“shown himself for over twenty years” [NOBL]
Invariably, the first question we ask our interview guests on the I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere podcast is “When did you first meet Sherlock Holmes?”
While the same question may be tiresome, the variety in the answers we receive is not.
Some have been influenced by popular media, depending on their age and viewing habits: Basil Rathbone on Saturday matinee showings on TV, the Granada series starring Jeremy Brett, The Great Mouse Detective, Sherlock — everyone's Sherlock Holmes on screen varies.
Then there are those who were introduced from a couple of short stories in school, most often "The Red-Headed League" and "The Speckled Band."
And of course, the lucky few who discovered William Baring-Gould's The Annotated Sherlock Holmes.
How we envy those who read the stories for the very first time!
Which brings us to a recent "By the Book" column in The New York Times, in which Rick Rubin was interviewed. [Link to gift article]
He was asked:
What book should everybody read before the age of 21?
Sherlock Holmes is great, the earlier the better. The stories are engaging and they train readers to look deeply into all they see. A great primer for awareness practice.
We certainly don't object to Rubin's recommendation. He's absolutely correct that the stories are rich in detail, although we don't all see the same things that Holmes did until after they're explained. Or we at least don't observe.
But we'd also argue that Sherlock Holmes stories should be read later in life as well. For it is only then that we can appreciate the depth of friendship, the nuances of relationships, the societal inequities, the more significant elements of the human psyche that are at work. It's part of what we talk about on the Trifles podcast.
The Sherlock Holmes stories tell us so much about life; it takes living a certain amount of life to appreciate the depth and breadth of it all.
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention this truth about rereading books:
“When you reread a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than there was before.” — Clifton Fadiman