Alexander McCall Smith is an author I have mentioned in previous posts because he has become one of my absolute favorites. I watch his website (http://www.randomhouse.com/features/mccallsmith/main.php) to keep track of any new books coming out so I can be sure to get on the waiting list at my public library.
It was about 8 years ago that I stumbled upon his series, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and I haven't looked back. I love moments of serendipity, when you are walking the stacks in the library and discover a diamond…a book that becomes a favorite. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency was just such a book and I quickly read through every book available in the series and moved on to his other series: Corduroy Mansions, Isabel Dalhousie, 44 Scotland Street, and Portuguese Irregualer Verbs. I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one.
McCall Smith was born in Zimbabwe and was educated there and in Scotland. He became law professor both in Botswana and Edinburgh. His experience in Africa and in Scotland is evident in his writing, which makes for rich and unique works and characters. It is his characters that I am most in love with. He is able to create characters that you have to laugh at and sometimes with, but who also teach about life and offer wisdom albeit witty and a bit sarcastic. The characters are oftentimes over the top in some respect, which helps to bring out a piece of human nature we all notice and can appreciate.
As an 80's kids, I am a Seinfeld kid. Seinfeld first aired in 1989 and ran until 1998, and it is the "show about nothing." So why am I mentioning Seinfeld? Because Alexander McCall Smith's writing reminds a lot of Seinfeld. Both the books and the show take human quirks in thinking and behavior and create over-the-top experiences and situations that a person can't help but see themselves in and laugh. Life is better when we all can laugh at ourselves!
If you have a chance this Thanksgiving holiday to relax, I encourage you to pick up a book from Alexander McCall Smith…or put on a Seinfeld episode - I promise you will smile and that is something we can all be thankful for.