Sherlock Holmes: “The Reigate Puzzle”

Summary: Sherlock is recovering from a very stressful case (that I wish I’d gotten to read about instead), so he goes to the country to relax. There, he hears of a series of break-ins that result in a murder. Sherlock is convinced to help, and solves the mystery by faking symptoms of his illness to prove his deductions. The “victims” of the second burglary had committed the first one to get some papers that would get them out of debt and then pretended to rob their own place to put them out of suspicion. They had been seen, though, and had to kill the witness. They almost kill Sherlock, but Watson and the police save him.

Sherlock Rating: Somewhat exciting. It was a good read while standing in line at Disney World, but there was nothing remarkable about it.

Mystery Story Convention: The victim as the criminal. Who would we least suspect to be the bad guy? The victim. Except this has happened so much in stories that I always suspect the victim now.

War and Peace Saturday: Chapters 176-182/183-189

I’m back from vacation. I’d say it’s nice to be home, but I’m dog/house-sitting now, so I’m not actually at home. Vacation was very fun, and I don’t particularly want to go back to work, but at least I only have two more weeks of summer session left!

Okay, so I did my reading for vacation weeks, and I’m just going to post for both of them here.

First: Chapters 176-182

Andrew is in the thick of war politics while he waits to report to the Emperor. He notices that there are 9 separate “parties” trying to influence the course of the war. Russian personality observation: “A Russian is self-assured just because he knows nothing and does not want to know anything, since he does not believe that anything can be known.” Doesn’t seem too flattering, but it was more flattering than some of other observations Tolstoy gave on other nationalities. So, anyway, the Emperor asks Andrew to stay as an adviser, but Andrew asks to serve in the army instead, which apparently gets him cut off from the Emperor and politics and all that, which I think is good, because now maybe there won’t be so many political sections.

Then we switch to Nicholas Rostov, who is now in command of his own unit. Nick sees some action and captures an enemy soldier, which gives him some uncomfortable moral pangs.

Chapters 183-189

Now we’re back to the rest of the Rostovs. Natasha has taken her time recovering from the sickness that resulted from her romantic embarrassment. She’s turned to religion to help her get through it. Then we are subjected to a very long prayer about the war, which is not going well.

Then we see Pierre, who is quite in love with Natasha, but is able to keep from acting on it by resorting to his other sins, drinking, gambling, etc. Pierre has heard a prophesy that ties Napoleon to the 666 in Revelation. He feels that he will be an important player in this prophesy and manipulates the “code” so his name is also tied to Napoleon’s. He feels like he should enlist in the army, but continues to do nothing so that he can fill his supposed great purpose when the time comes.

A note on fashion: Unsurprisingly, speaking French is no longer fashionable. I found it interesting that all the nobility have different uniforms they wear to special events, and the uniforms relate to different Emperors’ reigns.

Well, that’s all for today. Time to walk the dogs!

War and Peace Saturday: Chapters 169-175

War has begun again. People at the time blame each other, and historians blame multiple causes. Tolstoy claims that no cause in itself was enough justification for any of the awful things that happened in the war. I think society must get collective PMS at some points and just can’t stand to be around each other until it erupts into a bloody mess. (Sorry for the disgusting graphic, but that’s what that first war chapter kept making me think.)

Napoleon provokes Russia by crossing over its borders and some rivers with his army. When Emperor Nicholas tells him to retreat, he refuses and gets all angry and self-righteous. From those chapters I got the idea that Tolstoy didn’t really have a high opinion of Napoleon or Nicholas, but seems to like Napoleon less. He doesn’t really favor any of his characters, though. He does a great job of making them all seem human.

