Atlas Shrugged, written by Ayn Rand, is by far the longest book I have ever read. At approximately 645,000 words, it is quite the undertaking. For comparison, it is 2.5X as long as the largest Harry Potter book (“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”), which sits at 257,045 words. According to Wikipedia, Atlas Shrugged is the 20th largest novel of all-time (9th longest novel written in English).
In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides is a book that I could not recommend more about the perils of Arctic exploration.
The book is the unbelievable true story of the USS Jeannette. Its captain, George Washington De Long, embarks on a mission to reach the North Pole, as no explorers had yet done. Their voyage is like nothing I have ever read about or seen — in life or on screen.
I, like many others, am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes. My experience in getting to know the numerous stories, however, is different than most. Instead of starting with the books, my first experience of Sherlock Holmes was from the movie titled . . . Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey and Jude Law.
The Hollywood movies were good and stimulated my appetite for the stories but were by far the worst depiction of Sherlock Holmes I have yet to experience.
I then moved on to the books — undeniably classic stories. Certainly a must-read series for people of all ages and walks of life. However, the books are not the best! Gasp! Instead, the best version of the Sherlock Holmes stories I have yet to discover is Sherlock, the BBC series.
Feel free to comment below if you agree or disagree. You must have actually seen the BBC series to be able to judge it, of course.
The following are the many reasons why Sherlock (the BBC series) is by far the best version of Sherlock Holmes:
- The already virtually perfect characters, Sherlock and Watson, are further perfected (if that makes sense). Every piece of dialogue is carefully delivered and well thought-out and helps to develop other dimensions of Sherlock and Watson beyond the books. Although the dialogue in the books is incredible, it does have its flaws. For example, the way in which Sherlock Holmes comes to deliver his genius deductions sometimes seems a bit forced, in the interest of the reader. These explanations are done with somewhat more grace in the TV series.
- The series is modernized in a genius way. The way in which the series incorporates modern technology and circumstances into a story as old as Sherlock Holmes is nothing short of brilliant. Letters become texts, journals become blogs, and deductive processes include modern forensics. Much of the original charm is maintained while the show manages to rocket the series forward by more than a century.
- The show is funnier! At least somewhat so. The Sherlock Holmes series is not known for being particularly comedic but it is one of the only imperfections of the book series. After reading Catch 22, I have developed a taste for comedy, even in a serious story. Comedy helps round out a masterpiece, in my opinion.
- What was perfection before, remains perfection now. Almost everything that made the original Sherlock Holmes stories great has been maintained, with the points mentioned above added to polish what was already a perfect series.
Don’t take my word for it! Take a look at the Sherlock Holmes BBC series. You will be glad you did.
P.s. if you haven’t read the books, there is a great complete Sherlock Holmes Collection available in hardcopy and digital format that I can vouch for.