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Espresso Tales (44 Scotland Street #2)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  6,665 ratings  ·  509 reviews

The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy—just ask his mother.

Back are all our favorite denizens of a Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh. Bertie the immensely talented six y
ebook, 368 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Anchor (first published 2005)
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Amy Turman You don't have to, but I would recommend it just because it is so good. You'll get to know the characters better.
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I love Alexander McCall Smith. I would read his grocery list, and I bet it would be more interesting than a lot of the crap that's out there.
OK, I finished another Alexander McCall Smith book, what can I say, I just love this guy and his writing style.

I love how he gets into the brains and thoughts of so many of his characters. I can tell that he uses certain characters to ruminate on his own philosophies of the case of these books in the 44 Scotland Street series, its Domenica Macdonald, one of the residents of the title address.

I googled Smith's writing style and found this on the BBC website:

McCall Smith's writing offer
Another delightful visit to Scotland Street and we find things changing for all the residents. My favorite character is six year old Bertie, who would just like to have some breathing space and he's not so sure his mother Irene understands, his father Stuart on the other hand may be ready to take a stand! Also we find the narcissistic Bruce back and still full of himself,setting himself on a new course. Of course there are the rest of the delightful cast of characters who are part of these tale ...more
More about the exploits of the characters who live at 44 Scotland Street in Edinburgh. Lively, witty, amusing, and sometimes thoughtful. Gentle reminders about what is important in life find their way into the narrative. For example on p. 327: "Big Lou did not like conflict and estrangement--what was the point, she thought, in being at odds with those whom we should love when our time on this earth was so very short?" In fact, in trying to describe the writing of McCall Smith I would say that he ...more
The second instalment in the lives of the inhabitants of 44 Scotland Street and their friends and relations. For me, the story that continues to dominate is that of Bertie, his appalling mother Irene and his father - who finally locates the car he left parked in Glasgow, after a fashion!

Bertie's introduction to school is a chequered one; he still hankers after a place at Watson's and is determined to find inventive ways to achieve his aim. Matthew's father Gordon has found a new girlfriend, Jani
Judson Williford
I actually just finished the 3rd in this series: Love over Scotland, which I will review shortly.

For my first ever GoodReads review, I wanted to start with this one, not because it was better or worse than the first or third, but because it does have an interesting aspect that sets it apart--not just from the books I've read so far of this series, or by this author, but of anything I've ever read!

That being (with disclaimer following):

Alexander McCall Smith is my guilty pleasure. His are the audio books I want on the airplane, or in the garden while I wrestle with the weeds.

He tackles stereotypical Edinburgh characters, exaggerates them only a little, and plunks most of them down in one apartment building. They make me laugh. Six-year-old Bertie figures strongly, and I cheer for him in his small war against the psychotherapist his mother foists upon him. (She also foists on him the hated pink overalls which are supposed to he
Mary Ronan Drew
By now everyone in the English-speaking world and beyond recognizes the magical pen of Alexander McCall Smith and his various series of books about Scotland and Botswana. When I first discovered The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and tried to tell my friends they HAD to read this book I got puzzled looks. Now McCall Smith’s stories are recognized for their warmth and loving charm.

Publisher’s Weekly describes Espresso Tales better than I could:

Once again McCall Smith fixes his telescope on the win
I really enjoyed the first of Alexander McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street novels, and so was really looking forward to reading this. However, I didn’t quite enjoy this one as much.

