Okay, I read six books in January, half of them re-reads. Not my best month, but oh well.
A quick note on my ratings: *****, great; ****, quite good; ***, decent; **, mediocre; *, dreck. You won't see many * or ** ratings because I usually DNF them. If I don't finish, I don't review, partly because it wouldn't be fair, but mostly because they aren't worth my time.
1. Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books - Nick Hornby *****
My only five-star this month, and a rerun. I love Hornby's non-fiction, so a collection of his book criticism for Believer magazine is perfect for me, and seeing him struggle with the magazine's "acid-free" policy is hilarious (I couldn't do it, myself, as you'll see shortly). Plus, a loot of great recommendations, albeit in a more mainstream vein than my usual tastes. Still, any book that got me into reading Sarah Vowell is aces.
2. The Fifth Profession - David Morrell ***
Another re-read, this from one of my favorite thriller writers. Alas, not one of his best. This is a silly book, but a lot of fun. It involves bodyguards, espionage, psychosurgery/brainwashing, the return of Japanese imperialism, insta-love... Like I said, silly, stupid fun. Would have made a good camp movies tarring Michael Biehn.
3. Dark Entries - Robert Aickman ****
My first short-story collection of the year, and a damn good one. Most of the stories are oblique, many to the point where I'm not quite sure what, if anything, happened. Still the atmosphere was great, and "Ringing the Changes" is an all-time classic for a reason.
4. Dark Visions - Conversations With The Masters of the Horror Film - Stanley Wiater ***
Really, 2.5 rounded up. It is a series of interviews with actors. writers, directors, etc. Many of the people are interesting, but Wiater is a bland interviewer. There are few, if any, tough questions, the creative and technical sides of film are left unexplored, no personal insights... Well=written, with the occasional fun nugget, but often dull.
5. Shadows Linger - Glen Cook ***
Second in the fabled Black Company series, and just as uneven as the first. Glum, grim, and yet still engaging. I will read book three, as I own it, but am in no rush.
6. Indemnity Only - Sara Paretsky
First in the V.I. Warshawski series of P.I. novels. First published in 1982. it hasn't aged well. Also, the lead is difficult, though understandably so. Still, it's well-written and often funny, and deals with white-collar crime, a rarity for the sub-genre.
All in all, not a great month, but not terrible. Hopefully, it was better for you folks.