate to. I think most of us have been in a state at one point or another where someone was talking to us and we looked at them like this.
I’m Basically a Genius
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All the clues are there! Isn’t it more or less the stock and trade of the mystery genre to make you feel like you could figure out for yourself, and there’s no better feeling than actually being able to do it, whether you’re watching or reading Sherlock Holmes. I mean, the euphoria of finding out who committed crimes at the end is good, but not as good as figuring it out yourself.
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Look, I think he’s valid, sitting in ridiculous ways and wearing a house robe, I’m actually pretty jealous. I know he deals with like, murder, every single day, but I’d still trade with him if it meant living like this. Just doing drugs and solving crime. Alright, I’d probably only enjoy one of those things, but this ridiculous posture really does make him an icon.
He’s All of Us
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We’ve all been through some things, ok? I confess I don’t have an alphabetized list, but there’s a club you can join if you want. It’s like, ‘who hurt you?’ and I mean, almost everyone. Plus, it’s like, you’re talking to a detective. I’m not an expert, but I’m not sure any detective runs into new situations just super trusting and optimistic. Who does?
It’s So Obvious!
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Alright, minimal shade, but at least Blue’s Clues actually showed us all the clues. Maybe a lot of shade. Idk. I’m just saying, if we’re not shown the clues, how are we supposed to know if he’s smart? I mean, you can just tell us, but it’s not the same visceral understanding we’d get if we know everything Holmes does and can’t figure out a single thing for ourselves.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is a horrifying and hilarious masterpiece, and as with it’s author, every single thing about it is iconic. Sure, it might have been heavily redacted and then also banned, but there’s still a lot to unpack, and how better to explore gothic literature than through memes? You already know.
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This is when I admit that I never watched iCarly as a kid. Goodness only knows why, but I can see now that I really missed out. Still, the hilarity of trying to play off an ostrich needs no context, and recast as Dorian and his posse it’s a whole other level. Nothing’s up! Just being super normal over here, not selling my soul even a little. Anyone want a smoothie?
Show Your True Self
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I feel like this is a pretty modern take, actually. We’re the generation that can see a lizard just doing its thing and be like… “same, bro”. If someone had a horrifying portrait of themselves in their living room we’d think it was ironic or avant garde, or at least a big mood. What an eccentric he is! Plus, he might’ve shown a little more self control if he was looking at the consequences, even if he wasn’t wearing them.
Guess How He Looks Now
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I love how this trope started as clickbait and turned into a meme. Who cares about how child actors look now? Not me, and clearly not a lot of people, because it’s been eons since I saw a version of this that wasn’t a joke. Of course, this is a little funnier than the average fare, though. It actually manages to make me feel old, because I’m laughing at a Dorian Gray meme. No judgement. I’m just saying.
No Good Deed
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You think you know someone. You paint them, you have all this sexual tension, you grant them eternal life, and what do you get as thanks? Nothing good, I’ll tell you that. It’s just like the saying. I don’t really have an excuse for using a meme this out of vogue, except to say that I still think it’s funny. We may all be used to airpods now, but I still accidentally talk to people wearing them. Not usually to warn them of their impending murder, though.
Art is so Powerful
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Basil really does get the treatment usually reserved for women burned as witches. Sure, he can do something supernatural, maybe, but on it’s face, it’s only helping Dorian. Like, no one made him act like a careless lech or drink all that. If I had a portrait that granted me eternal life, I don’t know what I’d do, but not what Dorian did for sure. Basil was just trying to be, you know, a bro.
Whatever the case, you cannot deny theatre’s influence on our and other countries’ cultures, but sometimes, theatre could use a little push, and it’s just one of the many mediums that lit fiction latches onto in order to adapt into something that can really captivate an audience and be something truly memorable…
It’s important, especially in these turbulent times, to appreciate what makes each day special, and what better way to do that than through reading! We’ve rounded up five authors who invite a touch of magic into the everyday world. So read on! And invite a little magic into your day.
KERRY ANNE KING
Kerry Anne King is exactly the sort of writer who unleashes the extraordinary in the ordinary. Best known for her acclaimed novel Whisper Me This, which was an Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestseller, King is back with the life-affirming Everything You Are.
