Book Club: November 2012 – The House of Silk & The Last Lecture

The House of Silk, Book Review, Anthony Horrowitz

We struck out for this month’s choices and went for two books. The first The House of Silkis Anthony Horowitz’s take on a new Sherlock Holmes novel.

“It is November 1890 and London is gripped by a
merciless winter. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are enjoying tea by the fire when an agitated gentleman arrives unannounced at 221b Baker Street. He begs Holmes for help, telling the unnerving story of a scar-faced man with piercing eyes who has stalked him in recent weeks.

Intrigued by the man’s tale, Holmes and Watson find themselves swiftly drawn into a series of puzzling and sinister events, stretching from the gas-lit streets of London to the teeming criminal underworld of Boston. As the pair delve deeper into the case, they stumble across a whispered phrase ‘the House of Silk’: a mysterious entity and foe more deadly than any Holmes has encountered, and a conspiracy that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of society

The majority of members were very positive about the new novel. Admitting that they had never read any of the originals, and being drawn into the mystery very quickly. The discussion led us to conclude that many of the characters had multiple layers and seemingly insignificant details all had a purpose by the end of the novel. For example Holmes asking one character if his wife could swim, resulted in a very significant conclusion and key to unravelling the mystery. Although set circa 100 years ago, many issues within the novel are still as shocking in present day.

A very clever homage to the original texts. The subject matter was rather a shock to me when it was revealed what the House of Silk turned out to be. Loved the discussion of the group, to hear other peoples opinions and interpretations.
Cara – 4/5

Here’s what the other members had to say:

An extremely well written book, true to the original stories re; Sherlock and Watson. Detailed and thought provoking. However I found the interestingly up to date storyline disturbing and unpleasant. Anne - 4/5

This really had the voice of the originals. Great portrayal of Homes and Watson. Deb - 5/5

I think the author felt pressured to stretch a Sherlock Holmes story out to a full novel. The result feels like two stories mixed into one. Which can be a bit confusion. Kate - 3/5

A rip-roaring tale in the style of Sherlock Holmes. Some aspects of the finale were disappointing but overall I really enjoyed the book. Morven-4/5

I thought Horowitz did a good job of keeping the tone and dialect true to the original stories. An easy read, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it . Cathy-3/5

The second book up for discussion was The Last Lectureby Randy Pausch. This book was based on an actual lecture given by Randy Pausch when he knew he had incurable pancreatic cancer. It was a very inspirational look on our childhood dreams and how we should pursue them. Some of us hadn’t actually read the book but had watched the lecture on You Tube here.

A bit cheesy but thought provoking and a few pearls of wisdom. Worth a quick read. Cathy-4/5

I loved this book (and the YouTube video). I found it very uplifting and a chance to evaluate your own life to make changes for the better. Morven-5/5

Lovely legacy for his children. Worth a read. Rhona-4/5

Worth a watch. Deb

Moving and inspiring, a lecture courageously given as a professor comes to face his imminent death at a young age. For me, many messages are available having watched the lecture on YouTube. You will take from this what you need to. Anne-5/5

Uplifting, inspiring and scattered with good advice. Very moving read/watch. Kath-3/5

As the choice of two books worked well we decided to do this again for our January meeting. The book choices are The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore. We will be discussing them at 7.30pm on 16th January 2013 at The Pavilion Bar, Ruskin Leisure, Ruskin Drive, St Helens, WA10 6RP.

Sue Morris will be leading the January group. Anyone wishing to lead future group sessions, please shout.

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