Posted in 2017, Book Review, Reading Challenge

Reading Challenge: Nos. 4 & 5

I cheated a little.

#4 challenge was “A book with a color in the title”.

Whilst searching for such a book, I wanted something kind of short, frankly.   We’re so busy in the garden that I’ve gone into REM before I can get in my usual bedtime reading, but I’m determined to complete this challenge.   When I came across “A Study in Scarlet”, 108 pages of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I was delighted.  I had read several Sherlock Holmes mysteries, but not this one, and it just so happened to be the First!  To top it off as an inspired choice,

#5 on the challenge is “A book that’s more than 100 years old”, so I get a twofer…

Plus, I love detective stories starring old-fashioned sleuths like Nero Wolfe, Hercule Poirot, and, of course, Sherlock Holmes. Holmes has been the most portrayed fictional character in film history: 75 actors have played him in 211 movies. Having seen many of those movies before I read the books, I pictured him as Basil Rathbone, a fella who never did much for me, so I judged them a little stuffy.  It wasn’t until Benedict Cumberbatch and the excellent BBC series “Sherlock” that I picked up a collection and, envisioning Cumberbatch, fell in love with Sir A.C. Doyle’s cerebral detective.

A Study in Scarlet (1888)

Ward, Lock & Co. published the first separate book edition of A Study in Scarlet in July 1888.  This small and fragile 7×5 inch book had paper covers glued to the spine and included six line drawings for the story by Charles Doyle, the author’s father.  Shown here is the rare first impression.  A second impression, issued in March 1889, came with a slightly different cover.


Study in Scarlet 1888 Ward Lock cover


A Study in Scarlet, 1888, First British Edition.

Lent by Dr. Constantine Rossakis.

Photo © Private Library of Constantine Rossakis, M.D.

(from the website


Can you imagine a time when Sherlock Holmes hadn’t been created?  Detective fiction started with the 1841 publication of Poe’s “Murder in the Rue Morgue”, featuring the brilliant and eccentric C. Auguste Dupin.  There were some others following, but it’s intriguing to imagine what an impact this story made to our reading world.

 Part one of this very first Sherlock Holmes story is subtitled

Being a reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D., Late of the Army Medical Department.  

 Watson is a British surgeon whose health was ruined in one of those unending wars in Afghanistan.  He’s drifting around, lost and depressed.  He needs a flatmate, as does Holmes, and they are brought together by a mutual friend.  From the first, Sherlock is already Sherlock, seeing clues and putting them together instinctively to Wow the room with his brilliant deductions.  Watson is amazed at his jaw-dropping genius.  It all goes along and Sherlock solves the crime…but…Suddenly, you are in Part Two, subtitled

The Country of the Saints

 This is a totally different book full of Mormons and frontiersmen and no Sherlock.  I almost thought that there had been a problem with the printing and another book had been mistakenly placed there, but I kept reading.  I was transported to another time, another place.  Somehow everything ended up coming together and this story is as riveting as the happenings on Baker St.

You ought to read it.  It’s great.  And it took me a lot less time to read than it did to write this post.  I actually finished it up last week and am now working on

 #6 of the challenge…A Book you chose for the cover…

I’m reading “Lincoln in the Bardo” because its cover said “Lincoln in the Bardo” and that is a book I want to read…

I’ll tell you all about it later…


Posted in 2017, Reading Challenge, Winter at Sonnystone

Reading Challenge, anyone?

Attention, Readers!  Are you wondering what to read next?

My favorite used-book store, Better World Books,  put out an interesting 2017 Reading Challenge.  Instead of them assigning you some books to read, you pick your own from their prompt.  They started the first of the year, so they are well ahead of us, but we could start now and see how many of the 25 challenges we complete before the end of the year..!  I have tried to link you to the list, but the best I can do is to link you to the blog and you’ll have to dig a little for it here

Let’s get started!  I’m headed to the library to choose a book to fulfill the first challenge:

Read a food memoir…

Ideas?  Suggestions?  What are You going to read?

Posted in Sonnystone Summer Spectacular

I’m with the Wizard…


If you’re a reader, you love a good series as much as I do.  My son introduced me to The Dresden Files series a couple of years back.  They are fantasy/mystery type novels, written by Jim Butcher, starring a Wizard/private investigator of the supernatural named Harry Dresden.  He deals with all manner of vampires, werewolves, faeries, and humans, too, barely surviving multiple whupp-ass assaults.  When I started reading them, he had already written 13 and was about to come out with #14, so I had the luxury of reading them back to back.   Then, THud…

I’ve waited almost 2 years for this one (#15)  to be published, griping as they pushed back the date of release repeatedly.  When I saw that it was Really Really going to be released 5/27, I started reviewing the last 2 so I’d be ready to plunge in…

I waited, still reviewing, till last night and I figured I’d just go ahead and download it, just to look at it…  I was up until my eyelids could no longer be propped up and my hands kept dropping my kindle…

That’s the plan for today, folks….Reading Skin Games…  And there’s nothing better I could wish for you than that you have a good book to read, as well.  Enjoy!



Posted in Uncategorized

just one more cup…

We got new carpet laid yesterday…in the dining room adjacent to the living room.  This floor has always been wood, so it has taken me 10 years to quash the guilt and cover it.  I like wood floors as much as anybody, but this floor had a large (inherited)  sun-stain the size of an oval rug,  as well as my contribution of water-stains.  A fella came in a couple of years ago and helped us wax and shine them, but he said then that they needed to be sanded and completely revamped.   While that might have been less $$ than carpet, I HATE  cleaning wood floors. (don’t get me started about cleaning ladies again).   So I’ve spent the last 2-3 days in a mess, and now I can put it all away, obsessing  over each little arrangement of Stuff on the shelves, placing my beloved junque just-so…

The Sun is Shining!!  After last year’s drought, I’ve learned to appreciate the rain, but  this Spring is tediously wet.  While I admit it gives me time to get some of this indoor stuff done, I’ve had to be very creative when it comes to getting in my walking…but I am keeping up.

The Summer Reading Program, wherein I stated I was going nook-free, is a bust.  I just can’t do it…  I finished up Little Women and have some good books from the library.  Right away I noticed that I have to use reading glasses for Real Books, so I bought up 3 pair and have them scattered throughout the house, ready to read…  Right now I’m about 1/3 through Wild  (Cheryl Strayed) and like it, but I couldn’t resist downloading another Nero Wolfe yesterday and finished it up in a day…  I’m sounding a little bit lazy, here, aren’t I?

We’ve got some music on the agenda again this week:  WC Handy Blues Festival is On over in Henderson and we’ll be having a little family outing on Wednesday.  In the meantime, I’ve got to get the dust off the dishes…

good day

Posted in Uncategorized

Public Service Announcement…

I am proud to announce an addition to my family of blogs: Rave On Madwoman. The site was born quite a while back, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say…couldn’t find Her Voice, you might say. I did some Live Blogging there on Election Night, 2012, so you may have visited at that time. It has been completely revamped and is ready to be the movie, book, music review arm of my blogging. I’m also planning to publish some interviews there. Sonnystone Acres will return to being a journal of my home and family life. Growing Every Season, my gardening blog, will continue to keep you caught up with my growing habits…

I’ll be connecting Rave On to Facebook, so my FB friends can decide whether to click the link or not. To my fellow bloggers who have followed me because of my scintillating movie reviews…please follow me over to

Thanks so much!!