Happy Birthday, Sherlock Holmes!

Photo by dynamosquito. CC BY-SA 2.0.
Photo by dynamosquito. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Since the publication of the first Sherlock Holmes story in 1887, Holmes has captured the imagination of readers– so much so that when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle initially killed him off, readers clamored for more, eventually convincing him to resurrect the character. In modern day, Holmes’ popularity has remained high, with many books including either the detective himself or references to him, not to mention a recent movie series that reimagined Sherlock in a more steampunk inspired setting and two currently-airing television shows bringing Holmes and Watson into modern day.

Photo by minifig. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
Photo by minifig. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Though it is never mentioned in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, many Sherlock scholars and fans have placed his birthday on January 6th. In celebration of this date and the fact that the early Sherlock stories were declared to be in the Public Domain in the U.S. just recently, this post collects some books that build on the Sherlock mythology directly and others that are not directly related, but will nevertheless captivate fans of Sherlock’s adventures. Continue reading Happy Birthday, Sherlock Holmes!

Get Ready for Downton Abbey Season 4 With These Books

DowntonAbbeySince debuting in the UK three seasons ago, Downton Abbey has become a worldwide phenomenon. It combines great characters, a compelling plot and a fascinating historical setting to make for an addictive viewing experience that has captivated audiences of a wide range of nationalities and age groups. Now that Season 4 is about to start airing in the U.S., I know I am excited to see what is in store for all of my favorite residents of the Abbey. If you are like me and Downton Abbey has sparked your interest in the history of this time period more generally, get in the mood for Season 4 (or tide yourself over between episodes) with one of these books. Continue reading Get Ready for Downton Abbey Season 4 With These Books

Jukebooks: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One Year CoverThree years earlier, Willem spent one day with a girl he called Lulu, because she had a “passing resemblance to Louise Brooks.” Now he realizes he should never have let her go. Driven by yearning, Willem takes off from his native Amsterdam to find Lulu.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t know her real first name or her last name. Willem does recall that Lulu talked about spending the winter holidays in a resort that looked like a Mayan temple. Following a desperate hunch, he finds himself spending New Year’s Day in Cancun, Mexico.

Weary from the wandering and fruitless search, Willem takes a solitary swim in the sea. From the shore, he can hear someone strumming Stairway to Heaven. It’s a lovely scene: The moon on the water, the music wafting in from the shore, and the sweet warmth of the tropical air. But Willem is alone in a world that seems far too large to search out his one special person.

Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin is one of the most beautiful rock songs of the 1970s. Composed by guitarist Jimmy Page and vocalist Robert Plant , the song begins with a slow, lovely melody and evolves into a rock symphony that soars with Page’s guitar riffs (played 0n a double-neck Gibson) and Plant’s soulful, screaming vocals. The video recording below is from Zeppelin’s concert film, The Song Remains the Same.  This segment was recorded in Madison Square Garden in 1973.


Diane Colson, currently reading Sex and Violence: a novel by Carrie Mesrobian.