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<title>Book Reviews for July 2009 | Divya Manian</title>
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<time datetime="2009-07-14T00:00:00-07:00" pubdate><span class='month'>Jul</span> <span class='day'>14</span> <span class='year'>2009</span></time>
<h1 class="entry-title"><a href="/book-reviews-for-july-2009.html">Book Reviews for July 2009</a></h1>
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<div class="entry-content"><p>I vanished after that mid-month review of a record number of books I read in June. I think I have kept pace with the reading and I have 7 books to review for July! Sigh. I also managed to visit Cowboy Country of Montana and sample the Pacific Northwest. The highlight of this month was seeing bisons (for the first time) crossing my path less than 3 feet away! Here are short reviews of books I have read till now:</p>
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<li>
<h3>Feet of Clay</h3>
<p>Before I read the book, I was tempted to not review any more Terry Prachett books since I read them as obsessively as I read Agatha Christie or P G Wodehouse. But, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061057649?ie=UTF8&tag=nimbupani-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0061057649">Feet of Clay</a> was extraordinary. This is the best Discworld book I have read so far. The book is a murder mystery but has undercurrents of atheism and equality (gender/race/things) - all of which have been described with some of the cleverest usage of English I have read so far. Some gems &ldquo;If the atheist truly did not believe, they would not bother to deny.&rdquo;, &ldquo;&lsquo;Is he a man of property?&rsquo; &lsquo;Only other people&rsquo;s&rsquo;&rdquo;, &ldquo;Punctuality was the politeness of princes.&rdquo;, &ldquo;The razor moved calmly over the stubble of the night.&rdquo;</p>
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<li>
<h3>Stories</h3>
<p>I am usually not very enthusiastic about reading works by literary giants. So, I went for a risk-free trial of Doris Lessing, by reading <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1841593168?ie=UTF8&tag=nimbupani-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1841593168">Doris Lessing Stories</a>, an anthology of her short stories and novellas. Alas, I was not able to renew the book at the library, so dropped it half-way, but it was definitely an eye-opener. I didn&#x27;t understand some stories, but liked the writing. All the stories I read seem to have an undercurrent of melancholy which makes this book an ideal tropical Sunday afternoon read.</p>
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<h3>The Mission Song</h3>
<p>I don&rsquo;t remember reading <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743457900?ie=UTF8&tag=nimbupani-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0743457900">Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy</a> (even though I have marked it as read in <a href="http://www.bookjetty.com/people/nimbupani/books?category=read">my book list</a>), so I picked up John Le Carr&eacute;&rsquo;s recent work, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316016764?ie=UTF8&tag=nimbupani-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0316016764">The Mission Song: A Novel</a>, to refresh my memory of his writing. The book satisfies every aspect of a spy thriller and is an excellent display of how much John Le Carr&eacute; can get into a character&#x27;s skin. The ending is both predictable and some what unbelievable. But then, so is life!</p>
</li>
<li>
<h3>Art and Fear</h3>
<p>If you have ever tried to draw before and gave up (like I did), then you should read this book - <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0961454733?ie=UTF8&tag=nimbupani-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0961454733">Art &amp; Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking</a>. The authors write about some of the most common fears of an artist and explain why we have those fears and how to confront them. Some interesting quotes &ldquo;We do not remember artists who followed rules diligently than anyone else. We remember those who made the art from which the rules inevitably follow.&rdquo; and &ldquo;In time exploration gives way to expression.&rdquo; What really impressed me was the emphasis of art as a medium for expansion and new ideas rather than as a quest for perfection. I am really enthusiastic about picking up the paintbrush now!</p>
</li>
<li>
<h3>I, Robot</h3>
<p>I am an Asimov fan after reading the <a href="http://nimbupani.com/blog/book-reviews-for-april-2009.html">Foundation</a>. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/055338256X?ie=UTF8&tag=nimbupani-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=055338256X">I, Robot</a> is typical Asimov. I was really interested in the idea of a robot masquerading as a politician. Asimov had great insights about the future, but unfortunately, the stories are set in a &quot;future&quot; that is dated.</p>
</li>
<li>
<h3>Mad Travellers</h3>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1853434558?ie=UTF8&tag=nimbupani-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1853434558">Mad Travellers: Reflections on the Reality of Transient Mental Illnesses</a> was recommended reading for science fiction writers (lost the link, sorry!) It is a thoughtful analysis of the European craze in the late 19th century to diagnose <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugue_state">Fugue</a>. The author describes some of the stereotypes and conditions of that era which contributed to European doctors diagnosing this illness more than their American counterparts. The case studies quoted are interesting and most often tragic.</p>
</li>
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<p>That completes my list! Are you reading anything interesting? Do share in the comments section!</p>
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