Sunday, January 23, 2011

#6 - Blue Shoes and Happiness

My Zombie Survival Guide daily calendar tells me that a motorcycle is the best way to flee an infested area, which could be problematic for me as I have never driven a motorcycle in my life. Oh well. That has absolutely nothing to do with Alexander McCall Smith's Blue Shoes and Happiness, which is the seventh book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series with Mma Ramotswe and her cast of likable characters. The calendar makes me laugh, that's all.

It's a breezy, delightful series, and I'm actually reading In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (#8) at the moment and expect to be finished it today, they're such quick books to get through. I had three of the series on my shelves, one I had already read, and so I decided just to power through the other two. I love how Mma Ramotswe isn't a traditional detective, while she may be traditionally built, and how the cases do not involve bloody murder of the Mo Hayder kind (although I do adore Ms. Hayder) but are instead more like moral lessons. Sure, there are mysteries to be solved but they are generally addressed through common sense and communication, traditional Botswana (I think?) values, and the essence of good for the sake of being good, no ulterior motives:
Most problems could be diminished by the drinking of tea and the thinking through of things that could be done while tea was being drunk. And even if that did not solve problems, at least it could put them off for a little while, which we sometimes needed to do, we really did.
My thoughts exactly. A good cup of tea, a warm muffin, and a comfy chair and most problems can at least be mulled over, if not completely solved. In Mma Ramotswe's case, she drinks her beloved bush tea, in my case, it's decaf earl grey with the milk poured in first (and I couldn't give a toss what Christopher Hitchens would say about that -- it was the way my British grandmother taught me to drink tea and it tastes the best when the hot water scalds the milk, it just does). The point being that it is in the drinking of the tea that humanity comes together, not the making of the tea, although I would agree with Hitchens that finding a decent cup of tea in America isn't easy.

Annnywaaay, I'm off topic, entirely with this post, rambling on about zombies and Christopher Hitchens. There's not a lot to say about these novels, just that I adore them, adore the characters and can't wait for the TV show to come back on, because it's delightful too. What's also nice is that McCall Smith was born in Zimbabwe, which puts him on the map in terms of my Around the World in 52 Books, and the African settings of these books always make me want to travel to that continent, just to experience life in a different way. So I've knocked off a couple of challenges with two short novels, and haven't quite decided what my shelves will bring forth next in terms of what I'm in the mood to read.

1 comment:

Melwyk said...

I agree, Deanna, this series is so cozy and delightful, and quick to breeze through. I copied out the same quote you shared, and thought you might like to see Alexander McCall Smith's own statement about having to travel with his own teapot, if you haven't yet :)