A mystery indisposition has meant that I’ve spent much of the last two days lying on the sofa, reading. So it was lucky for me that at the market last Saturday I bought very cheaply three books by Alexander McCall Smith which I hadn’t read before. First I read Espresso Tales, more news from 44 Scotland Street. This is taken from a serial which the prolific author writes for The Scotsman and I love it. It is a continuous narrative which need never have an end. It makes me repeat what I said before in a previous post: that there are many similarities between McCall Smith and that other, late, Scottish writer of light fiction, O Douglas. In Espresso Tales people meet, eat, drink coffee, talk. Occasionally something interesting will happen to them. That’s it. Now re-title one of O Douglas’s books Tea Tales and where’s the difference? People meet, eat, drink tea, talk. Occasionally something interesting will happen to them. That’s it. In Blue Shoes and Happiness, which I’m reading now, Mma Makutsi says, “these small things are important for people. Mma Ramotswe has often told me that our lives are made up of small things. And I think she is right.” Now read The Day of Small Things by O Douglas. I rest my case.
As well as writing all these books, McCall Smith has a web site where, for example, he tells Americans where to buy bush tea. I plan to try it myself.