Thursday, April 28, 2022

Reading them books!

 Sherlockian reading habits sure can change over time.

When I was in college, I read every book I could find with Sherlock Holmes on the cover. As it was the late seventies, and The Seven Per Cent Solution had proved to the world that Sherlock Holmes could still make for a New York Times bestseller, there were a lot of those on the paperback racks. I also carefully worked through The Complete Sherlock Holmes, slowly noting specific details, trying not to miss any wonderful thing about the great detective.

Forty-five years later, my reading pace has slowed down a lot, as a.) I'm not the carefree college student,  b.) I like writing stuff, and c.) How many times have I read those same sixty stories?

I guess I could be reading right now. And tonight is our local discussion group's meeting on The Valley of Fear. And I'm beta reading a book-length work for a pal. And I need to compare two texts for a certain investigatory effort. But here I am, spurred by a comment or two on buying books versus reading books.

When I was younger, I remember more than one person coming into my book room and going "Have you read all them books?" (Maybe they weren't that rustic sounding, but I like to pretend so in my remembrances.) And I would enthusiastically go, "Yes, I have." But now?

Well, I guess you could say that, having read all sixty of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, I technically have read the contents of every weird pirate edition, collection, reprint, etc. of those stories -- just not from the specific books themselves. Collecting will make you a non-reader faster than anything.

I've also got a lot of pastiches that I've strapped on my parachute and bailed out of a few chapters in. That seems to happen a lot these days. And, lord knows there are more books out there that most of us can even afford to buy. 

Things may change with retirement, I suppose, if I don't accidentally step on my glasses ala Burgess Meredith in that ancient Twilight Zone episode at a critical moment. But that target is still many days away. And the writing sure isn't going anywhere. But we shall see.

For now, off to work!


  1. While I understand Brad's views, my perspective is perhaps slightly different. I've not undertaken a cover to cover reading of the entire Canon in some years. But I do find myself rereading individual adventures in preparation for scion meetings and story discussions. Those renewed acquaintances still remain a great source of pleasure to me.