Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Study in Scarlet

A Study in Scarlet
By - Arthur Conan Doyle
Published - 1888
Format - PDF

This is the very first Sherlock Holmes Story, and one that I have never read before. It tells the story from Dr Watson's Point of View, and includes the facts of how Watson came to be sharing an apartment (or flat as they are called in England) with Holmes in London.

Then came the case, where an American was found dead in an old empty house, with no obvious cause of death. His business cards identified him as an American, and the word RACHE was printed on the wall in blood. A woman's wedding ring was also found at the site.

A few days later a second American was found dead in a hotel. But he was stabbed to death. Once again the word RACHE was printed in blood on the wall.

The race was on between Scotland Yard, the London Police and Sherlock Homes as to who would solve the case first.

One of the Cops assumed that the full word should have been RACHEL.

Sherlock however knew that Rache was the German word for revenge. He telegraphed to the USA asking about the victims and if they were ever involved in a fight over a woman.

It turns out that both of the two dead men were former members of the Mormon church which at that time, practiced Polygamy, or allowed the men to have multiple wives.

There was a young girl growing up in Salt Lake City whose father was determined to never marry, because he did not want to have multiple wives, so he remained celibate. He did have an adopted daughter. It was his wish that the daughter would never become the wife of a Mormon. She fell in love with a man named Jefferson Hope who was a miner and NOT a Mormon. .

The Church elders began threatening the father to give his daughter to one of their sons, or something bad would happen. So the father, the daughter and Jefferson Hope all tried to escape from the Valley. The girl was dragged off, and raped by one of the Elders sons, so that he could claim her as his wife.  The father was killed and only Jefferson Hope escaped. He followed the elders sons, and waited to get his revenge.

It took him 20 years, and it happened outside of the USA, but he finally got his revenge. He killed the first victim by poison. He stabbed the second victim when he was being attacked. When Hope was captured, he told Sherlock that he was already dying of a bad heart and did not expect to live long.

Having told his story - the second part of this book consisted of 5 rather boring chapters of Mormon religion and culture - and had his revenge - Jefferson Hope was ready to meet his maker.

The Phrase - A Study in Scarlet - refers to the blood that erupted from Jefferson Hope's nose after his first victim died. This indicated that he already had a bad heart.

The first part of this book was good. We see the details in how Holmes finds his clues and teases Dr Watson about what will happen next. 

If I had known that the second half of this novel was a dry essay on the Mormon religion, culture and the righteousness of having multiple wives, I never would have bothered to read this book.

I detest religion of any kind.

Be warned. 

Scanners Universe Website

Just so you know why there is a link called Scanners Universe sitting over on the right, under the Favourite Websites List. That's because the Scanners Universe is MY personal website.

Since I have a Scanner Personality, I have interests that cover a wide range of Knowledge. And this is where I can write about them. One thing I absolutely detest - is to be forced into one or two NICHES!!   I find that to be so boring.

Throughout my life I have accumulated a vast sum of knowledge in my brain. This knowledge comes from all areas of life and literature. I read a wide range of books - History, Geography, Science, Art, Biographies, Literature, Language, Politics, some Sports, Technology and Computers.

I stay away from Mechanics, Engineeering and most Sports. These I leave to the Men of our World. 

I love playing games like Trivial Pursuit, and I love watching game shows on TV like "Who wants to be a Millionaire", "Jeopardy" and "Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader?"  I love testing myself, and I pick up new knowledge as well.

So if you want to know more about me, Take a look through the Scanners Universe Website and read all about me!!

You can also read the first Blog I ever started. It too is listed under Favourite Websites. It's called Bibliohistoria.  I began this blog back in 2007 and closed it down in 2013. It was mostly a Books Review Blog, so I will have to make sure that none of the Books for this Classics Challenge were ones I have already read and reviewed.

Global Grey - Classic PDFs

When I was setting up this Classics Challenge blog, I went hunting for classics to add to my list.

And while I was looking, I stumbled onto this site - Global Grey - which houses PDF's of classic stories. The perfect site for this challenge.

It's a free site too, although it does ask for donations.

My eyes are getting too old and it's quite hard for me to read such small print in hard copy books.

So I now much prefer to read electronic books and PDFs.

Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins

Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins, with Jad-bal-ja, The Golden Lion
Author - Edgar Rice Burroughs
Published - 1936
Format - PDF

I will admit, I chose this book to read first because it has only 57 pages. However, it was published in 1936 so it qualifies as a classic.

The 4 main characters are Tarzan, Dick and Doc, who are teenage cousins, and Gretchen, a 12 year old German girl whose father is a missionary in darkest Africa.

Basically, Gretchen wandered too far from her home one day and was kidnapped by a tribe of men who look more like gorilllas than men.

These "gorillas" come from a city that worships the sun, calling it the Flaming God. These men had been cast out of their city because the high priestess chose to stop making sacrifices to the Flaming God. These men did not agree with that decision, so they were cast out. They went off to find a place where they could build a new temple and make more sacrifices.

When they found Gretchen, they took her along with them, because she would become their new high priestess. At the time of this story she has been with them for two months.

