One-Minute Book Reviews

June 12, 2008

The Best Book to Have on Hand in a Power Blackout

We’re still living in a state of emergency in my part of New Jersey, where some streets look like a scene from the Book of Revelation with pizza deliveries. Tens of thousands of people aren’t expected to get their electricity back until Friday. And it made me wonder: What’s the best book to have on hand during a power blackout? Pragmatists might argue for the American Red Cross First Aid and Safety Handbook or, possibly, the Kama Sutra. But – speaking just for myself – I’d want The Complete Sherlock Holmes in any edition. What book makes for better reading aloud by candlelight to anyone over the age of six? What plot device offers a more reliable diversion from the inconveniences of life without microwave popcorn than the deadly swamp adder in “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” or that strange dog on the moors in “The Hound of the Baskervilles”? You can download 48 Sherlock Holmes stories for free at, which also has a discussion forum and more.

Here’s news on the blackout that inspired this post:

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. Good choice. After reading the Holmes stories as a kid, I’m sorry to confess I don’t even own a copy of the book. Perhaps I could read the complete Shakespeare from play to play to play, being one of the happy few with a flashlight with batteries that never get used up.


    Comment by knightofswords — June 12, 2008 @ 10:13 am | Reply

  2. Thanks, Malcolm. We’re so lucky that we can now download so many of Holmes stories for free … they’re great reading by flashlight, too.

    The odd thing how they are among the few stories I can think of that truly appeal to all ages. Even children who can’t read them on their own respond to an appropriately dramatic reading.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — June 12, 2008 @ 10:59 am | Reply

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    Pingback by moors — June 19, 2008 @ 4:16 am | Reply

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