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Group Read Discussions > The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10058 comments Mod
Hi everyone! It's the first of the month and that means it's time to start discussing our May "Short story" themed book!

May thanks to Heather L, who nominated the book and will be kicking the discussion off shortly!


message 2: by Heather L (last edited May 11, 2015 12:37PM) (new)

Heather L  (wordtrix) The most recognized detective in all of literature, Sherlock Holmes first appeared in A Study In Scarlet in 1887. His deductive reasoning, keen insight, skillful observations, and investigative tactics became the tools necessary to solve riveting and intriguing crimes that continue to delight generations of readers. Something I found interesting is that the book was banned in the Soviet Union in 1929 for its author's “occultism,” but the embargo was later lifted.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes includes the following twelve stories:

A Scandal in Bohemia
The Adventure of the Red-Headed League
A Case of Identity
The Boscombe Valley Mystery
The Five Orange Pips
The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
The Adventure of the Speckled Band
The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb
The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
The Adventure of the Copper Beeches



Don’t have it? You can pick up a free copy at any of the following online sources:

Amazon

B&N (Free at time of posting)

Project Gutenberg


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, #3) by Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, #3) by Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Great Illustrated Classics) by Malvina G. Vogel The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes  by Arthur Conan Doyle


message 3: by Heather L (new)

Heather L  (wordtrix) Has anyone read this book previously? Anyone reading it for the first time? I started reading it last week, and have finished the first six stories so far.


message 4: by Tina (new)

Tina | 143 comments I read these Sherlock stories way back when I was in high school. I am such a fan of the PBS TV series and now the newest take on CBS with a female Watson! I sampled several of the newer British updated Sherlock too, with Watson as ex-military. I wonder why the latest remakes have taken liberties with the Watson character?


message 5: by Pippin (new)

Pippin I went nuts with SH when I was in high school. I've read some of the stories to my kids over the years and we've seen some of the TV adaptations.
I'm curious what others think: Why is the Sherlock Holmes character so adaptable to various treatments? Tina mentions the modernized SHERLOCK series which is clever and the version with a female Watson. Those are just the latest incarnations. There have been radio dramas, movies, young Sherlock movie, cartoons, more movies with no relation to the original stories, plays, 'further adventures', etc. Why so much fuss over a fictional sleuth?


message 6: by Debbie (new)

Debbie I read most of these stories about five years ago. The stories were ok. Thought I'd enjoy them more then I did. Ended up donating the book. Since I can get a copy for free on Amazon I'll try reading them again. Maybe I'll enjoy them more the second time around.


message 7: by Ance (new)

Ance (ancexx) I first picked up some of the many Sherlock novels when I was about 12 years old. Back then I read it without much interest, did not finish and put it away.
When just a few days ago I opened this book... Oh gosh did it blew me away. I am roughly halfway through it and find it very entertaining. The character of Holmes, the setting, the cases, everything.
I may guess that it is the form that drew me in this time. I should've started with the stories back then, leaving all the novels for later. There is just a bit more tension in this shorter form, a bit more variety.

As to why current adaptations mess with Watson character so much, I might take a wild guess that the screenwriters find him not-so-interesting as he is. Which I don't quite understand. At some points he amazes me more than Sherlock himself.


message 8: by Heather L (new)

Heather L  (wordtrix) Tina wrote: "I read these Sherlock stories way back when I was in high school. I am such a fan of the PBS TV series and now the newest take on CBS with a female Watson! I sampled several of the newer British u..."

Hi Tina!

I haven't seen the PBS series, but am a fan of the CBS series, Elementary. I think their take on Watson and Irene Adler different and interesting.


message 9: by Heather L (new)

Heather L  (wordtrix) Pippin wrote: "I'm curious what others think: Why is the Sherlock Holmes character so adaptable to various treatments? Tina mentions the modernized SHERLOCK series which is clever and the version with a female Watson. Those are just the latest incarnations. There have been radio dramas, movies, young Sherlock movie, cartoons, more movies with no relation to the original stories, plays, 'further adventures', etc. Why so much fuss over a fictional sleuth?"