At the start of this story, Tarzan is taking Dick and Doc for a walk in the jungle. Also walking along with them is a large Golden Lion named Jad-bal-ja which means the Golden Lion.

A storm is getting close and the Golden Lion smells something that makes him nervous. So Tarzan instructs the boys to stay put with the Lion while he (Tarzan) goes to investigate.

The storm breaks over them and the boys climb up and hide in the trees for safety. By the time the storm ends the lion has disappeared and the boys are quite lost, although they are both still alive. 

They set off back in the direction they believe to be Tarzan's home. One boy has a spear and the other boy has a bow and arrows.

Along their travels they meet up with the "gorilla men" and spot the young blonde haired girl with them. They forget all plans of saving themselves and are determined to save the girl.

 In the meantime, Tarzan meets up with the girls father, the German missionary, who is out looking for his daughter. Tarzan instructs the missionary to stay put while he and the Lion go and find the girl and those two boys.

Dick and Doc get themselves into a wee spot of bother and Tarzan and the Lion arrive just in time to save them all.

There is NO character development of any character other than an explanation of the boys mothers being twin sisters themselves and that one mother moved to England while the other one stayed in America.

 A quick light story that barely took half an hour for me to read.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Alternative Authors for the Classics Club Challenge

I have been reading some other book lists from other classic club members, and have already found some other favourite classic authors that I will most likely swap out some books with.

Authors such as
Gene Stratton Porter
Arthur C. Clarke
James Alexander Thom
James Michener
Louis L'Amour
Arthur Ransome
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Agatha Christie and
Katherine Kurtz.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Classics Club Reading Challenge - My List

This is Bibliohistoria.

I just found this challenge today on Pinterest. 
This is my Pinterest Book Challenges Board

The challenge is to read 50 classics, over the next 5 years, and write reviews.  There have been a lot of classics that I have not yet read, so I think I will join this challenge. I even started up this new blog, just for this challenge.

Below is the BIG BOOK LIST, to use as a jumping off point. Classics are considered to be any book more than 25 years old - so for me that means any book published BEFORE 1990!!!

I have chosen to read approximately 10 books per year - which averages out to one classic book per month. If I can read one book per month, I should be able to finish 50 books in 50 months, which is 4 years and 2 months.The following books are on MY LIST.

Adams, Richard: Watership Down

Alcott, Louisa May: Little Men

Anonymous: One Thousand and One Nights

Austen, Jane: Emma Persuasion

Austen, Jane: Mansfield Park

Barrie, J.M.: Peter Pan

Baum, L. Frank: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Boccaccio, Giovanni: The Decameron

Bradbury, Ray: Fahrenheit 451

Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights

Burnett, Frances Hodgson: The Secret Garden

Burroughs, Edgar Rice: Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins 

Chaucer, Geoffrey: The Canterbury Tales

Collins, Wilkie: The Moonstone
Conan Doyle, Arthur: A Study in Scarlet
Cooper, James Fenimore: The Pathfinder

Cooper, James Fenimore: The Pioneers

Crane, Stephen: Red Badge of Courage

Dante: The Divine Comedy

Defoe, Daniel: Moll Flanders

Dickens, Charles: Oliver Twist

Eco, Umberto: The Name of the Rose

Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Great Gatsby

Franklin, Benjamin: Autobiography

Gaskell, Elizabeth: The Life of Charlotte Bronte

Haggard, Henry Rider: King Solomon’s Mines

Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Scarlet Letter

Hemingway, Ernest: For Whom the Bell Tolls

Hesse, Hermann: Siddhartha

Johnson, Ben: Volpone

Keller, Helen: The Story of My Life

Kempe, Margery: The Book of Margery Kempe

Kipling, Rudyard: Kim

Machiavelli, Niccolo: The Prince

Mansfield, Katherine: The Garden Party & Other Stories

Marlowe, Christopher: Doctor Faustus

Paine, Thomas: Common Sense

Pamuk, Orhan: My Name is Red

Pepys, Samuel: Diary of Samuel Pepys

Plato: The Trial and Death of Socrates

Plutarch: Parallel Lives

Rushdie, Salman: The Satanic Verses

Shakespeare, William: All’s Well That Ends Well

Shakespeare, William: Merchant of Venice

Tan, Amy: The Joy Luck Club

Truth, Sojourner: Narrative of Sojourner Truth

Twain, Mark: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Twain, Mark: The Prince and the Pauper

Tzu, Sun: The Art of War

Verne, Jules: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

All of the books on this list, are from the BIG Book List, so I will most likely be doing some swapping out, especially if I cannot get an e-book or PDF copy of these books. 

I am reading these all as E-Books or as PDFs.

A few of these books I have read, but MOST of them I have not, although I may have read other books and plays by these authors. 

I am writing this in January 2015 which makes this the PERFECT time to start. The five years will therefore end in December 2019. 

I have now added a second list to this challenge 

This means that I now have a total of 100 books to read over the next 50 months. That means I plan on reading a minimum of 2 books from these 2 lists per month. 

50 months is 4 years and 2 months, which leaves me some extra months "just in case".