Then we go to Andrew, who, as I suspected is far from over his loss of Natasha. (There are a lot of “N” names in this section I just noticed). He has a strong desire to duel Anatole (And there’s 2 “A” names), but he doesn’t think stealing Natasha is a good enough reason, so he plans to just make one up if he ever catches him. Anatole keeps running for him, and Andrew tries to distract himself by getting involved in the war efforts, but he still can’t help thinking about his anger toward Anatole. His brain is trying to keep him rational and just forget about it all, but his heart keeps wanting to right the wrong, which for him means dueling. The good part is that because of this he sees his dad as a big jerk for the first time. Yet he still leaves his kid there to be raised by his crazy sister and with all that tension and mental torture going on…

Anyway, that’s the story so far. It’s still going well. It’s funny but this is the first time I had the thought, “You know, this book seems to be broken in sections. First we see everyone in their normal lives, at peace, and then there’s a war, and then it’s back to peace…” Then I remembered what the title was and felt pretty stupid for not noticing any of that sooner 🙂

Well, that’s all for now. I need to finish packing for my vacation!!!!

Workout Playlist: Vacation!

My vacation is finally almost here! I’m so excited! As you might recall, I made a goal of “getting in my best shape ever” for my vacation a while back to try to keep me motivated. It didn’t work as well as I’d hoped, though I’ve at least managed to get really serious for the last two weeks and have seen some results in the right direction. I do think that I’m in the best athletic-shape I’ve ever been in thanks to kettle bell and this playlist, so that’s a plus.

What has helped the most, besides the ticking clock of my vacation is the variety offered by kettle bell and workout playlists, and lately, this great new app for my great new phone: Zombies, Run! I’ve even given you the link so you can check it out for yourself, because I’ve even become willing to run in my boring condo’s parking lot early in the morning so I can play it!

But I don’t want to slack off on my vacation and have a huge backslide, especially since we’re doing a road trip and I’ll be sitting a lot on the way there and back, so I’ve made a workout playlist to do in the hotel room in the morning while I’m waiting for my brother to be ready to go. My mom might look at me funny, but she’ll get used to it.

So here it is:

Machine gun–“This is Letting Go” Rise Against
Plank (w/ twist)–“Anything, Anything” Lucky Boys Confusion
Lunges–“My Best Theory” Jimmy Eat World
Push-ups/Tricep lifts–“Greed” Patrick Stump
Jumping Jacks–“Ain’t Nothing Wrong with That” Robert Randolph and the Family Band
Sit-ups/Oblique–“You’re Going Down” Sick Puppies
Squats–“One Foot” Fun.
Leg Lifts–“Miss Murder” AFI
Machine Gun/Push-up–“Vampire Money” My Chemical Romance
Plank–“Easy Target” Blink 182
Cool Down–“Wish You Were Here” Incubus

In other news, I probably won’t post much while on vacation (if at all), but I plan to do a lot of reading. (I’ve almost used up the entirety of my reserved Nook giftcards). So I will be having lots of fun. I hope you all do too! Here’s to a great my vacation to you all!

War and Peace (Tuesday) Chapters 162-168

So, as I’d warned a few posts back, my summer schedule is a bit wonky, and I didn’t get the chance to read at all last week, but I caught up for last week today.

So, things were looking bad for little Natasha. She was planning to run away with a married man and ruin her life. But her friend Sonya found out and told on her, and the plot was foiled. Natasha crumpled for a while and even tried to kill herself. Pierre was called in to help out, since he is a friend of both the Rostovs and the Bolkonskis.

Natasha was really bad off at first, and frankly, her behavior with this Anatole jerk made me like her less again. I keep going back and forth on her. Sometimes she seems really smart and intuitive and sometimes she’s just an idiot. As a little time passed and she learned that Anatole was already married, she recovered and started acting more mature.

And we saw Andrew’s side as well. I think he was really hurt by it, but he acted really haughty and even cruel. I think underneath he’s really hurting and is covering it up with talk of politics and such. At least that’s the idea I get from him by the way he refuses to even talk about it anymore. He reminds me of the character Kaiba from the cartoon show Yu-Gi-Oh I love. That’s probably why I like Andrew.

Anyway things in this plot circle have been patched up and seem to have circled back to the way they used to be–just in time for the story to move on to a new section/period of history. A new war is starting, and though the last chapter of this section deals with that, I’ll save it for next time, which I promise will actually be this Saturday.