The Hound of the Baskervilles

Okay, so The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of Doyle’s four novels about Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson and their extraordinarily exciting adventures. Furthermore, it is the third and longest novel about Sherlock Holmes that I have yet to read. I have read a few (more like half) of the 56 short stories so I was interested to see whether I would find this longer novel to be too long. It wasn’t.

In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes is met with a seemingly sinister and supernatural case. The late Charles Baskerville is believed to have been killed by a devil-beast in the form of a hound. There is a legend among the Baskervilles about the hound and all descendants are warned never to venture out into the moor when dark outside. Now, after the death of Charles Baskerville, his only heir seeks the help of Sherlock Holmes and his trusty right hand man, Watson.

What I really liked about this novel is that I had no idea of what to expect from the plot and storyline. There were things that I found to be fishy but it wasn’t one of those novels where you already know the ending two chapters in. What really held my interest was the hound. Having read a quite a few of the Sherlock Holmes stories resulted in me thinking “But it can’t be an actual supernatural beast! I mean, it’s Sherlock Holmes!”. However, during most of the book, I was truly in doubt. Now, I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that I found it to be well thought of and to be pulled off well.
One of my only complaints of this particular Sherlock Holmes novel was the absence of Sherlock Holmes in the middle of the novel. But I loved the way in which he reentered the story! Holmes is such an interesting and amusing character and I just love the dynamic between him and Watson! So, for me, a bit of this dynamic was lacking (just automatically as Holmes wasn’t there) but even thought Holmes didn’t join Watson in the countryside, we still see signs of the dynamic:

“I am certainly developing the wisdom of the serpent, for when Mortimer pressed his questions to an inconvenient extent I asked him casually to what type Frankland’s skull belonged, and so heard nothing but craniology for the rest of our drive. I have not lived for years with Sherlock Holmes for nothing.”

Something about this made me laugh—out loud. I think it’s the though of Watson being all sneaky and distracting Holmes by something as simple as asking him a question about something he finds interesting. Anyhow, even though I would have liked a bit more Watson-Holmes comedy, I really liked the novel! There was a bit of romance, a bit of intrigue, some horror and grit. As always, not all was as it appeared (obviously a pretty standard feature in a mystery novel) but it was very fun to figure it all out.

****

I give this novel four stars. If it had had a little bit more of Sherlock Holmes, it probably would have been 4.5 stars but there’s no use crying over spilled milk (And Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is way too far away to care). It’s just a really great read! So if you’re thinking about reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, I would definitely recommend it! Have you read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories or novels? Which was your favorite? Let me know!

–Dzenana

 

Gone Girl (and the Cool Girl)

By Signe

Gone Girl (2012), a thriller novel written by Gillian Flynn, is possibly her most famous novel. I’ve read multiple of her other titles, but none have moved me as much as Gone Girl. Admittedly, I do find myself ambiguously loving and loathing (although loathing might be too strong a word to use here) this book, but, in retrospect, Gone Girl was also one of the books that I’ve read the fastest because I simply couldn’t put it away. Let’s be honest—any book lovers out there—is there really a better feeling than that? As I finished the book, I also physically threw it across the floor (possibly scaring my then-roommate a bit) because that seemed like the only rational reaction after reading that ending. Now, I won’t spoil too much of the book (admittedly, I probably will), as I’ve decided to focus this review on the function, notion and concept of the “Cool Girl”.

Amy and Nick Dunne are a dysfunctionally married couple. None of them are supposed to be reliable sources (the book is divided into three—Amy, Nick and the truth), and so when the perfect wife Amy disappears the reader automatically believes that Nick killed her. However, when Nick tells his side, we learn that he cheated on her and so our picture of him crumples, and I found myself asking—did he really do it?

  What is at the epitome of this novel, however, is why Amy disappeared. She lived a seemingly perfect life in a perfect suburb with a perfect man, and I realised that maybe this perfection drew her to commit such a crime. Because in truth, framing your husband for the murder of yourself is one of the cruellest acts (especially if we consider how she did it—for instance, she wrote a fake journal depicting her life with a violent man), and so, nobody believed Nick when he said he didn’t kill her. This might propose that what Flynn is actually trying to say is that when marriages or relationships fall apart we might resort to crazy things to keep up appearances or get out of it as the superior one. However, if you’ve read the book, you’ll also know that nobody gets away from this marriage. And why is that?

Perfectionist Amy is obsessed with being a “Cool Girl” (and this is also my absolute favourite quote from the book!):

“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl. Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: ‘I like strong women.’ If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because ‘I like strong women’ is code for ‘I hate strong women.’)”

And although I deeply apologise for such a long quote, it’s also important. Thus, Amy’s obsession with being a “Cool Girl” is a result of the direct opposite—she’s tired of being a “Cool Girl” because there’s no substance to it. As much as she tries to be, her husband doesn’t value her efforts (or doesn’t care), and so a “Cool Girl” is the reflection and performance of being a perfect female. And so, I think we ought to look at bit more at Amy’s actions and try to abandon the manipulative aspect—because she herself was manipulated into being someone that she’s not.

Amy Dunne grew up as “Amazing Amy”. Her parents wrote a children’s novel based on her, and so, for all her life she’s been fictionalized and an object, and so, when her marriage to Nick reached a critical point and a realization that her objectification was inescapable, she decided to write her own story and give up the “Cool Girl” act—because she no longer found herself willing to put up with Nick.

As mentioned in the introduction, this is such an ambiguous book to me because I really loved it (although I hated the ending—which to be honest, I probably shouldn’t—and so maybe I’ll revisit it after this post). But what I loved most was how on-edge Flynn puts her readers and it’s almost like I was an active part of telling this story, and I find that to be very unique and I cannot recall if I’ve ever had that sensation or experience after finishing Gone Girl again. As such, I’ll give this book four out of five stars.

****

OUR TBR FOR 2017

Hey Bad Book Bitches!

Another day, another post (are we allowed to write this, considering the fact that we only have two posts on the blog?!). Anyhow, this is our TBR for 2017! These are the books that we want to read because they sound awesome or interesting. Now, we won’t necessarily read all of them and we won’t necessarily only read the books on this list! (Actually, we’re currently both reading books that aren’t on the list). But these are books we soooo do want to read!

Since we have different literary interest, this list will be divided into two:

Signe:

  • Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguru
  • The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
  • Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
  • A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown
  • Tony and Susan by Austin Wright
  • Difficult Women by Roxanne Gay
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

 

Dzenana:

  • Raven’s Shadow Trilogy by Anthony Ryan
    • Blood Song
    • The Tower Lord
    • The Queen of Fire
  • The Hounds of the Baskerville by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
    • The Assassin’s Apprentice
    • Royal Assassin
    • Assassin’s Quest
  • The Riyria Revelations Trilogy by Michael J. Sullivan
    • Theft of Swords
    • Rise of Empire
    • Heir of Novron
  • The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King (The Dark Tower #2)
  • A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #3)
  • The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin
    • The Passage
    • The Twelve
    • The City of Mirrors
  • Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children #3)
  • Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken (Passenger #2)
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzin

 

What are you guys reading? What is on your TBR? What is just THE book of the year for you?

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