Some excellent questions, Pippin. There was an interesting documentary that aired on PBS in 2014 that might interest Sherlock fans and answer some of your questions. You can read about it here: How Sherlock Changed the World.

Whether you read about or watch the documentary or not, it would be interesting to hear what others think is the universal appeal. What draws people to him? Why do you think the interest has lasted 120 years?


message 10: by Heather L (new)

Heather L  (wordtrix) Ance wrote: "I first picked up some of the many Sherlock novels when I was about 12 years old. Back then I read it without much interest, did not finish and put it away.
When just a few days ago I opened this book... Oh gosh did it blew me away. I am roughly halfway through it and find it very entertaining. The character of Holmes, the setting, the cases, everything.
I may guess that it is the form that drew me in this time. I should've started with the stories back then, leaving all the novels for later. There is just a bit more tension in this shorter form, a bit more variety."



My first introduction to Sherlock Holmes was in middle school (not quite sure which year), when we read The Hound of the Baskervilles as adapted for the monthly Weekly Reader publication (anyone else remember those??). It stuck with me, but it was a long time before I sought out more of his works. I can see the short stories appealing more to some people than the longer works, though, especially those unfamiliar with Doyle's work.

So far, only one story in this collection, "Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle," has seemed familiar (view spoiler), so I must have read some of Doyle's short stories at some point over the years.


message 11: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Kuttner | 19 comments I think Sherlock Holmes is the greatest series ever written. It was a super best seller in the 1890s and even now 125 Years later the style and language is still readable and fun which is testament to Arthur Conan Doyle's genius. (How many contemporary book series will still be read and enjoyed in 125 years time?) It will always be a classic because it has frozen Victorian England in literature - when people think of London in that time it is of Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dicken's stories (Oliver Twist and Great Expectations). But Sherlock Holmes more than Dickens because the stories are so approachable - you have Watson the brave and sensible doctor recounting his experiences with the brilliant but flawed Sherlock Holmes. Holme's ability to deduce how a crime occurred and who is to blame is such a successful formula it has been reproduced and re-envisioned in countless tv series, writing reboots and movies. I have slightly overdosed on Sherlock Holmes over the years but will revisit some of the stories for this group read. BTW great call to read this series especially for those who haven't tried it before.


message 12: by Pippin (new)

Pippin Benjamin wrote: "I think Sherlock Holmes is the greatest series ever written. It was a super best seller in the 1890s and even now 125 Years later the style and language is still readable and fun which is testament..."

well i have been pondering my own question and you touch on some of the same things i have considered. i think there is a near universal appeal and awe of brilliant people. i have encountered several over the years and they are mesmerizing. secondly, by giving him flaws, he still seems human to the reader. so Sherlock is this super human but he is flawed and so he is common - he is still one of us. Yet one with a special gift, like music or art, and we admire that.
just musing,
Pip


message 13: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Kuttner | 19 comments Sherlock is this super human but he is flawed and so he is common ..."

That's a really good take on this, Pippin. It's Holme's (or Holmes's?) common man touch that appeals. He's at home with street kids and common people, who feed him a lot of his information, while at the same time is a genius with an amazing gift for deduction which sets him apart...makes him remote and flawed but approachable. It's that contrast that makes him utterly fascinating and able to be constantly recreated in all kinds of media.


message 14: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Kuttner | 19 comments I started with the Adventure of the Empty House because out of all the ones mentioned above I thought I hadn't read this one before. Interesting that the book I chose to start with was where Holmes first appears after pretending to die after his fight with Professor Moriarty. (Watson actually fainted when he saw him he was so shocked!!) I actually realized when I reached the protagonist I have read this one before, but it must have been a long time ago. I don't want to discuss any spoilers here so where is everyone else? Seems a bit tough when there are so many stories to chose from and no one wants to create spoilers...


message 15: by Heather L (new)

Heather L  (wordtrix) Benjamin wrote: "I don't want to discuss any spoilers here so where is everyone else? Seems a bit tough when there are so many stories to chose from and no one wants to create spoilers..."


