Poetry Madness
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Interviews | March 17, 2014

Shawn Donley: IMG Peter Stark: The Powells.com Interview



Peter StarkIt's hard to believe that 200 years ago, the Pacific Northwest was one of the most remote and isolated regions in the world. In 1810, four years... Continue »
  1. $19.59 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$4.95
List price: $14.95
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Local Warehouse Mystery- A to Z

The Kalahari Typing School for Men

by

The Kalahari Typing School for Men Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

1. Mma Ramotswe observes, “The trouble with men, of course, was that they went about with their eyes half closed for much of the time. Sometimes Mma Ramotswe wondered whether men actually wanted to see anything, or whether they decided that they would notice only the things that interested them” [p. 17]. What other statements about the differences between men and women occur in The Kalahari Typing School for Men? What perception about male psychology allows Mma Makutsi to open the typing school?

2. What prompts Mr. Molefelo to seek out Mma Ramotswes help? How is his request different from what most people would ask of a private detective?

3. In considering the changing morality of modern times, Mma Ramotswe suggests that people are now “far too ready to abandon their husbands and wives because they had tired of them. . . . And friends, too. They could become very demanding, but all you had to do was to walk out. Where had all this come from, she wondered. It was not African, she thought, and it certainly had nothing to do with the old Botswana morality. So it must have come from somewhere else” [pp. 109-110]. Where might such changes in attitude have come from? What are the consequences of this weakened sense of loyalty, both in the novel particularly, and in society more generally?

4. How does Mma Ramotswe respond to Motholelis unhappiness? Why is she able to sympathize with the orphan girls pain so strongly? What important message does Mma Ramotswe give her?

5. Discussing the relationship between education and experience, Mma Potokwani says, “You dont have to read a book to understand how the world works. . . . You just have to keep your eyes open.” Mma Ramotswe agrees but feels a “great respect for books. . . . One could never read enough. Never” [p. 133]. How does Mma Ramotswe embody a balance between knowledge gained from life experience and knowledge gained from books?

6. Why does Mr. Cephas Buthelezi, the arrogant detective who tries to usurp Mma Ramotswe, decide to quit? Why do all his experience, training, and travels fail to serve him in Botswana? What does he lack that Mma Ramotswe has?

7. As Mma Ramotswe confronts Mr. Selepeng about his behavior toward Mma Makutsi, she refrains from lecturing him. “I could never be a judge, she thought; I could not sit there and punish people after they have begun to feel sorry for what they have done” [p. 183]. Where else in the novel does she exhibit this ability to listen without judging? How does this ethos differ from the typical ways of dealing with the guilty in American detective fiction and American life in general? Why is Mma Ramotswe able to feel such compassion even for those who have clearly hurt others?

8. Near the end of The Kalahari Typing School for Men, as the novels various problems are being resolved, Mma Ramotswe observes, “It was astonishing how life had a way of working out, even when everything looked so complicated and unpromising” [p. 188]. Does the novel resolve its problems too easily? Or do these resolutions faithfully reflect the degree to which Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi, Mr J.L.B. Maketoni, Mma Potokwani, and other characters live in harmony with their world?

9. Mr. Buthelezi trumpets his “toughness” and police-force experience in dealing with serious criminals, along with his knowledge of how detective work is carried out in New York and other big cities. Through the character of Mr. Buthelezi, is Alexander McCall Smith making a statement about the kind of detective who appears in more conventional mystery novels? Why is Mr. Buthelezi so ill suited to the needs of the people of Botswana?

10. What is so appealing about the world in which Mma Ramotswe lives? In what ways is it different from contemporary American society? Are the values and attitudes of Mma Ramotswe translatable into American life?

11. If you have read any of the other novels in the series, what are the recurring themes and situations? In what ways are the books similar? How does Alexander McCall Smith keep the stories fresh?

12. In place of violence and revenge, the novels in the No. 1 Ladies Detective series substitute understanding and forgiveness. How is Alexander McCall Smith able to make this reversal of values so satisfying, in both the literary and moral senses?

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

RNFrankie, July 13, 2008 (view all comments by RNFrankie)
I have enjoyed tremendously Mr. White's series involving Botswanian Precious Ramotswe's detective agency. I highly recommend everyone to try it. It is rated as a detective story... but, it exceeds that definition easily. The books are entrancing, entertaining, and give the reader an insight into other people's thoughts and lives living in Africa. I now own them all, just to be able to re-read them.

Try them, you definitely will like them.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400031801
Subtitle:
A No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel (4)
Author:
Smith, Alexander McCall
Author:
McCall Smith, Alexander
Publisher:
Anchor
Location:
New York
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Women Sleuths
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Botswana
Subject:
Women private investigators
Subject:
Ramotswe, Precious
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Mystery-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
Series Volume:
2004-4
Publication Date:
20040309
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8 x 5.1 x .55 in .45 lb

Other books you might like

  1. The Full Cupboard of Life Used Trade Paper $2.95
  2. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies... Used Trade Paper $6.50
  3. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (No.... Used Hardcover $3.95
  4. Blue Shoes and Happiness (No. 1... Used Trade Paper $4.95
  5. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies Used Trade Paper $7.50
  6. The Full Cupboard of Life: More from... Used Hardcover $5.95

Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Murder in Your Spare Time
Metaphysics » UFOs

The Kalahari Typing School for Men Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Anchor Books - English 9781400031801 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Spare and neatly crafted, The Kalahari Typing School for Men sparkles with African sunshine and Mma Ramotswe's wit."
"Review" by , "The Kalahari Typing School for Men [is] simply charming in the extreme....This series' huge appeal lies in its mannerly folk wisdom and wry, gentle humor, full of wit, nuance and caring. It's an oasis in a genre that too often seems a desert of violence and inhumanity."
"Review" by , "Get your hands on one of the mysteries from The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Each book is a thinly disguised love letter to the people and culture of Southern Africa. A great escape."
"Review" by , "This loosely woven novel is as beguiling as Alexander McCall Smith's earlier books about the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. His prose is deceptively simple, with a gift for evoking the earth and sky of Africa."
"Review" by , "Readers who haven't yet discovered Mma Ramotswe will enjoy discovering how her quiet humor, understated observation, and resolutely domestic approach to detection promise to put Botswana on the sleuthing map for good."
"Synopsis" by , THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY - Book 4

Fans around the world adore the bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, the basis of the HBO TV show, and its proprietor Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s premier lady detective.  In this charming series, Mma  Ramotswe navigates her cases and her personal life with wisdom, and good humor—not to mention help from her loyal assistant, Grace Makutsi, and the occasional cup of tea.

Mma Precious Ramotswe is content. Her business is well established with many satisfied customers, and in her mid-thirties (“the finest age to be”) she has a house, two adopted children, a fine fiancé. But, as always, there are troubles. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni has not set the date for their marriage. Her able assistant, Mma Makutsi, wants a husband. And worse, a rival detective agency has opened in town—an agency that does not have the gentle approach to business that Mma Ramotswe’s does. But, of course, Precious will manage these things, as she always does, with her uncanny insight and her good heart.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.