This week’s book giveaway is On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling by Michael Dirda.
A passionate lifelong fan of the Sherlock Holmes adventures, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Michael Dirda is a member of The Baker Street Irregulars—the most famous and romantic of all Sherlockian groups. Combining memoir and appreciation, On Conan Doyle is a highly engaging personal introduction to Holmes’s creator, as well as a rare insider’s account of the curiously delightful activities and playful scholarship of The Baker Street Irregulars.
Because Arthur Conan Doyle wrote far more than the mysteries involving Holmes, this book also introduces readers to the author’s lesser-known but fascinating writings in an astounding range of other genres. A prolific professional writer, Conan Doyle was among the most important Victorian masters of the supernatural short story, an early practitioner of science fiction, a major exponent of historical fiction, a charming essayist and memoirist, and an outspoken public figure who attacked racial injustice in the Congo, campaigned for more liberal divorce laws, and defended wrongly convicted prisoners. He also wrote novels about both domestic life and contemporary events (including one set in the Middle East during an Islamic uprising), as well as a history of World War I, and, in his final years, controversial tracts in defense of spiritualism.
On Conan Doyle describes all of these achievements and activities, uniquely combining skillful criticism with the story of Dirda’s deep and enduring affection for Conan Doyle and his work. This is a book for everyone who already loves Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and the world of 221B Baker Street, or for anyone who would like to know more about them, but it is also a much-needed celebration of Arthur Conan Doyle’s genius for every kind of storytelling.
“Imagine having a really unbelievably well-read friend, who likes the same stuff that you do but is able to articulate why he loves it so much better than you can. And while explaining it points you at a hundred books and authors you’d love but haven’t heard of or have never got around to reading. And who makes you feel, by the end of his explanation, as if you’ve been inaugurated into a secret society of people who love what can be done with words. And somewhere on the way he will teach you everything you need to know about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Sherlock Holmes, and the mysteries of The Baker Street Irregulars. That’s who Michael Dirda is, and that’s what this book does.”—Neil Gaiman
“Michael Dirda is a very dangerous man. His delight—his life’s work—is to declare his adoration for some literary gem with such passion, and such precision, we cannot help being infected. On Conan Doyle traces the arc of one such love affair, from a childhood flashlit encounter with A Gigantic Hound to black-tie dinners with The Baker Street Irregulars. The danger, of course, is that once we read this seductive love letter, we’ll end up enthralled not just with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but also with Michael Dirda.”—Laurie R. King
The random draw for this book with be Friday 11/18 at 3 pm EST. Be sure to “Like” us on Facebook if you haven’t already to be entered to win!