Tag Archive: Conan Doyle


The Classics Club Spin #3

The Classics Club Spin

It’s that time again where we all list 20 books on our blog and a random number is chosen and we have to read the corresponding book over the next couple of months.  Last time, I read Rebecca which I really enjoyed, so hopefully this time I will be just as impressed by whichever book comes up!

Here is my list:

5 books I am really looking forward to:
1. Othello – William Shakespeare
2. Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers – J.R.R. Tolkien
3. The Comedy of Errors – William Shakespeare
4. The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
5. The Cranford Chronicles – Elizabeth Gaskell

5 books on my TBR shelf:
6. Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
7. Suite Francaise – Irène Némirovsky
8. The Mill on the Floss – George Eliot
9. The Warden – Anthony Trollope
10. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift

5 books I don’t own yet:
11. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
12. Nicholas Nickleby – Charles Dickens
13. If This is a Man – Primo Levi
14. Night – Elie Wiesel
15. Conference at Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

5 books I am slightly (!) apprehensive about:
16. Dombey and Son – Charles Dickens
17. Agnes Grey – Anne Brontë
18. A Chocolate Orange – Anthony Burgess
19. Middlemarch – George Eliot
20. Atonement – Ian McEwan

As you may well have noticed, it is rather late in May to be doing a wrap-up of April and planning my reading for May!  However, I have been crazy busy recently: in April we had Ugandan guests staying with us (they loved England, especially London!), I was also applying to be Head Boy of my school (I got it!!) and over the past week or two, I have been doing exams and obviously revision has taken priority over reading.  I have done my mechanics and further maths exams, leaving French, chemistry, physics and pure maths but now that I am on study leave (begins tomorrow) I should have more time to juggle.
Anyway, I thought I would post even if I don’t really have much to say about reading!

Here’s what I read in April 2013:

The Two Gentlemen of Verona – William Shakespeare

Le Petit Nicholas – Sempé-Goscinny

This is not very good as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This is half of what I read in February so I have definitely had a poor month!  My aim of 1200 pages a month was definitely not fulfilled, as I read a mere 318 pages which is miles off 1200!
I definitely did not do 30 minutes reading a day, but never mind!
I did not read at least one science book every two months but again never mind.
I actually did manage to fulfil my at least one classic a month target with The Two Gentlemen of Verona!
Lastly, I try to stay an active blogger and this was poor too – when I have more time I really hope to get back into the book blogging world.

Challenge Progress in April 2013:

The Classics Club :  14/60 books read  (1 this month: The Two Gentlemen of Verona )

At the moment this is my only challenge for 2013 – maybe I will formalise some of my own yearly reading goals into a challenge.

Currently In Progress:

At the moment, I have just finished The Code Book by Simon Singh and I am a few pages into my reread of 1984.

May Plans:

Books: Well we are already over half way through May but what the hell! The next three books on my TBR shelf are The Help, Rebecca and Suite Francaise but I can’t see myself reaching these before June.

Challenges:  If I finished 1984, then it will count towards The Classics Club.

Good luck to anyone else who is linked directly or indirectly to the exam season, I wish you all the best.  Everyone else, I hope you are well too and can forgive me for being very silent recently!

The Classics Club Spin

I thought I may as well combine these two posts (as the deadline is tomorrow…) so here is my spin list for The Classics Club.  We list 20 books from our original list in whichever categories we chose and then a random number is selected and we are challenged to read that book before the end of June (who knows if it will happen!)

Here is my list:

5 books I am really looking forward to:
1. Othello – William Shakespeare
2. Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R. Tolkien
3. The Comedy of Errors – William Shakespeare
4. The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
5. The Cranford Chronicles – Elizabeth Gaskell

5 books on my TBR shelf:
6. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
7. Suite Francaise – Irène Némirovsky
8. The Mill on the Floss – George Eliot
9. The Warden – Anthony Trollope
10. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift

5 books I don’t own yet:
11. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
12. Nicholas Nickleby – Charles Dickens
13. If This is a Man – Primo Levi
14. Night – Elie Wiesel
15. Conference at Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

5 books I am slightly (!) apprehensive about:
16. Dombey and Son – Charles Dickens
17. Agnes Grey – Anne Brontë
18. A Chocolate Orange – Anthony Burgess
19. Middlemarch – George Eliot
20. Atonement – Ian McEwan

March Wrap-Up & April Plans

Here we are in April yet it still feels like January!  I don’t understand why it is still so so cold here in the UK but I am just hoping it means and extra hot summer will follow… Anyway, March has been a relatively calm month for me apart from the usual business at school.  I got my results for my January exams and I was very relieved that all my hard work had paid off!  This two week Easter break has been very welcome and although it means starting revision for my next set of exams, it has given me some time to relax and read as well.

