These are the books I read in February:
- All Mortal Flesh by Jula Spencer-Fleming
- The latest entry in the always-enjoyable Claire Ferguson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery series. Major, life-changing events happen to both characters, which could profoundly impact the course of the series, if it continues past this book. Introduces an interesting new character, investigative reporter Ben Beagle, who could anchor a new series.
- James K. Polk by John Siebenthaler
- Solid one-volume biography of the eleventh President of the United States. A good introduction to Polk for those who don't know much about him, but will leave serious Polk fans wanting more.
- 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style by Matt Madden
- A cartoonist tells a simple story in myriad ways. A potentially useful book for aspiring comics writers, but little more than a curiosity for anyone else.
- Pictures of Adam by Myron Levoy
- YA novel about an aspiring photojournalist and a kid from the other side of the tracks. I picked it up because of my fond memories of another book by the same author, Alan and Naomi, possibly the bleakest children's book ever written. My knowledge of that earlier book invested this one with a certain suspense factor,
since I expected the bottom to drop out at any minute.
- Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
- Latest and last in Phillips' Chicago Stars series of romance novels. Pretty much exactly the same as the book that preceded it, Match Me If You Can, except that the female lead in NBC isn't as interesting as the one in MMIYC. Still, an enjoyable light read.
- The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
- A well written policy book, but not so compelling that I can imagine it convincing anyone to change his or her position, though it could sway the undecided. Plus, there was the mistake about the vice presidential busts ...
- The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
- The controversial 2007 Newbery medal winner. Not as good as last year's winner, Criss Cross, but far superior to the 2005 medalist, Kira-Kira. Some librarians have complained about its use of the word "scrotum," but it didn't bother me any. Of course, I am somewhat outside the target demographic.
- Rumpole and the Reign of Terror by John Mortimer
- The latest book featuring Rumpole of the Bailey finds the barrister defending a Pakistani doctor accused of terrorism and being held under the British equivalent of the Patriot Act. A fun story that goddam lib'ruls like myself will appreciate for its pungent criticisms of attempts by the government to curtail civil rights in the name of homeland security.
- The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry
- I found Steve Berry's last book, The Templar Legacy, uninteresting to the point of being unable to finish it, and when I realized his new book features the same main character I was worried. Fortunately, The Alexandria Link has more in common with earlier, less dull Berry novels like The Romanov Prophecy or The Third Secret. It's a standard issue thriller, with the legendary Library of Alexandria playing the part of the McGuffin, but it's a good read if you like that sort of thing.