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Topic: LOVE Alexander McCall Smith... Any suggestions for other authors?

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Subject: LOVE Alexander McCall Smith... Any suggestions for other authors?
Date Posted: 1/16/2009 10:18 PM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2007
Posts: 22
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Hello!  I love all of Alexander McCall Smith's writing including  #1 Ladies Detective Agency, 44 Scotland St, Isabel Dalhousie, and Port Irregular Verbs' series.  His writing is quirky and light!

My reading tends to the heavy nonfiction 500 page history book, so when I read fiction I enjoy the lightness, humor and personalities that  Mr. Smith's books have.

I've looked and looked at places like Amazon for "similar" authors, but when I have read the reccommended books they seem like silly, girly drivel.  Some were romances, some were mysteries, and some were just plain weird!

Help!  Mr. Smith can't write books fast enough for me so I need to fall in love with someone else!

Any suggestions would be great.


Date Posted: 1/17/2009 3:01 AM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2008
Posts: 914
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I have found Charlaine Harris' Shakespeare series very good.  It is considered a "cozy" mystery but I don't think it is as girlie as her Sookie Stackhouse series.  The main character is very stoic and the author fleshes out the residents of Shakespeare Arkansas very nicely.

For a change of pace, I absolutely love Tony Hillerman.  His mysteries take place in Navajo country and the reader gets to know two tribal police officers; Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee very well as they solve crimes that happen on the reservation.  Just as with Precious, you get a glimpse of another culture and their view of life and death.

I checked on my library site for other read a likes, these are ones I haven't read.  Agatha Christie is the grand dame of the genre and McCall Smith has said that Miss Christie was a role model he based Precious on.  James Thurber is early 20th century but has the same sly humor and peculiar personalities. 

R. K. Narayan. His wonderfully detailed Malgudi books create a compelling vision of India; without Narayan, said his eminent author friend Graham Green, "I could never have known what it is like to be an Indian." Ordinary, interesting people do ordinary, interesting things in the Malgudi stories, much like the characters in McCall Smith's books, especially in the 44 Scotland Street series. Straightforward but thoughtful prose illuminates Narayan's investigation into human nature, and a gentle touch of humor and irony speaks to universal themes that transcend the fictional Indian town. As it is not necessary to read the books in series order, readers may wish to start with one of Narayan's most acclaimed books, The Guide, winner of India's most prestigious literary award, the National Prize of the Indian Literary Academy. Attention to character drives The Guide, in which a newly-released prisoner is mistaken for a holy man and decides to act the part.

Hope this gets you started :)

Date Posted: 1/17/2009 12:21 PM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2007
Posts: 22
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Thanks so much, I'll check them out! 

Anyone else want to weigh in on this?

Date Posted: 1/18/2009 10:43 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 2,027
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I don't really care for Alexander McCall Smith's books myself, but the Maisie Dobbs series would probably interest you.  The writing is not cozy-ish, but is rather introspective.  They also fall back to historical themes a lot too, which I love.  They are just wonderful books.

Date Posted: 1/18/2009 12:53 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2007
Posts: 3,129
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Sara, have you tried the website www.gnooks.com?  You type in the names of 3 authors that you like and it will come up with other authors in the same vein.

Date Posted: 1/18/2009 9:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/20/2008
Posts: 13
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I too love Alexander McCall Smith.  I'm reading mainly mysteries these days, but they MUST have strong characterizations in them.  I have thoroughly enjoyed Donna Leon's series set in Venice, as well as Lee Harris' "Murder in..." (three books in that series).

For gentle fiction, definitely Jan Karon's Mitford series about an Episcopalian priest in a small town in North Carolina and all the quirky townsfolk that make this series an enjoyable escape.  (At Home in Mitford is the first book)

Date Posted: 1/27/2009 8:48 AM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2007
Posts: 22
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Subject: Not books, but movies
Date Posted: 1/27/2009 12:48 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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Have you seen 'The Gods Must Be Crazy' parts 1 & 2? When I first read 'The Ladies' No.1 Detective Agency' I was reminded of those movies, not just because they take place in Africa but perhaps because of the gently humorous view of life.