February is the shortest month of the year. In Canada, as we freeze through another Polar Vortex, it feels like the longest. And yet last month I read all of two books.
The first book took me about 25 or so days to read. I'm not slacking, really. This missive was over 4500 pages. War and Peace? No. The Complete Sherlock Holmes. Four novels and 56 short stories later you can ask me anything about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous sleuth. It was a satisfying read. Each time I picked it up it was like returning to a couple of old friends…Holmes and his sidekick Watson. The stories were written between 1880 and 1914.
The other book I zipped through at the end of the month was The King In Yellow. The internet has been mad about this book recently as it forms the basis of the influences of Nic Pizzolatto, author of the hit series True Detective, a deep, dark twisted crime noir effort.
The King in Yellow was written by Robert W. Chambers in 1895. It's a collection of horror stories many of which have macabre elements and twist endings. It is said to have influenced other writers, HP Lovecraft among them. I found it to be somewhat in the style of Edgar Allan Poe. I liked it. Until now, this work has been virtually unknown. But with it's links to True Detective sales of the book have shot through the roof.
So Chambers it seems was a contemporary of Conan Doyle. And my reading both collections this month was quite serendipitous. As well, both books were free in iBooks - a definite plus. I see, however, that Amazon is now charging close to $14 for the hard cover version. Their Kindle edition is selling for just under $9.
So if we take the 8 books I read in January, I've now read 10 books this year.