January 11, 2017

SHERLOCK The Essential Arthur Conan Doyle (reVIEW)

My photo. But all rights to this book belong to the authors and publisher.
This review would have gone out sooner, but, you see, there was the case of the holidays.… And one is the wiser for not taking it in stride, unless one delighted in guilt-tossing, drama, excommunication and loved ones. Honestly, though, I would rather toss myself in bed—which, now that I think about it, might have been what actually held me. But this isn’t about me.

What can I say, but, being that this is the first edition of Sherlock I have ever laid my hands (and eyes) on, quite literally—I have only a vague notion of the scope of the ever-expanding Holmesian world, further shaped by the very fandom it created, which has spawned countless adaptations all across the media, chief among them being the current hit BBC series? Why anything I should say make a “pennyworth of difference” to Sherlock devotees who, I imagine, own attics full of treasures, if not libraries, on the “unofficial consulting detective” that could topple even the most impressive “mind palace” like Magnussen’s? Regardless, I must admit: this is a celebration for committed followers and new admirers (I’m in) of the arguably (in)famous, invincible, enigmatic, evasive, eccentric genius of a sleuth—if slightly,  no, precisely off-the-center and obsessive-to-the-point-of-psychotic, and rightfully so: after all, it is a “high-functioning sociopath” we follow, isn't it? But what to tame the beast of Baker Street and his exacting spirit that he does not self-destruct without our consent? Well, that calls for a different sort of strength, if a complementary and not necessarily an equivalent, opposing force, embodied in the gentle(r), steady(ier) mien of the ex-army captain, Dr. John Watson, who is no stranger himself to frailties and danger. Deferential in manner (out of high regard for his companion), the doctor’s power of observation is no less sharp. Of his early assessments of Holmes, he asserts: “[His] smallest actions [are] all directed towards some definite and practical end.” (“A Study in Scarlet” 21) Which may very well be the case in our world, let alone the sleuthing world, since “there is nothing so [sic] unnatural as the commonplace” (“A Case of Identity” 208)—lest we be left totally bereft of meaning, which, fortunately, isn’t the case the last time you (and I) checked(?), I’m assuming; and which brings to mind a simple notion: that we all need someone to look after, who watches over us for a sane balance, and if for nothing else but the sake and “science of deduction”no? But let’s save all my guesswork for another time.

SHERLOCK The Essential Arthur Conan Doyle Adventures should make a happy addition to the fandom and an excellent starter edition for more mature readers of all ages. I only wish that co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat (considering their seeming dedication to the Conan Doyle canon and their level of involvement in the BBC adaptation) had written a more substantial piece for each selected title, instead of pitching in a few phrases, which seems somewhat inadequate in presenting such masterpieces, but that’s just me. Nonetheless, the Victorian cover is no small treat, featuring Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch as the partners-in-crime in the BBC series—now, if that isn’t awesome as whipped icing on a cake! But the book’s true value, of course, lies in its content: Doyle’s detective tales—all 19 of them—including the first ever Sherlock adventure, “A Study in Scarlet”; the least adapted “A Case of Identity”; and the ever famous, “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” The legendary author’s prolific work spans sci-fi, romance, poetry, plays, and crime fiction, the latter of which had earned him his rightful place on the literary stage. Like his fictional character Watson, Doyle was a doctor, which served instrumental to his writing: he wrote as he waited for patients.

As expected of Doyle’s detective stories, this tight collection is steeped in secret codes, false identities, seeming trifles, misinformation, and misdirection to keep the suspense going alongside the sharp-as-the-banters crime fighting amid endless red herrings—highlighting, yet again, just what makes Holmes’ and Watson’s team-up so highly appealing. Watch, it may just sling you back on the track of quick wit and a newfound perception to start your year, perhaps. Hey, everyone can hope! Now let’s hear it from Holmes:

“[A] man's brain … is like a little empty attic [that you stock] with such furniture as you choose. […] It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. […] It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

Interesting point. Only I’m not so sure it works, especially at family gatherings…. Though we might get away with texting.

Not to drown you in more asides, well, maybe just a little—especially those of you who haven't read the book (nor watched the series), which I find rather shameful if you claim to be a lover of clever characters; though it is also quite a relief to know there are worse readers than me who are slower to jump in the bandwagon, whatever their reason. Blame the “most unimpeachable Christmas goose….” Or, in my case, the Tofurky that flapped its distracted wings from one holiday to the next, not realizing, again, that it is holiday in itself when one immerses in a really good story. This is in no way a disregard of the sometimes-amusing-if-not-awkward-or-all-out-disturbing tales shared at the dinner table, where one might just catch a carbuncle, and blue at that…. Which is why one still puts up with family traditions.

Having tossed enough nods to the book, I leave you with the following excerpts from one of my favorite episodes in the series instead. Loosely adapted from the original tale, “His Last Bow,” which unfortunately didn’t make it in the set (and which I haven’t read yet), “His Last Vow” is the most festive (beside the “The Adventure of The Blue Carbuncle”), though I have not the time to prove my case. Meanwhile, here's to Holmes! And to Watson, who I (we) can only wish to forever remain the intrepid chronicler of their everlasting (mis)adventures! Again, we can always hope, plus it’s the New Year and Season 4 is up! So, delay no more and be a hound like Holmes! Just don’t hound the turkeys, as did the hound of the Baskervilles…. Happy sleuthing! Let me know when you’ve jumped in! Cheers!

