Basil of Baker Street

Wednesday reading — career paths

What I've been reading

I read They Found Him Dead, another delightful Georgette Heyer mystery.

I read Basil of Baker Street, the first in the series of books that Disney's Great Mouse Detective is loosely based on. It does feature two of the same plot points: a young girl being kidnapped (or, in this case, twins) and Basil and Dawson going undercover disguised as sailors, although it is notably lacking in clockwork monarchs or rat master criminals. The mystery is not especially compelling but I thought Basil's Holmesian deductions were well done, especially for a book aimed at younger children with adorable mice illustrations.

I read Stoner, which in spite of the title and the fact that it was originally published in 1965 is not about cannabis culture. I don't generally seek out books about college professors who have affairs, which I am given to understand glut the market, but this one was reprinted by NYRB Classics, which is always enough to at least get me to pick up a book, and also it is set at the University of Missouri in Columbia, which is somewhere that I have visited many times. Like I said, I haven't actually read any of these other books that might be loosely considered in the same genre, but they sound like terrible self-indulgent self-inserts, and this book was not that. It's excellent, in a pretty depressing sort of way.

I read Standing Into Danger: A Dramatic Story of Shipwreck and Rescue, about a convoy of American ships that wrecked on the coast of Newfoundland on 18 February 1942. My grandfather was among the survivors from the Pollux, but he died while my dad was still a kid and I had only the sketchiest idea how it went down. It turns out that the entire incident was a massive clusterfuck and that I owe my eventual existence to a pretty small group of badass Newfoundlanders who undertook an amazing rescue effort. It's a well-written account, illustrated with plenty of photographs and diagrams of the positions of the ships, and also defends the poor suckers who basically got scapegoated for the wreck while their superior officers skated.

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