Here’s what I read in March 2013:

The Host – Stephenie Meyer

Big Bang – Simon Singh

The Hound of the Baskervilles – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Full Cupboard of Life – Alexander McCall Smith

This is really good as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This is much more than I read in February so I have made up for a weak month I guess.  My aim of 1200 pages a month was definitely fulfilled, as I read 1600 pages exactly.
I’m not too sure if I did 30 minutes reading a day, although I am sure I did at the start and the end of the month!  Overall, I think it probably averaged about 30 mins a day, so that’s good too.
Reading Big Bang mean I read at least one science book every two months but since I didn’t read any science books in January or February, I should really try and read another before the end of April.  Also, it is getting closer to the time I apply to university so I may have to double my science reading.
I also fulfilled my at least one classic a month target with The Hound of the Baskervilles!
Lastly, I try to stay an active blogger and this was medium – I am not getting a lot of traffic on my blog at the moment and I think it’s because I am not reading much of other peoples…I don’t really have that much time to discover new blogs but I do always read the posts of people I follow already.  Maybe in the summer when more people have more time to read we will all become a bit better and being active bloggers!

Challenge Progress in March 2013:

The Classics Club :  13/60 books read  (1 this month: The Hound of the Baskervilles )

At the moment this is my only challenge for 2013 – maybe I will formalise some of my own yearly reading goals into a challenge.

Currently In Progress:

At the moment, I am reading The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Le Petit Nicholas but I have only just started them both and I’m not really into them yet.

April Plans:

Books: The next three books on my TBR shelf are 1984, The Code Book – Simon Singh and Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier.  Both the books I am currently reading may take me a while and when I go back to school next week I will be very busy again so these may turn into plans for May!

Challenges:  If I do get to 1984, then it will count towards The Classics Club.

Hopefully, you are all relaxing and reading a bit over Easter and (if appropriate) finding time for religion/spirituality too.  I am sure you’re all looking forward to the sun and warmth of summer as much as I am (if it ever comes).

the-hound-of-the-baskervillesTitle: The Hound of the Baskervilles

Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Date Finished: 27/03/13

Re-Read? : First time read

Challenges? : Yes – The Classics Club & The Literary Classics

Overall: 4/5 – rather good

Sorry for the silence on the blog recently, I have been reading but I have been (as usual) very busy and although I finished Big Bang by Simon Singh, I didn’t post because I don’t normally write about science books on here.  Anyway, here I am finally on holiday (although revising of course) and I am ready to read!

As normal with Holmes stories, it took me a few days to get into this book, as the scene was set and the plot started to form but once I did I really enjoyed it.  It was interesting to compare this original Holmes writing with that of Horowitz in The House of Silk, which I read back in January.  I also loved reading the Vintage Classics edition (on the right).

The plot is so unique in this story – it really is unlike anything I have ever read before, even though it follows the usual Holmes structure.  I enjoyed the extended feel of the novel compared to the usual short stories that are over so quickly.  I thought the plot twists were quite ingenious whereas sometimes they have seemed a bit silly and contrived for me in the past.  When Holmes revealed himself I was totally surprised!

The characters are vivid as ever in this story – Holmes and Watson are up to their usual antics trying to sniff out a sinister plot but other characters leap out of the pages too, most notably the entomologist Stapleton and noble Sir Henry Baskerville.  I was pleased that there weren’t too many characters flying around to confuse me as sometimes happens.  It always seems slightly more insidious when there are only a few characters and we know one of them must be behind the whole thing.

The setting on the moors is ridiculously spooky so no wonder they are all terrified of this hound!  Dark, lonely, cold,  foggy…there is a lot of pathetic fallacy that helps darken the mood of the story.  I liked the style of writing a lot and I think that writing from the point of view of Dr Watson is one of the reasons why the Holmes stories have been so successful over time – we always feel very involved.

Overall, this was a great read that I would highly recommend, however, I think it is best to experience some of the Holmes short stories first, as there is very little explanation of his queer methods and characteristics.  Another title crossed off my Classics Club list too! 🙂

The House of Silk – Anthony Horowitz

The House of SilkTitle: The House of Silk

Author: Anthony Horowitz

Date Finished: 13/1/13

Re-Read? : First time read

Challenges? : No

Overall: 4/5 – rather good

I can’t claim to have read a huge amount of Sherlock Holmes stories – only a couple from the first two books and a few on audiobook, but nevertheless I really enjoy the stories and this book was great.

I didn’t know whether to expect a modern setting, such as the Sherlock TV program on BBC1 (which I very much enjoyed) or a Victorian setting like the original books.  It is written exactly like Conan-Doyle and I honestly wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between this and the originals.  (This is a good thing).

The plot is the stand-out point in this particular Holmes novel – really unlike any I’ve read before.  I loved the intertwining of the two different mysteries and there was plenty to keep me guessing all the way to the end, which is a very important thing in a detective story.

The reason I said that the plot is the stand-out and not the characters is only because we know the characters already!  All our usual friends are there: Holmes, Watson, Lestrade, Mrs Hudson etc.  Horowitz has done very well indeed to capture them all so accurately.  The new characters in this novel fit in well with the usual heroes and villains we are accustomed to in the Sherlock Holmes stories.

I do love the London setting and the diary style from the viewpoint of Watson.  This style is truly unique and is just another one of the things that make Sherlock Holmes novels so popular.  I feel inspired to read more of the stories, as I have barely made a dent in the massive selection that exist!  I will be reading The Hound of the Baskervilles soon for The Classics Club, but I definitely want to buy some of the other collections of stories and find a time to read them.

If you normally like Holmes novels then this is definitely another one to add to your list.  However, if you want to start reading the stories for the first time, I would recommend starting with the first collection and coming to this a bit later, as there isn’t much explanation of who people are etc.