Watson:               But it's Christmas!
Holmes:               I feel the same. Oh, you mean it's actually Christmas. Did you bring your gun as I suggested?
Watson:               Why would I bring my gun to your parents' house for Christmas dinner?
Holmes:               Is it in your coat?
Watson:               Yes.

Mycroft:                Also…your loss would break my heart.
Sherlock:              What the hell am I supposed to say to that?
Mycroft:                Merry Christmas.
Sherlock:              You hate Christmas.
Mycroft:                Yes. Perhaps there was something in the punch.
Sherlock:              Clearly. Go and have some more.

Magnussen:          Everything's available for a price. You making me an offer?
Sherlock:              A Christmas present.
Magnussen:          Then what are you giving me for Christmas, Mr. Holmes?
Sherlock:              My brother.

Sherlock:             Oh, do your research. I'm not a hero, I'm a high-functioning sociopath. Merry Christmas!

Like I said, this review should have been posted sooner. Oh, but the holidays…


SHERLOCK The Essential Arthur Conan Doyle is published by Pegasus Books; jacket design by Two Associates with photo from Hartsford Films.

January 20, 2015

Where the wind blows.


“I just go where the wind blows.” I've heard it said before by someone who happens to fall under the sign of Aquarius.

The wind goes where it blows, of course. But true Aquarians follow their visions that not even the wind can direct them. Neither anything nor anyone can derail these visionaries from their goals, if they can help it. They would ride the wind, if they have to, even against it for a different perspective, and when there is no sign of wind at all, they stir the air themselves. Sure, Aquarians listen to which way the wind blows, but never to give it total reign over them. They call on the wind, if needed, to use as tools for life’s work, with the other elements on earth.

Falling under a certain sign does not a character make. I don’t think one is necessarily bestowed inherent strengths by her stars, moon, planets, or other cosmic things. Rather, true aquarians are sustained by passionate spirits that enrich their souls before they even come to know their names, and, in time, they make their sign known. This is the mark of those who bear the sign and realize their true nature. It isn’t their style nor inclination to merely wait. Not even for the wind.

January 7, 2015

The Dialogue. (poeTry)

by: a.paige


and the dialogue grows
the irreconcilable, uncontrollable creature knows
when another voice calls out
everyone screams out
for everyone else to tame
the beast that had awakened their fear
but who is left to hear?

the ongoing conversations leave me with
a funny feeling, hinting
all voices converge at some point. ’tis time
“we are here, we are here,” we chant till nine
then fly to the moon and back, wishing
that heaven listened, even as the stars glisten
but who is there to hear?

December 12, 2014

Some Breathe Through Songs (poeTry)

by: a.paige


Some see with their ears.
With eyes closed, they strum their strings
or run their fingers along some keys...
Others feel with their eyes
and glide over their canvas to hear...
Then there are those who tread the page...
to live.

How do you quench your soul?
Some breathe through songs.
The rest tirelessly seek the water from which to drink.

December 11, 2014

This Life. (poeTry)

by: a.paige


it isn’t black
or white.
or yellow.
or brown.
it is all of that.

it is gray.
it is pink.
and red.
and the sadness of a blue sky
on a cold winter day.

it is rich.
it is poor.
it is the comforting shade
in the scorching sun,
or the warmth of fire.

it is joy.
it is chaos.
it is the sparkle in a child’s eyes,
or the grief
behind your smile.

it is magic.
it is tragic.
creation and decay,
a cleansing rain,
or scorn.

it is birth pangs
it wakes,
and grows. and teaches.
or refuses
and walks asleep.
or plays dead.
or lies down dead.
or drops dead,
while consuming in between,
its appetite, keen.

it waxes and wanes.
it rises and falls.
a blessing and a curse.
an ebb and flow.
like the tide, this life.

August 14, 2014

Sardines.


*****
Copyright, Amicatonic. All rights
reserved. All content of this blog
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writings, artworks, & photos,
unless otherwise noted.
Pls. be considerate & ask for
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credit to owner/creator,
Amica Paige.

*****

If you open a can of sardines, there are mothers and children there. But the phallic man is hungry and loves his fish and game. He forces his way through fame with his arms and jeans, and devours elephants and whales in his suit and tie. He sheds blood, except his, and lusts for the rush of adrenaline. His currency are folks and beasts dispensable and meek as fish. He craves the flesh of the young and the female, but her mind and heart are inseparable from her hips and much stronger than he could ever be—yet, she has suffered greatly. For if you look long enough in this ravaged land, half the children are men, and the other half—most of them are hunted, along with the unicorns and dolphins. Will the boys heed a mother’s call or only be sons to their Father? We wish all sons of earth would hear the cries of their daughters. But unlike dogs, most men are mere testosterones and phalli. Worse than the swine they savor, their savage hands slaughter lambs and bleed the land for glory. Still, we’d like to believe that the womb is later joined by her true lovers and reunited with her real sons and daughters at the sea beyond this. For now, she continues to fight for the fate of earth and weep for the rape of it.

August 11, 2014

Back To The Day (poeTry)

by: a.paige
I can toss up some metaphors over sushi for dinner. Still, my heart’s no match for thee, for your candied words are always free. The sky’s too proud, but I've learned to teach. So why do you preach as you sip your tea? Just grow a peach. But I’d rather crawl and take a trip. To the moon and back, since the stars are out of reach. Back to the day when my freedom reigned. You didn’t know me then, and you still don’t know me well.