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Alexander McCall Smith quotes (showing 1-30 of 855)

“You can go through life and make new friends every year - every month practically - but there was never any substitute for those friendships of childhood that survive into adult years. Those are the ones in which we are bound to one another with hoops of steel.”
Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
“It is sometimes easier to be happy if you don't know everything.”
Alexander McCall Smith, Morality for Beautiful Girls
“She was made for untidy rooms and rumpled beds.”
Alexander McCall Smith, The Sunday Philosophy Club
“The telling of a story, like virtually everything in this life, was always made all the easier by a cup of tea.”
Alexander McCall Smith, The Miracle at Speedy Motors
“We all know that it is women who make the decisions, but we have to let men think that the decisions are theirs. It is an act of kindness on the part of women.”
Alexander McCall Smith, The Full Cupboard of Life
“It was time to take the pumpkin out of the pot and eat it. In the final analysis, that was what solved these big problems of life. You could think and think and get nowhere, but you still had to eat your pumpkin. That brought you down to earth. That gave you a reason for going on. Pumpkin.”
Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
“Gracious acceptance is an art - an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving.... Accepting another person's gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.”
Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland
“That of all people, it should be him; that took her aback. That the heart should settle on somebody like him; that surprised her. But she was so certain about it, so certain.”
Alexander McCall Smith, Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams
“She had a taste for sugar, however, and this meant that a doughnut or a cake might follow the sandwich. She was a traditionally built lady, after all, and she did not have to worry about dress size, unlike those poor, neurotic people who were always looking in mirrors and thinking that they were too big. What was too big, anyway? Who was to tell another person what size they should be? It was a form of dictatorship, by the thin, and she was not having any of it. If these thin people became any more insistent, then the more generously sized people would just have to sit on them. Yes, that would teach them! Hah!”
Alexander McCall Smith, Morality for Beautiful Girls
“Be content with who you are and where you are, and do whatever you can do to bring to others such contentment, and joy, and understanding that you have managed to find yourself.”
Alexander McCall Smith, The Double Comfort Safari Club
“Regular maps have few surprises: their contour lines reveal where the Andes are, and are reasonably clear. More precious, though, are the unpublished maps we make ourselves, of our city, our place, our daily world, our life; those maps of our private world we use every day; here I was happy, in that place I left my coat behind after a party, that is where I met my love; I cried there once, I was heartsore; but felt better round the corner once I saw the hills of Fife across the Forth, things of that sort, our personal memories, that make the private tapestry of our lives.”
Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland
“A life without stories would be no life at all. And stories bound us, did they not, one to another, the living to the dead, people to animals, people to the land?”
Alexander McCall Smith, In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
“Do not act meanly, do not be unkind, because the time for setting things right may pass before your heart changes course.
Isabel Dalhousie”
Alexander McCall Smith, The Careful Use of Compliments
“So the small things came into their own: small acts of helping others, if one could; small ways of making one's own life better: acts of love, acts of tea, acts of laughter. Clever people might laugh at such simplicity, but, she asked herself, what was their own solution?”
Alexander McCall Smith, The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
“But don't we often lie to people we love, or not tell them things, precisely because we love them?”
Alexander McCall Smith, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate
“Mma Ramotswe sighed. 'We are all tempted, Mma. We are all tempted when it comes to cake.'

That is true,' said Mma Potokwane sadly. 'There are many temptations in this life, but cake is probably one of the biggest of them.”
Alexander McCall Smith, In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
“every man has a map in his heart of his own country and that the heart will never allow you to forget this map. (p. 18)”
Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
“...great things may come from moments of nothingness.”
Alexander McCall Smith, The Miracle at Speedy Motors
“...how sorry she felt for white people, who couldn't do any of this (sit talking with friends and growing melons) and who were always dashing around and worrying themselves over things that were going to happen anyway. What use was it having all the money if you could never sit still or just watch your cattle, and yet they did not know it. Every so often you met a white person who understood, who realized how things really were; but these people were few and far between and the other white people often treated them with suspicion. ”
Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
“That is the problem with governments these days. They want to do things all the time; they are always very busy thinking of what things they can do next. That is not what people want. People want to be left alone to look after their cattle.”
Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
“There are many women whose lives would be immeasurably improved by widowhood, but one should not always point that out.”
Alexander McCall Smith, Espresso Tales
“If your ceiling should fall down, then you have lost a room, but gained a courtyard. Think of it that way.”
Alexander McCall Smith, The Right Attitude to Rain
“Why is it that there are always these problems and misunderstandings between men and women? Surely it would have been better if God had made only one sort of person, and the children had come by some other means, with the rain perhaps.”
Alexander McCall Smith, The Kalahari Typing School for Men
“There is room in history for all of us.”
Alexander McCall Smith
“I am just a tiny person in Africa, but there is a place for me, and for everybody, to sit down on this earth and touch it and call it their own.”
Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
“Now constipation was quite a different matter...It would be dreadful for the whole world to know about troubles of that nature. She felt terribly sorry for people who suffered from constipation, and she knew that there were many who did. There were probably enough of them for a political party - with a chance of government perhaps - but what would such a party do if it was in power? Nothing, she imagined. It would try to pass legislation, but would fail." (p, 195)”
Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
“We don't forget.... Our heads may be small, but they are as full of memories as the sky may sometimes be full of swarming bees, thousands and thousands of memories, of smells, of places, of little things that happened to us and which came back, unexpectedly, to remind us who we are.”
Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
“There is plenty of work for love to do.”
Alexander McCall Smith, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
“She had so much love to give - she had always felt that - and now there was somebody to whom she could give this love, and that, she knew, was good; for that is what redeems us, that is what makes our pain and sorrow bearable - this giving of love to others, this sharing of the heart.”
Alexander McCall Smith, In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
“You are a lucky lady to be marrying a man who can fix things. Most husbands just break things.”
Alexander McCall Smith, Morality for Beautiful Girls

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