Book Log – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle

Of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, I had only read The Hound of the Baskervilles by requirement in high school. I remember slogging through it with great effort, and thus had in ingrained aversion to trying any of the other tales. I believed Dirk Gently to be a more entertaining, and thus superior, Holmes incarnation for the new generation.

After reading this collection of short stories (published in 1891-1892) , I am surprised at how similar in characterisation Wodehouse’s Psmith (1909) and Adams’ Gently (1987) are to Holmes. Or, for that matter, David Tennant’s Doctor Who.

I enjoyed this enough that I plan to download the other Holmes collections and give them a go.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll give Baskervilles a second chance.

If it behaves.

Book Log – Robinson Crusoe

The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

I thought to read this because I always heard how it inspired young kids, though it may be entirely fictional young kids in nostalgic movies. So I checked out bearing in mind the question of whether I would recommend it to RocketBoy some day.

As a view into a log ago world, it is fascinating, but as to whether it is inspiring, I am less certain. You have to get past a heap of character flaws and allow for the moral standards of the time in order to empathize with the main character.

For example, most everybody who has heard the theme song to Gilligan’s Island knows Robinson Crusoe was shipwrecked, so I hope I’m not giving spoilers on that account. But one should note that he became shipwrecked on route to pick up a shipment of slaves for his own business gain. Robinson laments his wicked ways on the island, but here he is referring to not heeding his father’s warnings rather than his efforts to engage in the slave trade.

Still, Daniel Defoe has a good writing style that draws you in, and there is much to recommend in this book despite the flawed protagonist.

I believe I’ll recommend it to RocketBoy… when he’s 38.

Book Log – The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, Etc. Who Was Born In Newgate, and During a Life of Continu’d Variety For Threescore Years, Besides Her Childhood, Was Twelve Year a Whore, Five Times a Wife [Whereof Once To Her Own Brother], Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon In Virginia, At Last Grew Rich, Liv’d Honest, and Died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums. by Daniel Defoe

Well, the full title pretty much sums up the storyline of this one.

This was my first Daniel Defoe novel (downloaded from gutenberg.org). He has an engaging storytelling style, and I was pulled into the narrative pretty quickly.

It’s an odd story telling, though. In a way, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it just seems like a bunch of stuff that happened rather than a novel. It really reads like a memoir of a real-life person rather than a fictional tale. That’s more of a compliment than a derision.

But in a way, it feels like cheating. It subconsciously tricks you into believing, on some level, that the stuff really happened, and so your expectation of the narrative is different than if you were thinking of the story as a fiction. I don’t know if that makes me cut it more slack, or what.

Good read.