Sunday, 13 January 2008

Alexander McCall Smith "The Right Attitude to Rain"

McCall Smith is one of those writers whose style(s) you either love or hate. I love the way he writes. Like most people I was introduced to him some years ago when the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency came out and brought Mme Ramotswe and Botswana to our attention. Since then I have read some from each of the following series:-

No 1 Ladies Detective agency;-
1. The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (1998)
2. Tears Of The Giraffe (2000)
3. Morality for Beautiful Girls (2001)
4. The Kalahari Typing School for Men (2002)
5. The Full Cupboard of Life (2003)
6. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (2004)
7. Blue Shoes and Happiness (2006)
8. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (2007)
9. The Miracle at Speedy Motors (2008 - not yet read)

Isabel Dalhousie:-
1. The Sunday Philosophy Club (2004)
2. Friends, Lovers, Chocolate (2005 - not yet read)
3. The Right Attitude to Rain (2006)
4. The Careful Use of Compliments (2007 - not yet read)

Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld:-
The 2 1/2 Pillars of Wisdom (omnibus) (2002)
At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances (2003 - not yet read)
The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs (2003 - not yet read)
Portuguese Irregular Verbs (2003 - not yet read)

44 Scotland Street:-
1. 44 Scotland Street (2005)
2. Espresso Tales (2005 - not yet read)
3. Love Over Scotland (2006 - not yet read)
4. The World According to Bertie (2007 - not yet read)

One of his stand-alone books:-
The Girl Who Married a Lion: And Other Tales from Africa (2004)

One of the novels relating to philosopher Isabel Dalhousie, "The Right Attitude to Rain", is quite legitimately filled with little sidetracks where the heroine philosophises about matters big and small. There is, for example, a lovely piece on the ethics of e-mails and whether one should answer every e-mail one gets and the tyranny of those who expect instant responses. Equally amusing is Isobel's view on the test of acculturation into the British way of life - whether one liked Marmite. "The Right Attitude to Rain", like many of his books is full of lovely little quotable bits. And here are a few examples to whet your appetite.

"She glanced at the political news from Italy; which appeared to be a series of reports of battles between acronyms, or so it seemed..."

"The rules of the jungle did not apply to those who wrote the rules of the jungle."

"And Joe... was an Anglophile by any standard; except by the measure of Marmite."

"That," said Isobel, "is the nost painful feature of lost love. You wonder what the other person is doing. Right at this moment. What is he doing?"

"Hopw many people in the United States believed that they had been abducted by aliens? It was a depressingly large number. And the aliens always gave them back! Perhaps they were abducting the wrong sort."

"Mimi thought of somebody she knew who often spoke of a mutual friend's tendency to consult the plastic surgeon. 'Such a conservationist,' the critic said. 'She desrves some sort of award.' "

ALEXANDER McCALL SMITH has a double existence. He is a Professor of Medical Law, but also an author who has now written over fifty books on a wide range of subjects. These range from specialist titles such as 'Forensic Aspects of Sleep', (the only book on the subject) to 'The Criminal Law of Botswana' (also the only book on the subject) and from the widely translated 'The Perfect Hamburger' (a children's novel) to 'Portuguese Irregular Verbs' (a collection of stories about eccentric German professors). His collection of African stories, 'Children of Wax', received critical acclaim and has been the subject of an award-winning film.

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