I read this for the first time around 7th or 8th grade, and remember enjoying it even if I didn't appreciate it quite as much at the(Re-read 7/29/08)
I read this for the first time around 7th or 8th grade, and remember enjoying it even if I didn't appreciate it quite as much at the time. I think Meyer does a brilliant job in expanding on the canonical Holmes in a way that is not only plausible in context but psychologically intriguing, as well as a great deal of fun. I will say that the train chase verges on overmuch (it would do well in a movie but, in print, was almost too much to take in). But as for Freud--I will merely grin and say, well, why not?
Having re-read this makes me realize that Laurie R. King likely nods in passing to Meyer throughout the Mary Russell series. Especially in A Monstrous Regiment of Women.
(As an aside: Nicholas Meyer wrote the screenplay for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He also, if I remember correctly, had at least a part in writing Star Trek VI.)
I read this the same summer I read An Arrow Pointing to Heaven, a biography of Rich Mullins that made me curious to learn more about St. Francis of AsI read this the same summer I read An Arrow Pointing to Heaven, a biography of Rich Mullins that made me curious to learn more about St. Francis of Assisi, who had so profoundly influenced him.
A favorite part: But what in the world did Francis have to fear? Without a word he tore off his clothes in hot haste and threw them, one item after another, at his father's feet--everything including his breeches, and, to top it off, the damned purse that he had simply brought with him, hidden in one of his pockets. Now he was as naked as on the day he was born. Naked today for his second birth.
(See my review for book 3, A Letter of Mary....the thoughts below pick up where it leaves off)
...Along the same lines, one thing that surprises me in(See my review for book 3, A Letter of Mary....the thoughts below pick up where it leaves off)
...Along the same lines, one thing that surprises me in this book is that Russell complains that the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould's treatment of theology is haphazard--yet doesn't seem to realize that he's not merely evaluating theology, he's doing it. (Which means that as a scholar herself she needs to be evaluating what he's doing on its own terms.) Again--deliberate on King's part, or a flaw in her ability to portray this particular character?
(On a similar note, because the pet peeve fits well here: Russell at one point complains that Sunday is the day that the Christians "mistakenly call the Sabbath." However...it is the Christian Sabbath. And there are a number of distinctly Christian reasons why it is so. Therefore, for Christians to call it their Sabbath is not a mistake. Russell could get away with this remark if she were merely Jewish, but she's a scholar of theology who appears to focus a great deal on Christian history and interpretation at Oxford. Was she simply being irritable, or surprisingly unthoughtful?)
Yes, I nitpick because I love this series and read it over and over. Even the books I like less, I still enjoy. So I can complain if I like.
But here's a neat little ironic historical tie-in and one of the reasons I love and enjoy Laurie R. King's work so much. (I like layers. Complex ones.) Why write Sherlock Holmes into the life of the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould? According to the Wikipedia entry on Sabine Baring Gould, one of Baring-Gould's grandsons, William Stuart Baring Gould, was "a noted Sherlock Holmes scholar who wrote a fictional biography of the great detective—in which, to make up for the lack of information about Holmes's early life, he based his account on the childhood of Sabine Baring-Gould." Laurie R. King, in turn, cheekily writes a fictional biography of S. Baring-Gould in which the great detective not only appears, but is supplied with a childhood--at least in part--in the revelation that the Reverend Baring-Gould is Sherlock Holmes' godfather. And thus the line between fiction and reality doubles over and blurs still more...
As Russell observes in her preface to The Beekeeper's Apprentice, "I do not remember when I first realised that the flesh-and-blood Sherlock Holmes I knew so well was to the rest of the world merely a figment of an out-of-work medical doctor's powerful imagination. What I do remember is how the realisation took my breath away, and how for several days my own self-awareness became slightly detached, tenuous, as if I too were in the process of transmuting into fiction, by contagion with Holmes."
See my review on The Hot Zone. Again, my 2-star review is more about what I find enjoyable to read in my spare time, not because this was particularlySee my review on The Hot Zone. Again, my 2-star review is more about what I find enjoyable to read in my spare time, not because this was particularly poorly written or uninteresting. I had to read this for my ninth-grade biology class. The first character you're introduced to, an infected teenage girl, goes into brutal seizures and dies barely five pages into the book...
Again, not my cup of tea, thanks. I think I'm going to go wash my hands now. ...more
Does this classify as science fiction? Regardless, not really my cup of tea....too many gross getting-infected-and-dying-horribly scenes.
Oh, it's a tDoes this classify as science fiction? Regardless, not really my cup of tea....too many gross getting-infected-and-dying-horribly scenes.
Oh, it's a true story? Even worse. No thank you. But the 2-star rating isn't a reflection on the writing or the concept--just on what I personally find enjoyable for reading in my spare time. I actually really enjoy more clinical, detached work about biology, germs and culture--I've gone through phases of being interested in the Black Plague, and I like forensic science--but stylistically, I guess, I prefer works written more in the vein of popular history or investigative non-fiction than of epidemiological thriller.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoA classic favorite quote:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." ---from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens...more
"Among many morals which press upon us from the poor minister's miserable experience, we put only this into a sentence: — 'Be true! BA favorite quote:
"Among many morals which press upon us from the poor minister's miserable experience, we put only this into a sentence: — 'Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred!'"...more
"But the pleasure he must be content only to remember?"
"That is like saying 'My food I must be content to eat.'" "I do not understand.A favorite quote:
"But the pleasure he must be content only to remember?"
"That is like saying 'My food I must be content to eat.'" "I do not understand."
"A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered. You are speaking, Hman, as if the pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing....What you call remembering is the last part of the pleasure, as the crah is the last part of a poem. When you and I met, the meeting was over very shortly, it was nothing. Now it is growing something as I remember it. But we still know very little about it. What it will be when I remember it as I lie down to die, what it makes in me all my days till then---that is the real meeting. The other is only the beginning of it. You say you have poets in your world. Do they not teach you this?"
----from Chapter 12 of Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis...more