Laughter and books make life a little easier

Day 10 – Favourite classic book: Part 1


This post is part of a month-long series of pre-dated posts running while I am on holiday. Feel free to comment, I’ll get back to you when I return!
Please note that any “reviews” I write here are simply my own opinion and that I am not doing any objective, informative reviews for this challenge. If there are any spoilers in a post, I will indicate it at the top.
I draw the book covers straight from Goodreads and you can click on the images to go to the book’s page on there.

I decided to spilt my post on classic books into two, because it was getting impossibly unwieldy really a bit long. No-one has time to read that much at once, so it was easier to spilt it than decide which bit to cut. The second part will follow tomorrow! It’s a bit illogical to have two Day 10’s, but oh well. 😉


I love Sherlock Holmes. I’ve read every single story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – all 56 short stories and 4 novels. The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection that I received for Christmas last year was one of the best presents that I’ve received in years. Remember this old picture?

From my Christmas post.

However, I should also clarify something here. I love the original Sherlock Holmes: the Holmes of those 60 stories. The modern-day adaptions… well, they just cannot capture him again, I feel. I have no problem with most of them. They do not bother me, but I usually would not watch them. I have seen very little of that oh-so-popular show currently airing on the BBC. I’m sure it’s good… but it is not Holmes. Benedict Cumberbatch is not Holmes. He’s good, but I’ll just stick with the original, thanks for the offer and your trouble.

I feel sorry that all those fangirls I see on Tumblr and other places every day will probably never know the “original” Sherlock Holmes, because they will likely never read the books. I know the kind of person I’m talking about: the sort that writes “OMG OMG!!!!!!!!! I ❤ Sherloccccccckkk!!!!” in their status. They will never know him as “Holmes”, only as “Sherlock”. Holmes would likely not have worn a scarf or bright colours. He’d have worn his deerstalker and mouse-coloured dressing gown (but not at the same time). He’d not have had curls. I’m sorry these “Sherlockians” will never know a Watson who had a moustache and would never have worn a red shirt. In fact, Sherlock never, ever called him “John”. He always called him “Watson” or “my dear fellow” and I’m sorry the modern fans do not know that. I’m sorry they do not know the Holmes who did not text, but sent telegrams (actually two are similar in many respects, I give the screenwriters that). I’m sorry they will never know the Holmes who used to race from one end of London to another using horse-drawn carts and trains.

Holmes was an extremely arrogant character: he did not want fame, but he loved praise. Actually, he sought it and this is also the reason why he loved his grand reveals. He smoked like a chimney and he used cocaine. Sometimes he refused to eat for days on end, sometimes he broke into houses and lied to the police. He is not an admirable man by today’s standards. So what is it about him that seems to attract fans generation after generation? Is it the brilliance? The eccentricity? I think it is all of these things combined. He truly is a classic character.


I find the “gay” hint in the BBC’s Sherlock quite odd. In my mind, the original Holmes was certainly not gay. And neither was Watson. It does not bother me: after all, the new adaption does not even pretend to be canonical. Or even “Conanical” if we going to be punny. Or phunny. Elana, stop it. … If it had pretended to be an accurate depiction of the stories, it would have annoyed me. Anyway, I know that this kind of hinting is the stuff of pop culture. It is what makes fans return to a show again and again. But what I find really strange is the shipping. I believe I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I do not get shipping. I really don’t understand why fans do this. Mostly I wouldn’t turn a hair at whatever a fan would wish to do to express their “fan-ness”, but I simply cannot understand this concept. To all those who now want to convince me that Holmes was gay all along, please consider the period when it was written. Conan Doyle was writing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this time “being gay” was simply something not done. Of course, there were always homosexual people around, but Conan Doyle was not an activist. He was not setting out to shock people and shift literary boundaries when he started writing about Holmes, therefore all the hints that you are seeing in the original stories are there because you want to see them there. The close friendship between Holmes and Watson does not equal romance. Holmes’s bachelorship until he died does not equal homosexuality. His work was his life and I see him more as asexual, but I will not accept that there was a homosexual attraction between him and Watson.

I love the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie. It was extremely well-made and Jude Law makes an excellent Dr Watson. I’ve watched it several times and it remains pretty brilliant. However, it still cannot top the ink and paper Holmes.


Wow, this just turned into a rant. How did I suddenly start writing about modern adaptations of Sherlock Holmesinstead of about the books I love? I really don’t know where that came from. 😛 Of course, everyone can stick to whatever adaptation of Holmes they like best. I don’t care. As for me, I’ll stick to the books. 😉 There is something about the Holmes and Watson combination, Holmes out on the hunt, Holmes talking incessantly about the most random topics, and the big reveals that makes Sherlock Holmes unforgettable. Conan Doyle may not have liked his creation much, but he has undeniably become classic – and part of a literary culture.


Check back tomorrow for the second Day 10 post!


2 responses

  1. hello

    I love the original book version of Sherlock Holmes too! Not too impressed with the screen adaptations, none match with my ideal version of Holmes or Watson. My vote for the best sherlock holmes story definitely goes to the Adventure of the Speckled Band, even though it’s quite short, the plot is absolutely brilliant! Which is your favourite story?

    July 1, 2012 at 05:37

    • True, but then most screen adaptations cannot portray what goes on in your imagination. 😉 I just like the 2009 movie because the scenery and clothes and everything was so great and the story is really fun.
      The Speckled Band is very good, but I have to admit that it creeped me out very much. I very much like The Valley of Fear. That one and Hound of the Baskervilles, actually. 🙂

      July 19, 2012 at 23:12

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