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photo 2016-05-13 17:50

Very chuffed to have a short story published by The Saturday Evening Post. The near-300-year-old magazine has printed stories by some of my idols, including Kurt Vonnegut.


This is a bit more sentimental than my usual fare, so it's a bit off-brand, but I'm still pleased with how it turned out: 


Empty Space Times Two

Source: www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2016/05/13/post-fiction/contemporary-fiction-art-entertainment/empty-space-times-two.html
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text 2015-03-05 09:33
Two FREE Books: Typing and Prayer!

I have two FREE books at Amazon, both on offer until tomorrow:

Tales from the Typeface: a Secretary's Life and How to Survive It


Office life: love it or hate it, but you can't get away from it. Want to laugh at the lighter side of your secretarial career? Then this is the book for you! Discover the essential art of looking busy, how to love your photocopier and carve a path through the stationery jungle. Learn to deal with terrifying tasks, tricky travel arrangements and the horrors of networking. And do it all with a smile on your face and success on your CV. Happy typing! 

A reader review: "hysterically funny and very true of all offices everywhere!" 

Download this book here.

Thirty Ways to Pray Without Really Praying


Thirty Ways to Pray Without Really Praying is a spiritual book designed to help you draw closer to your inner self, whether you pray regularly or not at all. It provides one activity for you to do every day for a month, and will help you focus on the things that are important to you. Happy praying (without really praying at all)!

Download this book here.

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
Biblical Fiction UK

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review 2014-05-06 00:00
The Kalahari Typing School for Men
The Kalahari Typing School for Men - Alexander McCall Smith I enjoyed this, as I have enjoyed the other No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books I have read - it is slight, and the detective element is minimal to nonexistent, but the non-threatening foreignness of both characters and landscape (some of which rings bells with my two years in Africa as a child) are appealing and keep the interest going. I must admit I also enjoy how dominant the women are, even in a patriarchal society.

McCall Smith gives himself a cameo in this one, I think, during a scene at Dr. Moffat's house, where Precious is looking at family photographs:

"And this person standing behind them? The man who is looking at the camera?"

"That is somebody who comes to stay with us from time to time," said Mrs. Moffat. "He writes books."

Mma Ramotswe examined the photograph more closely. "It seems that he is looking at me," she said. "He is smiling at me."

"Yes," said Mrs. Moffat. "Maybe he is."

I get easily irritated these days by churchy morality tales, but for some reason this little fable of sins confessed and redemption by works didn't bother me too much, perhaps because I believe McCall Smith's perception that Botswana has a self-image as a less corrupt, more morally solid nation than its neighbours, and that Mma Ramotswe is very much an embodiment of that culture. I therefore try to chase away the troubling analogies with modern-day Russia, and try not to ask Precious too many hard questions in my mind.

And I do love the image of a bunch of self-important men sitting pecking away at half-functional typewriters at the bidding of a woman (who got 97% at her secretarial school!)
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review 2013-04-13 00:00
The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #4) - Alexander McCall Smith After reading the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency a couple of years ago, I accumulated a few of these, and went through 6 in less than a month. They're very quick reads - I read 2 and part-of-a-third in one day.

They're very entertaining, charming, and compulsively readable. Although marketed as mysteries; they're not, really. Rather they follow Mma Ramotswe and those around her through their daily lives - it's almost besides-the-point that the business she runs is a detective agency. The stories are suffused with McCall-Smith's obvious sincere love of Africa (where he grew up), and the reader feels that a genuine window has opened up into the lives and mindsets of ordinary Africans. I don't agree with many aspects of Precious Ramotswe's view on the world, and I probably wouldn't get along with her in real life - but these books made me feel like I might understand people like her more than before.

However... there's also a weird aspect to the books. They're so relentlessly cozy. It's not that McCall-Smith ignores the poverty, the devastation of AIDS, the lack of education, etc... these things are acknowledged, but then almost swept to the side. On the one hand, it's a celebration of the spirit of the people of Botswana and their love of their homeland... but on the other hand, it sometimes feels like a minimization of these things. It's not just larger social issues: there's domestic abuse, adultery, etc... all the normal foibles of humanity (although all reference to sex of any kind are totally non-existent)- but all the unpleasant things somehow get almost drowned out in the cozy, feel-good atmosphere of the books. Maybe it's just that I usually read darker, grittier material [especially in mysteries {McCall-Smith is no Stieg Larsson!}] but it felt a bit strange to me. I can't decide if it's a detriment or a positive asset to the books.

In 'The Kalahari Typing School for Men,' Mma Makutsi opens her own side business - teching typing to men who might find office skills useful, but might be embarrased to go to a secretarial class poopulated by women. She also has a hope of meeting a nice man... Meanwhile, one of Mr. JLB Maketoni's lazy apprentices has a religious conversion, the orphaned foster children deal with emotional issues, and the detective agency has to deal with a new problem - competion from a rival business. Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe handles the case of how to deal with a man who is guilty over having treated his first girlfriend poorly, many years ago.
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review 2012-09-13 00:00
The Kalahari Typing School for Men - Alexander McCall Smith Another "eh" installment, suffering the lack of an adequate editor. What happened to Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's depression? It's alluded to, but functionally gone. What about Mma Makutsi's excellent work at the garage? It just seems to disappear, as does the work ethic she appeared to have instilled in the apprentices? Why does Mma Makutsi give up on her love interest for no particular reason? And I could swear that in the second book she said she didn't like bush tea, yet she's drinking it constantly. It would be very easy to make this hang together more tightly, but I don't see that happening in this series.
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