You can discuss the stories more in-depth by using the "spoiler" tag -- see directions under "Some html is ok" above comment box if you are not sure how to do that.


message 16: by Heather L (new)

Heather L  (wordtrix) Benjamin wrote: "That's a really good take on this, Pippin. It's Holme's (or Holmes's?) common man touch that appeals. He's at home with street kids and common people, who feed him a lot of his information, while at the same time is a genius with an amazing gift for deduction which sets him apart...makes him remote and flawed but approachable. It's that contrast that makes him utterly fascinating and able to be constantly recreated in all kinds of media."


In another group's discussion of this book, someone brought up the fact that Holmes doesn't see the world as purely black and white, that he does not always turn in the perpetrator of a crime if stolen goods are returned/recovered and there are extenuating circumstances (view spoiler)


message 17: by Ance (new)

Ance (ancexx) "Benjamin wrote: "In another group's discussion of this book, someone brought up the fact that Holmes doesn't see the world as purely black and white, that he does not always turn in the perpetrator of a crime if stolen goods are returned/recovered and there are extenuating circumstances."

I think it can almost be expected. Holmes sees the world in a lot more detail. He sees «the big picture» and understands the reasons of a crime so completely. So he can sympathise with perpetrator. (view spoiler) and I feel it is a sign of his character, his ability to stay true to himself.


message 18: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Kuttner | 19 comments You can discuss the stories more in-depth by using the "spoiler" tag -- see directions under "Some html is ok" above comment box if you are not sure how to do that. ..."

I never knew about this! Thank you for that, I'll chat away about the books now (view spoiler)


message 19: by Heather L (new)

Heather L  (wordtrix) You're welcome, discuss away!

I finished the book last night, and found it interesting that three of the stories have similar - though slightly different - plots (view spoiler). I also find it funny that this book was temporarily banned in Russia for "occultism" when there isn't even a hint of the occult in any of the stories. Which leads me to believe they found Holmes ability for deductive reasoning "shamanistic," and that that's why it was banned. Thoughts?


message 20: by Shelley (new)

Shelley | 36 comments Occasionally in 19th century literature, I think you find a character who seems to leap ahead to twentieth century cynicism/ennui--I'm thinking Holmes, as well as Carton in Dickens' Tale of Two Cities and the voice in Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach....

Shelley
http://dustbowlstory.wordpress.com


message 21: by Heather L (new)

Heather L  (wordtrix) Anyone else still reading the book? Anyone with comments, observations, questions for others?


message 22: by Dani (new)

Dani (The Pluviophile Writer) (pluviophilewriter) | 237 comments Alright, I'm going to start reading this book today and I'm determined to have it finished before the end of the month! I'm very behind on my reading these days...

This is, shockingly, my first time reading anything by Arthur Conan Doyle so I'm really looking forward to it.

I'll post my comments and such as soon as I can!


message 23: by Heather L (new)

Heather L  (wordtrix) Good luck, Dani -- I'm sure you can finish before end of the weekend! ☺


message 24: by Dani (new)

Dani (The Pluviophile Writer) (pluviophilewriter) | 237 comments Alright, I did end up finishing it almost by the end of that weekend by I have been slow to post.

I didn't know that the format of this book would be in short stories. I was surprised but it really works. I'm also amazed at how well the most recent Hollywood movies with Robert Downney Jr. capture the characters from the books pretty well.

