Lyndsay Faye, Sherlock Holmes and The Whole Art of Detection



I'm a long-time fan of Lyndsay Faye's work: her Timothy Wilde trilogy rang all my historical fiction bells, and I loved the cleverness of Jane Steele. And so it was an honor to be able to interview her about her newest book, The Whole Art of Detection, a collection of Sherlockian stories that perfectly capture the essence of Doyle's original tales:

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Interview with Lyndsay Faye


Lyndsay Faye has been reading Sherlock stories since she was 10. "I loved them," she says, "and then I never actually stopped reading them. Lacking the Internet, it wasn't until I was a teenager that I discovered there was such a thing as pastiches and fan fiction out there. Then I read as much of the non-canonical material as I could find--probably thousands of stories at this point, no joke." 


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Review of The Whole Art of Detection


The 15 stories in Lyndsay Faye's The Whole Art of Detection will prove purely delightful for fans of the original adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. With two entirely new stories, and 13 others culled from previous anthologies and magazine contributions, the collection stands as a tribute to Faye's way with words and witticisms, both of which combine to reinvigorate Holmes and Watson (as well as their surrounding casts of miscreants, assistants and unassuming bystanders).

The Stranger in the Woods: Giving Context and Meaning to the Life of a Modern Hermit


Michael Finkel has an interesting past as a journalist. Once a reporter for the New York Times (he was fired after it was revealed that he created a composite subject out of many sources), his first book, True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa, told the story of a fugitive who used the name "Michael Finkel" as an alias while on the run from police--a true (if stranger than fiction) story. His newest book, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, is once again a true tale that feels stranger than fiction, detailing the solitary life of Christopher Knight, who lived (voluntarily) as a hermit in the Maine woods for 27 years.

Week in Reading (and Running): April 9th

two hikers sleeping on rocks overlooking the potomac river on the appalachian trail
Caught Lounging: Two Hikers on the AT

This past week was a recovery week in more ways than one: after last weekend's back-to-back high-mileage runs (totaling 26 miles in two days), the training plan for this week called for two easy-paced 45-minute runs and only 8 miles for yesterday. I ran two easy-paced 30 minute runs, did a session at the physical therapists, and barely eked out 5.5 miles on Saturday's run before calling it a dud; despite the low mileage all week, my legs were still absolutely exhausted and just would not get themselves into gear. After the dud run and a short hike yesterday (see photo above), today is all rest, rest, rest, stretch, and a bit more rest. Like Tara said in her running recap this week, someone remind me to keep up these PT and stretching exercises post-injury, yeah? They're exhausting but I think it's probably telling that they are so. Race day in T-3 weeks. But who's counting?

Social Justice Book Club: Q&A with Sonia Nazario


Sonia Nazario, author of Enrique's Journey (the March pick for the Social Justice Book Club) answered a few club questions for us to add on to the discussion of her book (see my recap of the month here).

Social Justice Book Club: Enrique's Journey, by Sonia Nazario


Another month gone, another Social Justice Book Club book under our belts. In March, the group read Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite With His Mother, by Sonia Nazario. The book, originally published in 2006, was revised and updated in 2014 to reflect the ever-changing story of immigration in the United States from Central America. The story began as a series in the Los Angeles Times (for which Nazario received a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing), and offers an in-depth account of one boy's journey from Honduras to reunite with his mother in the United States, often atop dangerous freight trains surging through Mexico.

Looking Back: March Wrap-Up

three photos in a row: the first of a view of tree tops and a river taken from a high point on the appalachian trail, the second a sunset over an island in the carribbean with beams of light shooting up and a sailboat heading into the distance, and the third of a small brown dog looking at a pack of cows from the other side of a farmyard fence on a grey, cloudy day

In like a lion, out like a lamb... with a small snowstorm thrown in the middle somewhere around there. Said snowstorm meant a cancelled return flight from our sun-soaked vacation, which meant a few extra days of mandatory vacation reading, but despite the built-in reading time, this month still felt vaguely slump-like in the long run. Hoping for some seriously good reads to kick me out of it in April, but in the meantime, let's not overlook what was good about last month:

Jami Attenberg, Old and New

side by side image of the covers of two Jami Attenberg novels (The Middlesteins and All Grown Up) with "Jami Attenberg: Old and New" overlaid

I recently, entirely accidentally, read two Jami Attenberg books simultaneously: The Middlesteins and All Grown Up. Both were impressive examples of Attenberg's powers of observation and her ability to write about the mundane, the everyday, the ordinary in ways that feel unique, universal, and extraordinary. Both are packed with an emotional depth and honesty that resonated with me in ways I'm still working out.

But at the end of the day, I loved the former and struggled through the latter. I've spent the last week muddling over why, and I still have no clear answer. So I want to know: have you read these both? Did you love them? Hate them? Want to fall into them or throw them against a wall?