I’ve apparently been entirely too giving with “A”s.
I’m sure my students would disagree, but it seems I’m much more giving when rating books than I am with grading student work.
I gave 11 non-fiction books and 35 fiction books perfect grades in 2017. I noticed that some of my friends only gave a few books perfect grades for the year, leading me to think maybe I’m suffering from some kind of book grade inflation.
I must have subconsciously decided to be harder on books in 2018 because I only gave a single non-fiction book a perfect grade in January, despite having read 15 books last month.
The book is Serial Killers: The Methods and Madness of Monsters by Peter Vronsky. It is a look at a historical timeline of serial killers, including the psychological, investigative and cultural aspects of their murders. Vronsky even provides readers with researched theories on what makes someone become a serial killer and how to survive an attack by one.
I’ve always been fascinated with serial killers. I was taken aback by how many of the noteworthy killers named in Vronsky’s book that I already had read individual books about, including Ed Gein, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, and Gary Ridgway.
I was even more surprised to learn about a serial killer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the 1940s. I grew up just outside of Tulsa, and I can’t believe I never heard legends of Charles Floyd.
Floyd is known to have raped and murdered five women and an unborn child between 1942-48. The pattern beyond the criminal acts was that all of the women had red hair. Floyd was arrested in November 1949. His low IQ saved him from the state’s electric chair. He confessed to the crimes and was taken to a mental institution where he eventually died.
How on earth had I never heard of a serial killer from practically in my home town? Have I mentioned that my sister and my best friend are both red heads who live in that area? Kinda creepy, even though neither of them were were alive during Floyd’s crimes.
Vronsky’s book was well organized and well written. It included a lot of names, which I usually dislike in books because it’s too easy to get them confused, but the organization and storytelling made the structure of the book simple to follow. I’m also not normally that interested in history, but Serial Killers was a unique exception.
There is my favorite book of January. I also gave many books “B” grades last month. You probably shouldn’t ignore them or assume they aren’t good reads, since I’ve apparently turned into some kind of grading hard ass.
As always, happy reading!