Barbara O’Neal, author of The Art of Inheriting, “loved every magical word,” of Everything You Are, while Terri-Lynne DeFino, author of The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and Their Muses) notes that “Love and sorrow, regret and hope are woven into every aspect of the story by music—not just any music, but the magical kind that leaves both creator and listener, for better or worse, irrevocably changed.”
“Kerry Anne King writes with such insight and compassion for human nature,” says Barbara Taylor Sissel, bestselling author of Crooked Little Lies, and she’s right!
So without further ado, check out the blurb for Everything You Are, and bring a little magic to your day, today!
One tragic twist of fate destroyed Braden Healey’s hands, his musical career, and his family. Now, unable to play, adrift in an alcoholic daze, and with only fragmented memories of his past, Braden wants desperately to escape the darkness of the last eleven years.
When his ex-wife and son are killed in a car accident, Braden returns home, hoping to forge a relationship with his troubled seventeen-year-old daughter, Allie. But how can he hope to rescue her from the curse that seems to shadow his family?
Ophelia “Phee” MacPhee, granddaughter of the eccentric old man who sold Braden his cello, believes the curse is real. She swore an oath to her dying grandfather that she would ensure Braden plays the cello as long as he lives. But he can’t play, and as the shadows deepen and Phee finds herself falling for Braden, she’ll do anything to save him. It will take a miracle of forgiveness and love to bring all three of them back to the healing power of music.
Don’t forget to enter our giveaway to win Everything you Are, an amazing pair of headphones and more magical prizes!
So, okay— Tana French may be best known for her Dublin Murder Squad series, and that may not sound too magical, or too ‘everyday’, for that matter. However, while the wider DMS series is about detectives solving murders, each book is about something more than that. I want to talk specifically about her novel The Secret Place, which is the fifth DMS novel, but focusses heavily on a group of teenage girls who are potentially involved in the murder of a boy on the grounds of their boarding school. The girls have a strangely supernatural bond, one the hardened detectives haven’t seen before, and the tender and raw exploration of this magic and the girls’ relationships with each other, is wonderfully woven together with all the page-turning suspense of a good murder mystery.
Not all of French’s books contain magical elements, but the ones that do are imbued with an extra spark that will hook you from the start.
Check out the blurb of The Secret Place and get excited!
The photo shows a boy who was murdered a year ago.
The caption says, ‘I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM’.
Detective Stephen Moran hasn’t seen Holly Mackey since she was a nine-year-old witness to the events of Faithful Place. Now she’s sixteen and she’s shown up outside his squad room, with a photograph and a story.
Even in her exclusive boarding school, in the graceful golden world that Stephen has always longed for, bad things happen and people have secrets. The previous year, Christopher Harper, from the neighbouring boys’ school, was found murdered on the grounds. And today, in the Secret Place – the school noticeboard where girls can pin up their secrets anonymously – Holly found the card.
Solving this case could take Stephen onto the Murder squad. But to get it solved, he will have to work with Detective Antoinette Conway – tough, prickly, an outsider, everything Stephen doesn’t want in a partner. And he will have to find a way into the strange, charged, mysterious world that Holly and her three closest friends inhabit and disentangle the truth from their knot of secrets, even as he starts to suspect that the truth might be something he doesn’t want to hear.
If you read Angela Carter’s feminist reimaginings of fairytales, The Bloody Chamber for school, then you’ll know that the 80s surrealist and feminist writer took a vivid delight in imbuing the everyday with a twisted magic all of her own. When I first read her novel The Magic Toyshop at sixteen, I nearly lost my mind I was so excited by her strange descriptions of a girl climbing an apple tree at night in her mother’s wedding dress, of her uncle’s toyshop, her mute aunt, the lifesize chess set and the giant swan puppet… Throughout the book, nothing distinctly magical happens, everything is possible, but so fascinating, imaginative and unlikely as to add up to much the same thing as magic.
Her novel Nights at the Circus is also one of my favorites, following a journalist who goes on tour with a traveling circus, the star of which is a supposedly winged woman, Fevvers, who alleges she is half swan.
Here’s the blurb for The Magic Toyshop!
