Mini Reviews: Pairing Books with Movies 4

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Kalahari Typing School for Men

by Alexander McCall Smith 


This is the fourth book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. I read the first three in 2005 and enjoyed them, but haven’t felt the need to pick up another. I came across this one at a library book sale and thought, why not? 

Mma Ramotswe and her assistant Mma Makutsi are still running the detective agency. Mma Makutsi is trying to find a way to supplement her income and Mma Ramotswe is still adjusting to life with two new foster children. 

The book moves slowly, unlike most mystery novels. They are more about life in Botswana, which moves at a leisurely pace, then about solving a huge case. Sometimes I enjoy this, but other times I just want something to happen. The books include interesting characters, but I feel like you never really learn much more about them as the series progresses. 

As with the other books, I enjoyed this one alright, but I don’t feel I need to read the next book. If you love these books, then this one will be no exception. But if, like me, you just aren’t swept away then this one is not really worth picking up. 

“She knew that she would have to be extremely careful, this clerk wasn’t bright and people like that could show a remarkable tenacity when it came to rules.”

Pair with a viewing of Roar!: Lions of the Kalahari (40 min. documentary from National Geographic) and Veronica Mars (A TV show with another great female detective)

This Year It Will Be Different

by Maeve Binchy 


I’m such a sucker for Binchy’s books. I tend to like her novels more than her short story collections, but this one was perfect for December. There are 15 stories, all with some Christmas theme. That being said, they aren’t sweet cheerful stories, that’s not really her style. There’s the tension of a blended family, a broken heart, a newly married son, an unexpected trip to New York, and so much more. Each one gives us a quick glimpse into the lives of someone new. 

The way the Binchy writes is just perfect for this medium. You don’t need 300 pages to get to know the characters. In the matter of a few paragraphs she’s given you the flavor of their lives and that’s all you need. I will always return to her books as comfort reads. 

“It was so easy to be wise about other people's business.” 

Pair with a few of Binchy’s other novels that have been made into films: Circle of Friends and Tara Road


Sandy Nawrot said...

Believe it or not, I've not read these books or seen the movies.

Kristi said...

My mom is a big Maeve Binchy fan. I have a few of her books on my shelf, but I haven't read any of them. I think I might have all three of these. Do you have a favorite?

I read the first Ladies Detective Agency, but wasn't too compelled to continue. It was fun though so I may get back to it. I've recently heard a few people raving about Veronica Mars. It sounds pretty fun.

Jeanne said...

Mma Ramotswe is pretty much the exact opposite of Veronica Mars, except that they're both female detectives and great characters!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Sandy - I'm surprised you've never read Binchy! I think you might like her.

Kristi - I think my favorite Binchy books are Circle of Friends, Tara Road and Evening Class. I first read one of her books when I was in Ireland and she's been a great comfort read since then. They aren't classics, but they're good stories.

I don't think the Ladies Det. Agency is a must read if you've read the first one. They are all very similar. I did get hooked on Veronica Mars though!

Jeanne - They are SO different, but both great characters.

Kristi said...

I don't mind if they're not classics. I need a good comfort read every once in a while. Especially when I'm stressed, I have to read something that doesn't require as much concentration as some of the classics do. :)

Jenners said...

I read a few of the Ladies Detective Agency books but then never went back. They are definitely "take it or leave it." It cracked me up to see it paired with Veronica Mars!

nomadreader said...

I'm curious about the No. 1 Ladies Detective series. The premise is intriguing, but the last thing I need is another new series to start! I have the first one and should make time to read it sometime.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Kristi - That's what I like them for. Definitely check them out!

Jenners - I know, Veronica was such a little spit fire and Mma Ramotswe is so low key.

nomadreader - It's not a must read series.