Saturday, February 13, 2010

January Reads in Review (2010)

Funny how blog posting can get away from you when you're distracted by life. At least February isn't over! January was a so-so month in quantity, certainly a lesser month by comparison with most months in 2009, but I enjoyed something about every book I read so it was an excellent month from the standpoint of sheer enjoyment.

Bookfool's January Reads in Review (links where applicable):


Hist - History
NF - Nonfiction
M - Memoir or Personal Narratives
SS - Short Stories
YA - Young Adult

1. Custer Survivor by John Koster (NF/Hist) - After years of research and forensic testing on handwritten documents, John Koster is convinced he has enough evidence to prove that one man survived The Battle of Little Bighorn. Custer Survivor describes Custer's Last Stand and how a man who enlisted under a false name got away and then managed to stay unknown most of his life.

2. Fidelity by Grace Paley (Poetry) - Paley's last book, a set of poems written as she neared death and reflected on life, art, aging, friendship, family and home. Written with a little humor, a bit of frustration and a lot of flair.

3. First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria by Eve Brown-Waite (NF/Memoir) - The true story of a woman who fell in love with her Peace Corps recruiter, worked for a time in a small village in Ecuador (in part to impress him), married him and then ended up living in Africa. This was one of my favorites.

4. The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova - A psychiatrist seeks answers to the reason for a troublesome patient's difficulties and ends up falling in love and solving a mystery. I loved the senses in this book but was underwhelmed by the mystery and the ending.

5. The Great Automatic Grammatizator & Other Stories by Roald Dahl (SS/YA) - A collection of Roald Dahl's adult stories (marketed to young adults). Some are creepy, one is a war story, all are crafted beautifully but with somewhat abrupt endings. My favorite is a WWII story, "Katina".

6. They Were Just People by Tammeus & Cukierkorn (Hist/NF/M) - Stories of rescues in Poland during the Holocaust. The authors interviewed both survivors and rescuers or their direct relatives. Solidly written, amazing stories with a great deal of excellent extra material.

7. The Making of the African Queen by Katharine Hepburn (NF/M) - Katharine Hepburn's rambling description of her experience preparing for and filming The African Queen, complete with loads of photographs.

8. Elephant à la Mode by T. Roy Nakai (NF/M) - The memoir of a dentist who was forced to retire early after a devastating accident and then experienced an even worse loss -- and how he coped by using the principles he learned from his parents, who were imprisoned in a Japanese Internment Camp during WWII.

9. I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter (YA) - The first in the Gallagher Girls spy series introduces Cammie Morgan, her friends and their exclusive spy school for girls. Cammie meets and falls for a civilian boy but pretends to be homeschooled because the locals think Gallagher Hall is a school for rich snobs. Adventurous fun. I love this series.

10. The Cat Inside by William S. Burroughs (M) - Part allegory, part personal memoir of the author's life with cats. Hint: He wasn't very fond of dogs, but he did love the felines.

11. Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott (YA) - Danielle has spent her entire life moving from place to place with her mother, living under false identities and then stealing silver from wealthy residents. When they move to the small town of Heaven and Danielle falls for a police officer and her mother falls ill, she has to make some important decisions about whether or not to change her life.

12. Veracity by Laura Bynum (SciFi) - In a dystopian, post-plague future world, the United States (no longer the U. S. of A.) has become a place of terror. Chips embedded in each citizen's neck monitor every word spoken and punishments are severe. When an important government worker escapes from the city in which she lives and works, she finds out that the "pandemic" wasn't quite what it seemed and her presence is crucial to the coming rebellion. This is a dark, dark read but I loved it.

I hope to review those last two on the list, soon.


  1. At least you do better than I do at getting things reviewed in a timely manner. My January wrap-up post may have come earlier than yours, but half the stuff on it hadn't been reviewed. I'm glad you really liked "First Comes Love..." I read it last year and just loved it.

  2. Jen,

    It took me a while to get 10 out of 12 reviewed and I was shooting for having them all reviewed by the time I posted a wrap-up. Oh, well. Close enough. :)

    I loved First Comes Love, etc.! I'm sending it to my eldest son. He liked the title so much that he said, "Forget (his fiancee) -- I want to read that one!" when I called to ask if my future DIL wants to read it. :)

  3. You had a good month of reading. I've still got one I need to write a review for before I forget the book. Lately I pile up a few and then write the reviews. Not a good idea. lol.

  4. Dar,

    Thanks. I've been doing the same -- I guess since the cat got sick, I've been behind on reviews. Usually, I keep up with them nicely. You're right; it's not a good idea to wait. The details fade from your mind, after a while.


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