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Elementary reading June 18, 2010

Posted by Galaxy in Musings.
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The Onion’s AV Club is one of my favorite pop culture blogs, for it’s well-balanced mix of high- and low-brow pursuits and snark and sincerity. One of their many entertaining columns is “Gateways to Geekery,” which presents a subject with high geek cult status that may seem intimidating to outsiders (for example, noir films), then offers suggestions on the best way for a beginner to test the waters. This week’s Gateway to Geekery introduces Sherlock Holmes, an old favorite of mine. Not having read much beyond the original stories, I enjoyed the discussion of Holmesian “fan-fic” and was reminded that I still have to read A Study in Emerald, by another favorite author, Neil Gaiman.

As with any mention of Sherlock Holmes,  this column made me think of my grandmother. I owe a lot of my literary tastes to her–it was her gift of a collection of O. Henry’s short stories and another of Oscar Wilde’s that introduced me to both of those wonderful writers. We shared a love of the Bronte sisters’ writing; she even gave me a copy of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by the oft-forgotten Anne. And one Christmas, I received a thick hardcover copy of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. While I’ll never share her fondness for whodunits, I am so very glad that Grandma shared Sir Conan Doyle with me. I devoured the stories, from “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League” to “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” I was astounded and thrilled and terrified and amazed along with Dr. Watson as Sherlock Holmes investigated and cracked each case.

Unlike some unworn sweaters and outgrown toys that are long gone, I have kept every one of the books my grandmother gave me over the years. I treasure them for the stories written inside and for the memories they hold for me of my Grandma.

Are there books that you associate with people or events in your life? If you have a story you’d like to share, please do in the comments.

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