Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Book Review: The Sunday Philosophy Club

I enjoy a book that occasionally sends me to the dictionary for a deeper definition of a word, or to a book of poetry to look up an author, so I really dug into this book by Alexander McCall Smith. My mom had introduced me to the joys of his "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series, starring the delightful Mma Precious Ramotwe, and I was eager to begin this series next.
Isabel Dahlousie is a single woman in her late 30's living in Edinburgh. The book begins when she is at the theater, listening to a lackluster performance, and witnesses a young man fall from the "gods" (the upper balcony). Having an inquisitive nature, she cannot let her suspicion go, and begins a convoluted quest to find out the truth.

In hindsight, the reason I connected to this character is because her thought processes seem to work like mine...not the thoughts themselves, since she is a humanist, and a student of philosophy...but the way her mind (and mine) often "rabbittrails" to other subjects, or music, or quotes relating to the issue at hand. And I appreciate the way that she is always looking at the motive for her actions, and for the actions and behaviors of those around her. In short, she's a thinker.

I loved this description of a book sent to her for review and editing: the "article was weighty, but largely unreadable, owing to the author's style. It appeared to be written in English, but it was a variety of English which Isabel felt occuured only in certain corners of academia, wher faux weightiness was a virtue. It was, she thought, as if the English had been translated from German; not that the verbs all migrated to the end, it was just that everything sounded so heavy, so utterly earnest."

I think I have read some books like that myself!
Toss in a housekeeper and friend who is witty enough to send a book entitled "One Hundred Things for a Teenage Boy to Do" to a friend's husband in the throes of a mid-life crisis, and you have a delightful read.

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