Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Libraries and Books...

This afternoon I had an interview for the position of Library Assistant for the Cooper Branch of the Richland County Public Library. It lasted about an hour and went really well. I was interviewed by three women and though I was nervous (and sweating profusely), I feel I made a solid case for my qualifications. And rightly so, because I have some experience performing every task required of this position. They didn’t even balk when I mentioned that I would be gone for most of June.

In fact, they seemed really interested in our trip. AND they talked about how they were trying to figure out how to better engage the area’s Bantu families in their English tutorial programs. I just laughed and said ‘I’m your man.” And maybe it was a sign, but when I walked out, there was Aden, the student I tutor, standing at the counter. I grabbed him and pulled him back into the office to drive home the point that I really DO work well with kids (especially Bantu kids. Ha.) So maybe I’ll get the job. Maybe I won’t. But if this one doesn’t work out, I feel I at least have my foot in the door for a future position. So in celebration of this occasion, I thought I’d recommend a few books, both by Alexander McCall Smith:

Blue Shoes and Happiness

Blues Shoes and Happiness is the 7th book in the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series, the series of which I have previously professed my love. This book was really enjoyable and has a feel more akin to the first three books in the series, when the stories had more to do with cases than with the personal goings on of the characters. A solid return to form, not that the last two were bad at all. The 5th book was the weakest, but the 6th was really strong. I wasn’t sure if this one would meet my expectations, but I certainly did. From Alexander McCall Smith’s website:

“… there is considerable excitement at The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. A cobra has been found in Precious Ramotswe’s office. Then a nurse from a local medical clinic reveals that faulty blood–pressure readings are being recorded there. And Botswana has a new advice columnist, Aunty Emang, whose advice is rather curt for Mma Ramotswe’s taste…”

44 Scotland Street

I thought 44 Scotland Street was a stand-alone book and not part of a series, but it is evidently the first of many, as I have just seen the title of the sequel in the inside cover of Blues Shoes and Happiness. And I am happy, because there were many delightful characters introduced (my favorites being Bertie the genius 5-year-old who resents his mother and Cyril, the beer-drinking dog with a gold-tooth and a penchant for winking at the ladies. Really.) There were several plot lines left unresolved, which I didn’t really notice at first, as the book is broken into about 120 mini-chapters (it was originally published in serial form), so the book hops around a lot. It involves a potentially valuable painting, the difficulties of love, and anthropologists, all taking place around the lives of the residents of 44 Scotland Street. As with his other books, McCall Smith manages to really drive home what it is too be a person- to live a life, to be alive, to be filled with joy or doubt- all from delving into the minutiae of everyday lives. Love it.

1 comment:

tricia said...

COOL!!! When will you know about the job? And now I want to read that newest book, too! That all sounds great!!!!