e a m harris

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Archive for the tag “Sherlock Holmes”

Holmes and Watson revealed

Holmes and Watson cover artI enjoyed this book. It is well written and scholarly without being pedantic or heavy.

However, I did find it odd reading a biography of people who don’t exist. For instance, as many biographers do, Ms Thomson speculates on what her characters were doing in the times not covered by the published stories. For real people this attempt to fill in gaps makes sense – they must have been doing something. But for fictional characters the true answer is ‘nothing’, and most of the time their creator probably didn’t give the question any thought.

Reading this book has made me want to know more of the real facts and I hope to find a good biography of Conan Doyle in the nearish future.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the Holmes stories and who likes a stylish, fictional biography. If you haven’t read any of the stories you’ll miss out on a good deal of the references and nuances, so I suggest you get a few of them in before starting Ms Thomson’s work.

Cover art from goodreads.

30 Day Book Challenge – day 17: Book turned into a movie that was completely desecrated

I can’t really answer today’s challenge. I can’t remember that many films made out of books  I’ve read – I discovered long ago that I prefer the book so tend to avoid the films.

If we include TV I can say I have a general dislike of Jane Austen adaptations. This is firstly because there is an poster of film‘Austen’ style – clothes, general look, acting, direction – all come out of the same mould at each adaptation. Another reason is that they seem to miss a lot of the subtlety of the books, lose the irony and emphasise the love aspect at the expense of the social comment. I wish I’d seen the Bollywood version; I think I might like that.

But I’m not  sure what to ‘desecrate’ a book means.

film posterSpielberg’s 2005 War of the Worlds was a fairly good film that had little to do with Wells’ original. Does that mean it ‘desecrated’ it? It’s not a term I would use – I’d more likely say it tried to elbow in on the book’s fame.

Sherlock Holmes has suffered from some terrible films. So have Dracula and Frankenstein. I suspect that others could add to this list. Here I think ‘desecration’ might be an appropriate term.

Pics from IMDb.

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