Tag Archive: The House of Silk


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! 🙂

January Wrap-Up & February Plans

I say this every month without fail, but January 2013 has flown by!  It was Christmas and suddenly it’s now February!  Well anyway, January was quite a busy month for me, as I had 5 exams which (mostly) went well thank goodness…I get the results in March!  Also, there was all sorts of crazy weather including a large dumping of snow which shut school…except I had to go in anyway for an exam! :O  I’m sure February will prove to be just as crazy and busy, as I am off to Uganda for 8 days next Sunday!  It is going to be an amazing and eye-opening experience for definite but also a 9 hour plane journey seems like prime reading time!

Here’s what I read in January 2013:

Villette – Charlotte Brontë

The House of Silk – Anthony Horowitz

The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

This is good as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This is more than I read in December, which is good.  My aim of 1200 pages a month was fulfilled as I read 1340 pages.
For the first 3 weeks of January I had no problems keeping up my 30 minutes reading a day, despite my exams, but as soon as I started Pride and Prejudice, I couldn’t maintain this – I just can’t really get into it!
I need to read a science book next month to keep up with my target of at least one science book every two months.
I definitely fulfilled my at least one classic a month target as I read two – The Hobbit and Villette.
Lastly, I try to stay an active blogger and I have worked on this – commenting more and when not commenting still reading posts.  I also came across quite a few new blogs due to The Classics Club Readathon.

So as you can see, I have met pretty much all of my targets for January 2013, so hopefully I can keep it up in February.

Challenge Progress in January 2013:

The Classics Club :  10/60 books read  (2 this month: Villette & The Hobbit )

The Literary Classics Reading Challenge: 6/15 (Villette) (This challenge has been discontinued but it does no harm to keep track anyway!)

I have some more classics to add to my Classics Club list and I really need to do this before Uganda – I hope I have time!

Currently In Progress:

At the moment, I am reading Pride and Prejudice but it is taking me FOR EVER!  I think this is because I haven’t really had the time to dedicate to it that it deserves and the days have just slipped by.  I am really hoping to finish it before Uganda.

February Plans:

Books: The next three books on my TBR shelf are Middlemarch still, Richard III and Le Petit Nicholas.  I am leaving Middlemarch, but I am taking Richard III, The Host and Big Bang (Simon Singh) to Uganda with me so I have some varied reading.

Challenges:  When I do my Classics Club review, Richard III will count towards that and the next classic I plan for after that will probably be 1984 (a re-read).

Yes my reading has been a bit sparse over the last week or so, but the rest of January was really good for me, especially as I loved The Hobbit so much.  I hope you all discover some new favourites in February like I did in January. 🙂

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.

2012 Wrap-Up & 2013 Plans

Well what an amazing year 2012 has been, both in terms of reading and non-reading.  Back in January and February, I was inspired to start my own book blog and I officially began in March 2012.  Since then, I have (pretty much) kept this blog going even when I was very busy/not reading much, which I am proud of.  I enjoyed holidays to Vienna, Majorca and of course the amazing Olympics.  There was the French Open, Wimbledon, Euro 2012 along with the US Open which was definitely my favourite sporting event (aside from the Olympics) as Andy Murray finally won and Laura Robson exploded onto the professional women’s tennis scene.  My exams and all the hard work really paid off when I got my results at the end of August and I have embraced sixth form life since I began in September as well.  The Classics Club started and has grown massively and the book-blogosphere has continued to expand.

What a load of great things; 2013 has a lot to live up to!

