Monday, June 29, 2009


The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #1) The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

My review

Calling AM Smith's narratives mysteries is really a disservice. In The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency he touches on mysteries, true, but the real story revolves around a full life - in this case of Madame Mma Precious Ramotswe - and justice in many things great and small. I am pleased to see that this is just the first of a series, as I want to know more about Mma Ramotswe and her friends.

I just finished this book for
Cynthia's Summer 2009 Reading Challenge for the Day of the African Child task. Having also just read Mr. Smith's The Sunday Philosophy Club for the July Masters of Mystery Book Discussion at my local library branch, I wondered how the change of venue would affect the structure of the narratives.

The Sunday Philosophy Club (Sunday Philosophy Club, #1) The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith

My review

"Isabel Dalhousie saw the young man fall from the edge of the upper circle, from the gods," has got to be the best opening line since the book that opens with the protagonist's death in a bowling accident.

Ms. Dalhousie, with help from Mr. Smith's engaging set of characters, works out the cause of the fall while working her way through a life rich in relationships - her own as well as others'. A satisfyingly rich read.

View all my reviews.
I must say that Ms. Dalhousie of Edinburgh is an entirely different creature than Mma Ramotswe of Gaborone. Mma Ramotswe sets out to become a detective with a frank determination. Ms. Dalhousie almost backs into the detection by virtue of her philosophical struggles with morality as editor of the Review of Applied Ethics.

These two books are the start of separate series. Both of them, I feel, adequately introduce their principals and create interest in the later books. The voice of each book is entirely consistent with the settings.

The word of the day for June 29, 2009 is "mystery" Pronunciation: \'mis-t(ə-)rē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural mys·ter·ies
Etymology: Middle English mysterie, from Latin mysterium, from Greek mystērion, from mystēs initiate
Date: 14th century
1 a: a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand. b (1): any of the 15 events (as the Nativity, the Crucifixion, or the Assumption) serving as a subject for meditation during the saying of the rosary. (2)capitalized : a Christian sacrament ; specifically :
eucharist. c (1): a secret religious rite believed (as in Eleusinian and Mithraic cults) to impart enduring bliss to the initiate. (2): a cult devoted to such rites. 2 a: something not understood or beyond understanding : enigma. b obsolete : a private secret. c: the secret or specialized practices or ritual peculiar to an occupation or a body of people [the mysteries of the tailor's craft]. d: a piece of fiction dealing usually with the solution of a mysterious crime. 3: profound, inexplicable, or secretive quality or character [the mystery of her smile].

Our quote for the day is from Alexander McCall Smith, Mma Ramotswe in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Anchor Books, 1998:
It was time to take the pumpkin out of the pot and eat it. In the final analysis, that was what solved these big problems of life. You could think and think and get nowhere, but you still had to eat your pumpkin. That brought you down to earth. That gave you a reason for going on. Pumpkin.


Sunday, June 7, 2009




Speedy has been working hard for the past eight weeks. Today he finished his Intermediate Obedience training. The instructor, Connie from Petsmart, is a real whiz at showing us how to get the dogs to do what we want. As my uncle used to say, "Obedience training is to teach the people how to handle their dogs."

Dogs, unlike cats, want to please their people. It is only fair that people figure out what the dog can do, and consistently ask him/her to do that thing under the same circumstance until the dog has "learned" to come/sit/stay/whatever on command. Speedy has learned the basics, along with a couple of dandy "tricks"—behavior not entirely necessary for good canine citizenship, but easy to do and fun to watch. His tricks are "shake"(lifting one paw), "crawl" (just what it sounds like: on the belly) and "dance" (up on the hind legs).

The Petsmart instructors are pushing for Speedy to take Therapy Dog training after his Advanced class. I don't know whether we'll go for that or not. Being a Jack Russell terrier/chihuahua mix, his breeding is really against being calm and cool around people in the nursing home. Although, if Lloyd were willing to make the dog behave, I might be able to leave Speedy overnight with Lloyd.

Rommell Rommell



Molly Molly
The word of the day for June 7, 2009 is "intermediate" — Pronunciation: \,in-tər-'mē-dē-ət\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin intermediatus, from Latin intermedius, from inter- + medius mid, middle — more at
Date: 15th century
1 : being or occurring at the middle place, stage, or degree or between extremes. 2 : of or relating to an intermediate school [an intermediate curriculum].

Our quotation is from E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898:

The Jewish Rabbi believed that the soul of the deceased was consigned to a sort of purgatory for twelve months after death, during which time it was allowed to visit its dead body and the places or persons it especially loved. This intermediate state they called by various names, as “the bosom of Abraham,” “the garden of Eden,” “upper Gehenna.” The Sabbath was always a free day, and prayer was supposed to benefit those in this intermediate state.