Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Book Review: Tea Time for the Traditionally Built

I love this whole series by Alexander McCall-Smith. I remember years ago when a friend suggested the Ladies No. 1 Detective books, and I was skeptical because I'm not really into detective books. But I eventually started reading them and discovered that they have little to do with mysteries and much to do with the human heart.

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built is much like the other nine books in the series. The story itself is fun and the characters wonderful, but what I really love are McCall-Smith's (or Mma Ramotswe's) beautiful snippets sprinkled throughout of insight into what life is really all about. Like this one:
We are born to talk to other people, she thought; we are born to be sociable and talk about things that happened the day before. We were not born to sit in kitchens by ourselves, with nobody to chat to.
I love that. So simple and yet so striking.

My mom was looking for something new to read, so I suggested she start this series. She read the first one and loved it, so my Dad went to the library and got her a couple more. But he got her numbers 9 and 10. I insisted that she not read them until she'd read the others, but she said she didn't care about reading books in order in a series.

So I'm curious: how important is it to read books in order? Perhaps I am a stick-in-the-mud reader, but I absolutely refuse to read, in any series, book #5 before book #4. But perhaps it doesn't really matter?

And if you haven't read this series and enjoy light reading with wonderful characters and simple insights, please do. And don't tell me if you read them out of order:

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (1998)
Tears Of The Giraffe (2000)
Morality for Beautiful Girls (2001)
The Kalahari Typing School for Men (2002)
The Full Cupboard of Life (2004)
In The Company of Cheerful Ladies (2004 )
Blue Shoes and Happiness (2006)
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (2007)
The Miracle at Speedy Motors (2008)
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (2009)
The Double Comfort Safari Club (2010)

5 comments:

Marbel said...

You know, I've been thinking about reading these, even though I am not a detective novel fan.

And I would never, ever, read them out of order.

Literary Feline said...

I really like this series too--and can't believe I've fallen so far behind. :-( From your list, it looks like I have four to read to catch up.

I prefer to read series books in order, but I am not always able to do that. Much to my surprise, my world didn't come crashing down the few times I have read out of order. LOL I was so sure it would. Or, at least, that it would ruin a series for me. If given the option, however, I will start at the beginning.

A quick comment for Marbel - This series isn't really what I would classify as detective fiction even though it features a detective and she solves mysteries. It really is more about the characters and their lives. I hope you will give it a try!

Carin said...

I recently got one of his early books and you make it sound so appealing. Hopefully it'll help move it towards to top of my (horrifically large, teetering) To Read pile.

Booklover Book Reviews said...

I've recently become a huge fan of Mma Ramotswe also - and although I do love a good detective novel, this series isn't so much about the mystery, but more about the wonderful characters observations on people and life in general.

Phyllis said...

I love these books too! Though this particular series could be read out of order without dire consequences, I think it's still best to be read in order. I enjoyed your review!