I have several reading goals for 2013:

  • 1: Better my 2012 books total.  I read 34 books in 2012 so that means I need to read at least 3 books a month to better it.  Ideally I would like to read 4 books a month, but that is not always possible, especially as many of the books I read are quite long and take me a while!
  • 2: Better my 2012 pages total.  I read 14070 pages in 2012 so that means I need to read an average of 1173 pages a month to better.  Maybe I should aim for at least 1200 pages a month to make it a nice round easy target…
  • 3: Spend at least 30 minutes a day reading.  Now this may seem quite a small amount, but during busy school time 30 minutes is very long!  I want this to be 30 straight minutes with no checking the internet, watching TV etc at the same time.
  • 4: Keep up my science reading.  I get some science magazines through school, which I don’t blog about, but I have decided to try and read at least 1 science book every 2 months.  Hopefully this target won’t be that hard to meet.
  • 5: Keep up my classics reading.  I have been pretty good this year about sticking to this (8 classics in 10 months) but I want to make sure I still read at least one classic every month, even though I know this can be hard with classics being so long and taking much longer than ‘normal’ books to read.  Also, I need to do a Classics Club review very soon where I add some more titles to my list!
  • 5: Stay an active blogger.  By this I mean post about almost every book I read; continue to read other blogs; participate in challenges and events; reply to comments and comment myself.  My main blogging goal however is to read some new blogs, as there are so many people signed up to The Classics Club now and I very rarely end up reading posts by people I don’t know!

I hope you agree with my goals (feel free to suggest more or prompt if you feel I am not fulfilling them)!  I will probably look back over them as I do my monthly wrap-ups and hopefully I will find that I am sticking to them.

Classics Club Readathon January 2013

The next thing I need to talk about is the first Classics Club Readathon which is taking place this weekend.  For us in the UK it is actually from 1.00 pm on Saturday to 1.00 pm on Sunday, but I am probably going to be reading on off all weekend as much as possible, as I am pretty busy with revision and other things at the moment!  I really hope you can join us, as a whole load of bloggers all reading together at the same time is a pretty amazing experience.  It’s times like these that we have to appreciate the internet and the international connections it allows us to make!

I think I will still chug away with Villette for the readathon, as I never really enjoy having more than one book on the go at once!  I have been reading Villette since mid-December and I am about 2/3 of the way through.  I would really like to get as much read as possible before I go back to school on Monday!
After Villette, I have planned The Hobbit, The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz and Pride and Prejudice for January.  I feel this may be slightly ambitious if I don’t rush through all of these, but I can still hope!  In December I only read 2 books and no classics, so I need to up my game if I am to stick to all my new goals!

I really hope you all have a great 2013 that is full of books and reading and feel free to link up your yearly wrap-up or 2013 goals posts in the comments here, as I would love to see what you have got planned, especially if you are reading this and you don’t think I have come across your blog yet!

Yes, I realise that it is already the 9th of December (how did this happen?!) but I have only just now had time to wrap up for November!  Of course, I am very busy at the moment and will only get busier, but nevertheless, I read 3 books in November.

Here’s what I read in November 2012:

E = mc² – David Bodanis

Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

The Visible World – Mark Slouka

This is good as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This is the same name number as I read in October.  It is a bit of a mix with a science book, an absolute favourite and a let down!  However, my target of at least one classic every month was not fulfilled in November.

Challenge Progress in November 2012:

The Classics Club :  8/60 books read  (None this month)

The Victorian Challenge 2012:  4/6 books read  (None this month)

The Literary Classics Reading Challenge: 6/15 (None this month)

Still need to read Middlemarch and Villette for The Victorian Challenge but I think Villette alone will be enough of a challenge!

Currently In Progress:

Currently in progress is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams, which technically I haven’t read before, but I have listened to all of the radio series countless times so it is kind of a re-read I guess. I also have lots of science magazines on the go.

December Plans:

Books: The next three books on my TBR shelf are Middlemarch still, Villette by Charlotte Brontë and The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz.  I have already mentioned I am leaving Middlemarch until I can focus on it, but I do hope to get to Villette.  I did want to read Pride and Prejudice this Christmas as well…this may become an early January read.

Challenges:  If I do get round to Villette, it would both count towards all 3 challenges.  Pride and Prejudice would count towards two (not Victorian) and I hope to read at least one of these two books.

I am actually reading every day, but when you are busy it is hard to read more than a few pages – you don’t have time for more!  I am really hoping that I can do my usual balancing of revision and reading in the Christmas holidays this year, as I have exams (again) in January.