Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith and Andrew Sachs (Audiobook/Podcasts)

Corduroy MansionsCorduroy Mansions is officially my first audiobook, and podcast! What a whole new world I had discovered when I discovered both! Can’t believe what I’d been missing all this time!

To trace back a little, I am never a good listener. As in I often miss what people say in general, even in my first language (not that I’m not patient to listen people talking — I’m good that way). Studying English in school, I scored lowest for Listening, in comparison to Grammar, Reading, and Speaking. If only I found audiobook when I was in high school!

I approached the podcasts with apprehension, but I was hooked since the first episode! Andrew Sachs is such a fantastic reader! It’s so wonderful that I found him as my first narrator. The down side of it is that after I listened to more audiobooks, all the readers (especially male readers) are pale in comparison. With Andrew Sachs, it doesn’t feel like he’s reading text. It feels like he’s talking to you out of his head.

Andrew Sachs
Andrew Sachs, my new love <3

Corduroy Mansions is I’d say typical of Alexander McCall Smith’s: cozy, safe, adorable, lightly humoured. We are presented with a quite large number of characters that live in the mansion, some their friends or family members who live somewhere else. There is very little plot. It’s mostly the musings and interaction of the characters.

The podcast is only about 6-7 minutes each, going for 100 episodes. It’s just perfect for me to listen to walking from the bus stop to my office. I listened to only a couple of episodes each day, which seemed to work very well. It’s not plot heavy, so you don’t want to rush through it, and allow to characters gradually sip in. With my listening problem, I even listened to each podcast twice until about halfway through the 100 episodes. After that I had started to build up my listening stamina, and only needed to listen once (most of the time :).

To be honest I don’t know if I would like the book if I read it instead of listening to it. But as audiobook, it’s almost perfect! Not to mention that it’s free! Thanks to Jackie @ Farm Lane Books Blog who I first knew about the podcasts from!

Have you read/listened to the book? Who’s your favorite character and who you liked the least? I actually liked a lot of the characters, even the supposedly least likeable one like MP Snark (he amused me). My least favorite is Terence Moongrove, the air-headed old man who just sounds impossible that he has lived that long in the world. My favorite characters are probably (unavoidably) Freddie de la Hay the dog and his owner William French. They’re both just so adorable.

4.5 stars
2008, 13 hours

The second book is now available, titled The Dog who Came in from the Cold. It’s up to chapter 77 now, so you can still catch up! I just started the second season a few days ago and am at chapter 8 now. Podcasts of the first book is no longer officially available, but there’s this telegraph xml link from where you can download them (get them quick before they put it down :).

Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith

Tears of the Giraffe This is the second book for the The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. I thought it’s better than the first. When the first consists of several short cases, this one is more flowing with only a couple of cases (I found myself reading faster when it’s flowing, rather than pausing every so often), and there are more stories around the relationship of the characters. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni (Mma Ramotswe’s fiance) has got a lot more appearances, and since he’ll be married to her I expect him to be around for the next books as well. Mma Makutsi, Mma Ramotswe’s secretary, comes more into the picture too.

A short sweet book. Sweet characters. Sweet thoughts. Sweet philosophy of life. Funny names. Even the way they speak is so cute. Looking forward to reading more books in this series (I already have several on my shelf).

Oh just in case you’re expecting a giraffe comes running in tears, there’s no tears nor giraffe in the book…

Rating: 4 out of 5 [Very good]
Plot is getting more interesting. Better than the last book. (lines copied from my last review of Harry Potter 3, but it’s true :)

First line

Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, found it difficult to believe that Mma Ramotswe, the accomplished founder of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, had agreed to marry him.

Last line

“I hope so,” she said.

Quote

“The only way to sound modern, it appeared, was to say that people could do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and no matter what anybody else might think. That was the modern way of thinking.” ~ Mr J.L.B. Matekoni p40

Also reviewed by

The Armenian Odar Reads | Suko’s Notebook

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

I’ve finished this book a while ago, but just have time to write about it now. It’s very light reading. Like someone said, reading it feels like having a holiday in Africa, with people’s and places’ funny names and all. The setting is in Botswana, about a lady detective called Mma Ramotswe. She’s on for a few cases, which I think a bit ordinary, no twist and surprises. The whole book is pretty flat either, no particular climax. It’s still quite refreshing though. Like I said, it’s like a not very happening holiday. At the very least, it’s relaxing.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Light reading, enjoyable, simplistic. I will continue reading the series.

Folktales from Africa: The Girl Who Married A Lion by Alexander McCall Smith

Folktales from Africa: The Girl Who Married A Lion by Alexander McCall Smith

I finished the book a while ago. Borrowed it from Hailey. In fact, I was the one recommended the book to her on one book fair in Expo many moons ago. But there’s really nothing much to say about the book, because it’s just far too simplistic. The most interesting about it is probably the book cover, the illustrations inside, and the introduction.

The stories are bland, even for children stories. Almost all characters are animals. Hare is often the bad guy and lion is often portrayed as powerful but kinda stupid. Some stories have no reasonings. Like why a lion would want to marry a human girl?

I’ve started the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by the same author though, now that is good book. Alexander McCall Smith is supposed to be good. I just think he’s no children story teller. That or the African folk tales are not that great to begin with.

Ratings: 2.5 out of 5
Overly simplistic. Therefore not exactly entertaining.

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