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<title>Book Reviews for June 2009 | Divya Manian</title>
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<meta name="description" content="What is this? Me, doing a book review only half way into the month? Incredibly, I have managed to read 4 books already. I am reading 3 books &hellip;">
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<time datetime="2009-06-18T00:00:00-07:00" pubdate><span class='month'>Jun</span> <span class='day'>18</span> <span class='year'>2009</span></time>
<h1 class="entry-title"><a href="/book-reviews-for-june-2009.html">Book Reviews for June 2009</a></h1>
</header>
<div class="entry-content"><p>What is this? Me, doing a book review only half way into the month? Incredibly, I have managed to read 4 books already. I am reading 3 books <em>simultaneously</em> now, so we will see how many I can complete reading by the end of June. But till then, here goes my review of books:</p>
<ul>
<li>
<h3>Yacoubian Building</h3>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060878134?ie=UTF8&tag=nimbupani-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0060878134">This book</a> is the first I have read which deals with <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_and_Islam">homosexuality in an Islamic culture</a>. The novel is similar in storyline / usage of words to <a href="http://nimbupani.com/blog/book-reviews-for-dec-08-and-jan-09.html">Cairo Modern by Naquib Mahfouz</a> (One reason could be they are translations from Arabic). One of the common elements is the description of how women get treated like prostitutes when they go to work and the rampant corruption. The novel ends like a Bollywood movie (<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065484/">this one</a>). It is another (probably most popular) book documenting the rise of fundamentalism in Egypt. There is also a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Yacoubian_Building_(film)">movie based on the novel</a>, which I am now very curious to see! </p>
</li>
<li>
<h3>Coraline</h3>
<p>
I had read <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060825456?ie=UTF8&tag=nimbupani-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0060825456">Coraline</a> last month, but forgot to include it in the review. Coraline is a dark tale of a girl who is sad that her parents are &ldquo;busy&rdquo; all the time in front of the computer and finds a door to an evil alternate reality. The story is about how she gets back from that to her real life. I think any child growing up with working parents might identify with this book. Heck, even I could identify with the parts on making my own tales about strange places. I always imagined there was a trap door in my house - staircase to some buried treasure. </p> <p>It is an intelligent book that works for both kids and adults. Some of the &ldquo;life lessons&rdquo; learnt by Coraline applies to everyone. Must read for all kids. I want to <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0327597/">watch the movie too</a>!
</p>
</li>
<li>
<h3>The Automatic Detective</h3>
<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765357941?ie=UTF8&tag=nimbupani-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0765357941">This book</a> is my dream come true! It smashingly mixes noir and science-fiction genres and is thoroughly at home in both. It has the first person narrative and standard characters that you find in pulp fiction except it is set in the future and the narrator is a robot who is the first of his kind to have obtained citizenship. Mack Megaton (a robot created to wreck destruction on humanity but his feature-not-a-bug of &ldquo;free will&rdquo; enables to give up his destructive ways), finds himself investigating the disappearance of his next door neighbours (though he can&rsquo;t quite understand why he wants to do it), and ends up saving the world. It reads like a Raymond Chandler thriller - complete with a bombshell (who is a genius and his sidekick). Didn&rsquo;t find the science fiction <em>that</em> interesting, but the pulp story line more than compensates for it.</p>
</li>
<li>
<h3>Batman: The Dark Knight Returns</h3>
<p>
<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1563893428?ie=UTF8&tag=nimbupani-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1563893428">This</a> is a great set of stories about Batman which finally puts Joker and Alfred Pennyworth (Batman&rsquo;s butler) to rest. Just like other Frank Miller stories - these are dark and melancholic. I suspect parts of the Batman film, The Dark Knight are based on this book.
</p>
</li>
<li>
<h3>The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics</h3>
<p>It is rare to find comics about crime - usually they are fantasy or superhero specific. So, I was really happy to find such a diverse collection of crime comics in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0762433949?ie=UTF8&tag=nimbupani-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0762433949">this book</a>. It is quite a thick book at 480 pages. There are a lot of famous writers featured like Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Will Eisner, Dashiell Hammett, Ed McBain and some - literally - unknowns. I really liked the story &ldquo;Commissario Spada: Strada&rdquo; by Gianluigi Gonano &amp; Gianni De Luca which just illustrates how each human being ascribes their own thoughts and opinions to other people when they describe them. Comic book fans will delight in this collection of stories.</p>
</li>
</ul>
<p>As usual, friends, what books do you recommend?</p>
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<time datetime="2009-06-18T00:00:00-07:00" pubdate><span class='month'>Jun</span> <span class='day'>18</span> <span class='year'>2009</span></time> in
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