I also have to admit that I love that Holmes gets outwitted by a woman! That was by far my favourite story. That and the strange plot of the Red-Headed league.


message 25: by Sara (new)

Sara I've been slowly reading the Complete Sherlock Holmes stories along with other books at the same time. I became obsessed with Sherlock through the BBC's adaptation. The wait between seasons was unbearable (eighteen months between series 3 and 4), so I started reading the stories to hold me over. Sherlock Holmes is my favorite read so far.


message 26: by Kandice (new)

Kandice My library Book/Movie club is doing A Study in Scarlet and watching the corresponding episode of Sherlock, A Study in Pink. I absolutely love Benedict Cumberbatches Sherlock. He's pretty perfect!


message 27: by Benjamin (last edited Jun 28, 2015 10:53PM) (new)

Benjamin Kuttner | 19 comments Heather L wrote: "I'm also amazed at how well the most recent Hollywood movies with Robert Downney Jr."

Robert DJ was great and so was Jude Law. But I thought Moriarty in the TV series 'Sherlock' was so much better than Moriarty in 'A Game of Shadows' (Roberty Downney Holmes 2) and Benedict Cumberbatch would have made a more authentic to the books movie Holmes.


message 28: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mclaren | 292 comments Pippin wrote: "I went nuts with SH when I was in high school. I've read some of the stories to my kids over the years and we've seen some of the TV adaptations.
I'm curious what others think: Why is the Sherlock..."


Like you, Pippin, I went crazy over Sherlock Holmes when in high school and my son did the same.

I think we're endlessly fascinated by a man who didn't quite care how people perceived him as a person -- only how they saw his accomplishments. As a character, he is quite unusual in that respect. Then too, there is how he solves crimes. When I first read the books, I wished I had the discipline to see and evaluate things as Sherlock does. Its still something that I wish for. And I'm interested in Conan Doyle because he was so successful in creating such a character. I've heard that he was known for the same type of logic that Sherlock shows.

I've watched just about every reiteration of Sherlock in films and TV and still stick with the more classic. Basil Rathbone, while I think he played it fairly faithfully, but his Watson was a dolt. I agree with just about everyone that Jeremy Brett is the definitive Holmes and Watson, while still not as sharp a character as I would think he would have to be to befriend Watson, is better.

I didn't like Christopher Plummer and can't really remember Christopher Lee's portrayal. Nor can I stand the CBS series (sorry if you like it).

As a modern Sherlock, I don't think anyone can create a better Sherlock than Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman is the perfect Watson -- smart and clever on his own and definitely can hold his own in any argument with Sherlock.

And just for fun -- Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law make a great pair.


message 29: by Sara (new)

Sara I'm not a huge fan of the RDJ and Jude Law movies. I think the modern-day aspect of the BBC version is awesome but I just cannot watch the CBS version. I feel like the writers of "Elementary" (CBS) have never read the books.

I want to some day be able to see things the way "Sherlock" does/did. To be able to see and observe. I was able to use my deductive reasoning skills to be the first to figure out my best friend was pregnant and then guess what sex the baby was, but that's about it, haha.


message 30: by Noorilhuda (new)

Noorilhuda | 31 comments Okay good, thought I'd missed out on this - the discussion is still going on. I've to re-read the stories first - read them way back in school (and of course love the BBC Jeremy Brett version above all else). Will post thoughts in a bit.


message 31: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Kuttner | 19 comments Haha that's funny using Holmes deduction to see your friend was pregnant. Note to diary - subtle signs: eating a lot more than usual, mood swings, discussing baby clothes...
There's so much that Holmes can teach us about being more observant in every day life. Although the sex of the baby would be a tough one - I don't even think Holmes could pull that one off.


message 32: by Sara (new)

Sara Haha, it was more like I knew my friends. When they found out they instantly posted "hahahahah :) :)" to their facebooks and I knew they were trying. As for figuring out if it was a boy or girl, I knew the husband wanted a girl and I knew when they were going for an ultrasound to find out the sex. He immediately posted smiley faces to Facebook again. So it was more knowing them than paying attention to mood swings and guessing the sex. Lol. ;)


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