My January Books Plus a Little More

To say I’m a reader could be an understatement.  I am a READER!!!!  I read every day.  However, I have not been good about keeping track of what I’ve read. In fact, when you look at Goodreads, it looks like I read 22 books last year.   That is WAY OFF – in the month of January alone I finished 8 books. I’ve decided to keep better records and share what I’ve read on a monthly basis from now on.  In fact, if something else has caught my attention – like a television show, a movie, a documentary – I’ll note that too.  So – drum roll – here are my January books with a brief comment about each of them. 

Painting by Messonier

Painting by Messonier

The Judgement of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism by Ross King:  The book focuses on the Paris Salons from 1863 – 1874 and primarily follows Eduard Messonier, who was the most successful painter at the time and is now virtually overlooked and Manet, who is considered the father of impressionism.  Very interesting, but reads like a textbook at times.


Olympia by Manet

Eccentric Glamour, Creating an Insanely More Fabulous You by Simon Doonan.  I was excited to find this book  – I have kept his previous book Wacky Chicks, Life Lessons from Fearlessly Inappropriate and Fabulously Eccentric Women for years. This book was entertaining and a very quick read.   

The King’s Deception by Steve Berry.  This is part of the Cotton Mather Series. I love the way there is an international security issue against a historic person or event.  In this case, it was against the history ofHenry VIII and Elizabeth.  I didn’t know there was a theory that Elizabeth I was a man!  I enjoy these series and when I saw the most recent book in Kroger, of all places, I immediately purchased it and went home at began reading it! 

Elizabeth I, she does look a little like a man!

Elizabeth I, she does look a little like a man!

Off the Wall: A Portrait of Robert Rauschenburg by Calvin Tomkins.  As biographies go, this one is comparatively smaller than average.  However, the writer knew Rauschenburg, which makes it more appealing.  I learned things I never knew – like his given name was actually Milton!  This books covers the period of 1950’s through the 60’s.  He explores his collaborations with Merce Cunningham and John Cage,  Rauschenberg is not considered an abstract expressionist, and certainly not a pop artist.  But he was there, along with Pollock, De Kooning, Frank Stella and of course Jasper Johns.  I found it witty and informative.  It did get bogged down a little in talking about “The Happenings”, but not enough to make me put it down.  In fact, I googled a lot of the pieces and events he was talking about to get a first hand look at them!

Brace by Rauschenberg

Brace by Rauschenberg

Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham.  I read this as part of an online group I’m part of.  It was an interesting book, and I found I am basically a “creator”! 

Famous Artists and Their Models by Thomas Craven.  I thought it sounded so interesting, and it said it had many full pages reproductions of art work.  What I missed in reading about the book, it is a pocket sized Penguin Book written in 1942.  I’m not even sure it is totally accurate! 

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Sattefield.  It is kind of a creepy (in a good way) book.  Very gothic in tone, you think you figure it out, and then – bam – you are thrown a curve!  A good and fun read – even if the language is a little flowery, but it is very descriptive. 

As Summer Dies by Winston Groom.  If you don’t know, Winston Groom also wrote Forrest Gump.  This book was published in 1980 and I believe it took place in the late 1950’s.  I couldn’t put it down! 

Other interesting facts: 

Right now my favorite TV show is the BBC show Sherlock, I’m just sad there are only three seasons with only 3 episodes in each one.  But, it is impossible to catch everything that happens, so it isn’t hard to rewatch them. 


I think the best documentary I’ve seen in A LONG time is Searching for Sugarman, the unbelievable story of one of the greatest musicians from the early 1970’s that you have never heard of that became a sensation in South Africa – and the guys from South Africa that spent three years searching for him.  HERE is a trailer of the movie.  I highly recommend it!

What have you been reading and watching?  Any recommendations.  By the way, I have all the books if you want to borrow one!


9 thoughts on “My January Books Plus a Little More

  1. Julie M

    Great idea to share your thoughts on what you read and keep track of it. Thank you for sharing, I could only wish to read 8 books in one month, wow!

  2. Sue

    Vickie- just amazing! 8 books in a month, you are a READER. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and recommendations. I’m also reading/listening to the Buckingham book and found I’m a creator as well, what a surprise! Perhaps I’ll give ” As Summer Dies” a whirl.

  3. Arwen

    An intriguing list of books. That theory about Elizabeth I is interesting but to me, I have to wonder why some folks can’t accept the fact that she was simply a very strong woman. 😀 It’s almost as if they are afraid of her gender so they have to make her male.

  4. Harmony Harrison

    What a great list of books! Why am I not surprised that you’re basically a “creator”? I’m going to have to check out that book by Buckingham. On a more televisiony note, Sherlock is a lot of fun. We’ve been watching the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries (Australia in the 1920s) — the show is FABULOUS. You might like it too.

  5. Deborah Weber

    How fun to see what you’ve been reading. I’m determined to keep better track of my reads this year as well. I smiled to see the Eccentric Glamour one on your list, as just the other day I saw a delightful blue-hair crone reading a copy on the bus. It totally, totally, totally made my day!

    I love the Sherlock series as well and hope they continue it forever, particularly if they plan to keep doling it out in 3 episode portions.

  6. Susan Michael Barrett

    Vickie, gosh I love this post. I haven’t read any of the books you listed (great list!) and will start with As Summer Dies. Forrest Gump impacted me: I began running in the same vein as the character. Just decided to run one day after a tragedy and said I’d run until I didn’t need to anymore. That lasted 4 years.

    I too loved Sugarman. I was raised in the Detroit area during the 60s upheaval so his story rang close. That, and his gift of giving–singing for the love of it.

  7. vickiemartin Post author

    thank you all! Susan Michael Barrett – I rewatched Sugarman yesterday – what a story!!!! Someone told me about another docu set in Detroit – A Band Called Death – about a discovered punk rock band from the early 70’s – before punk really started. also interesting about your running history! Harmony – i have seen a few episode of Miss Fishers – very fun! Deborah – i saw a headline that said Sherlock may not return until 2016 – I couldn’t bring myself to read the article!

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