One night Melanie walks through the garden in her mother’s wedding dress. The next morning her world is shattered. Forced to leave the home of her childhood, she is sent to live with relatives she has never met: gentle Aunt Margaret, mute since her wedding day; and her brothers, Francie and Finn. Brooding over all is Uncle Philip, who loves only the toys he makes in his workshop: clockwork roses and puppets that are life-size – and uncannily life-like.
A woman and her little girl move to a French village and open an intoxicating chocolate shop which causes a stir in the village. Vianne’s mysterious arrival and the effect of the chocolate on the villagers are both imbued with an undefined magic that intrigues and delights.
Chances are, you’ve seen the Oscar-nominated movie starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, but did you know the story continues in three more books featuring Vianne and her chocolate? Lollipop Shoes,Peaches for Monsieur le Cure, and The Strawberry Thief are all part of Harris’s gorgeous series that brings so much good and lighthearted magic to the everyday!
Check out the blurb for Chocolat!
When a mysterious stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet with her daughter and opens an exotic chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud denounces her as a serious moral danger to his flock – especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial.
As passions flare and the conflict escalates, the whole community takes sides. Can the solemnity of the Church compare with the sinful pleasure of a chocolate truffle?
Chocolat was Joanne Harris’ first book about Vianne Rocher,and was turned into a popular Oscar-nominated film with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. The story of Vianne and her daughters was continued in Lollipop Shoes, and then in Peaches for Monsieur le Cure, and now in her new novel, The Strawberry Thief.
Alice Hoffman is probably best known for her novel Practical Magic which was adapted for the big screen, starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, but pretty much all her books, from old works like Property Of, to her latest novel, The World That We Knew, have magic woven into them. In their starred review of The World That We Knew, a holocaust novel featuring threads of magic realism, Booklist calls it “An exceptionally voiced tale of deepest love and loss…one of [Hoffman’s] finest. WWII fiction has glutted the market, but Hoffman’s unique brand of magical realism and the beautiful, tender yet devastating way she explores her subject make this a standout.”
Inspired by a true story told to Hoffman by a fan at a book signing, The World That We Knew explores the ‘hidden children,’ Jewish children sent to live with non-Jewish families to keep them hidden from Nazis during World War II.
In 1941, during humanity’s darkest hour, three unforgettable young women must act with courage and love to survive, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites Alice Hoffman.
In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.
Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she’s destined to be.
What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.
Readers love to daydream about being whisked away to their favorite fictional worlds. But we also want to meet our favorite characters; to ask them questions about their lives, to become part of their world, to know them on a personal level. Such passion has led many a reader to what we might call a “character obsession” in which you relate so heavily to or love a character so much that they feel more real than some of the people you might know in real life.
So why do we relate so heavily to fictional characters, and why do we obsess over them and daydream about them?
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We relate to them, and we want them to relate to us
The reason why urban fantasy is so popular is in part because it’s set in an urban setting like the ones we know. Urban fantasy is immediately relatable with the main characters living ordinary lives and dreaming about something more, just like all of us. But then, the unthinkable—something magical happens in their lives and they get the life we’ve always dreamed of. Suddenly they’re learning magic or venturing out on a dangerous space mission, and if we hope and think hard enough, maybe we’ll get there too.
image by laura grace weldon
It’s an escape
On that note, when you’re reading a book, you want your favorite characters to win. You root for their success and when they do defeat the villain, that feels like a win for you, too, no matter what successes and failures you may be experiencing in real life. Not to mention the immersive settings of fantasy and science fiction books. Sure, fictional characters face their own challenges, but wouldn’t you much rather worry about defeating Voldemort than rent increasing? Fiction allows us to explore new ideas, settings, and even live alternate lives.
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They become like friends
If you spend enough time with someone, you know enough about them to call them your friend. You can recite funny things they’ve said, their favorite foods, and you know about their family. Every minute we spend reading a page is a few minutes with a friend, and we know everything about our fictional characters, too. That’s why we wear their quotes on T-shirts and jacket pins, and why we share their interests. If they were real, they really would be our friends.
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Fiction increases empathy
Did you know that reading books increases empathy and social intelligence? If you can see a plot playing out in your mind while you read, you’re probably empathizing with your favorite characters, so you feel like you’re right there with them. When we read, we literally have to think from someone else’s perspective. We see what they see and feel what they feel. If you’ve ever felt like someone was stabbing you in the heart when your favorite character died, you know what I mean.