Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm back! The Ladies #1 Detective Agency Books by Alexander McCall Smith

Well, summer's passing quickly by, and I'm back at home base now, ready to read and write. I read some really enticing books with a great sense of place this month--the Ladies #1 Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith. I'd steered away from these because I thought I wasn't interested in Africa, but, boy, was I wrong! These little novels provide an excellent description of Botswana--the country feels very warm, tropical, Southern climed--and the main character Mma Precious Ramotswe is thoughtful, moral, and mature. I felt comforted by these stories, like I felt when reading the American "Mitford" series, but more so. I think this series is better than Jan Karon's, simply because it makes Africa, somewhat of an inscrutable continent, more understandable. When I read Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible, I started to navigate the literature of the African sensibility, and McCall-Smith's detective stories (they aren't really serious mysteries at all, mind you, if there is such a thing) further pipe me along this journey. Granted, I have just read these--they haven't percolated in my mind over time--but what's summer for if not to be impulsive? So, I'm adding them to the list.

It's good to be back. Please read, and if you find a good one, let me know!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell

July 1st and we're really into summer now, baby! Our family will be having some serious beach time this month, so I've been thinking about some good ocean reads. Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell springs to mind. The very first of her Kay Scarpetta series, it remains, in my mind at least, the very best of them. There's a strangler loose in Richmond, VA, and Dr. Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner, solves the case. I've only read this book once, and that was on my honeymoon in 1992. I found a copy in the ship's library towards the end of our trip; having only one day left to read it, I took it with me everywhere for 24 hours. Well, you can imagine what my husband thought about that! I carried Postmortem to the pool, to bed, even on the junket to Hope Town. My husband was astonished to see my eyes glued to black print while all around us the green sea and blue sky beckoned. He's never forgotten my (misdirected) focus, and it remains to this day an object lesson for him on the perils of marrying a librarian. I literally could not put the book down; stealing it was not an option, either. I had to finish it before we disembarked, and I did, actually, with a few hours left to spare my poor husband some attention.

Happy summer, everybody! Read some good books in July and let me know the titles. I'll return to blog some more in August...