On the plus side, I really love the drama of the Pollock family. Poor Bertie has now started at Steiner’s school-where his classmates have names like Tofu and Hiawatha-but longs to be a ‘normal’ boy and go to a school with a blazer and rugby. His unhappiness ultimately impacts his father, Stuart, who admires Irene but
It reminds me of The Westing Game, in that the narrative leaps from one character to another and really gets into their head; the perspectives of constantly-checking-his-reflection Bruce and Cyril the dog particularly stand out. McCall Smith really succeeds in bringing these characters to you; despite the span of their ages, genders, backgrounds, there is a line of resonance in each of their stories that rings in you. The setting - Scotland Street, Edinburgh, the end of summer - is such a strong ...more
This serialized novel tells of several people living in flats at 44 Scotland Street in Edinburgh. The stories of their lives are quietly funny and occasionally absurd. What they always are is true. They are not caricatures of people but real people with foibles and virtues. Bruce deserves a comeuppance but in real life people don't always get what they deserve and the rest of us have to decide whether to be generous or small about it. His characters do this as they discuss moral issues, the wine ...more
This book was better than "44 Scotland Street," the first book in the series. I laughed out loud at some of the scenes, and am probably hooked until I read the last one in this series. My favorite parts are those that deal with Bertie, a very gifted 6-year-old and his family. His attempts to lead a normal life, despite a pushy and "enlightened" mother provide poignancy as well as comedy. There is one episode in which his psychotherapist says 'chow' (the dog) and Bertie mistakes it for 'ciao' (th ...more
I actually started this August 25. It was an audiobook. This is the sequel to No. 44 Scotland Street, which McCall Smith wrote as a daily entry in an Edinburgh newspaper. It qualifies as a comedy of manners with multiple characters tackling the problems of modern life in a variety of ways. One resident - Pat, a college student on her 2nd gap year and working in an art gallery - deals with her growing dislike of her roommate - Bruce, a narcissistic young man who loses his job and decides he is go ...more
Karen Germain
Thankfully, Alexander McCall Smith has a huge fan base. A huge fan base that convinced him to continue with the 44 Scotland Street series beyond his second collection, Espresso Tales. I cannot imagine him abandoning such a colorful group of characters, but as he mentions in his forward, he had intended Espresso Tales to be the end of the series and it would have been, had not friends and fans convinced him otherwise at a publication party.

Although, I would argue that his intention of ending the
Bob Allen
Warning: Partial spoilers, at least hints of what happens in the book. Reading this book without having read the first book (44 Scotland Street) would be an exercise in frustration as it really does continue the story of people who live and work in and around 44 Scotland St. Again, it's just the lives of people, so no real plot line. This second book in the series got me settled into the characters and fleshed out their personalities. McCall Smith has a real talent for weaving the lives of vario ...more
Ell Eastwood
I enjoyed this more than the first book, probably because I was a bit more familiar with the concept and the characters and knew what to expect.

Bertie's parts are still my favourite, and it was nice to see things get better for him. I also liked seeing Bruce fuck up, although of course he was a smug ass by the end still. Oh well, you can't get everything.

I didn't really like Matthey in this though: I found him sympathetic in the first book, but this hatred of Janis in this one was a bit too much
In der 44 Scotland Street haben sich interessante Charaktere unter einem Dach zusammengefunden. Die weitgereiste Domenica, die der in Liebesdingen unsicheren Pat gerne Ratschläge erteilt, der unsympathische Narzisst und Weinkenner Bruce, der sechsjährige Bertie, der für sein Alter schon viel zu weit ist und der unter seiner ehrgeizigen Mutter, seinem durchsetzungsschwachen Vater und dem Psychologen Dr. Fairbairn zu leiden hat.

Der Autor sieht genau hin, wenn es um die Stärken und Schwächen seine
This passing view of Scotland Street shows Smith's typical deft hand at weaving a pastiche of quirky but believeable personalities and philosophical musings. I enjoyed this book in particular because there is some movement toward resolutions of the conflicts portrayed in the initial novel of the series. Little Bertie still struggles to maintain his independence in strawberry colored dungarees but gets some unexpected help from his father. Bruce has lost his job as a surveyor and tries his hand a ...more
Simon Bendle
Filled with delightful characters, gentle humour and wonderful little reflections on life, this is a book you’ll fly through. Alexander McCall Smith is priceless. Somehow his words have the power to revive - the literary equivalent of a nice cup of tea.
The usual cast of characters, another satisfying light read. Bertie is growing up and speaking up, about the pink overalls his mother forces him to wear, his friend Tofu, and all the things he's not allowed to do even though he's six years old. Cyril the dog is biting ankles, mostly ankles belonging to people who richly deserve such punishment. Bruce is still smug and conceited, Pat and Domenica have their own fixations.

This was the first time I took the 50 Book Pledge, and I'm pleased to repor
The only reason this book got two stars is because it is very well written. Apart from that I can´t say I enjoyed it and I found it a relief to finish. The conversations held by the characters in this book were boring most of the time, and very unrealistic. I wish the author would have just told the story and got on with it! The character he introduces in the middle of the book who recounts his memoirs to his wife was the hardest part for me, the temptation to skip his chapters was overwhelming. ...more
Sadie-jane (sj) alexis nunis
a reader mentioned that this series reminded him of Seinfeld. . that's exactly why I loved it.. spot on!

my favourite is bertie and his numerous adventures... With tofu. . With his mum Irene. .. His dad Stuart. . I look forward to reading and hearing (did both the audio book and e book this time)...

did it backwards with this series..started with the 2nd book... now working my way through the first..

The audio book was fun.. The stories are so fun.. This was why I fell in love with AMS' writing whe
When I first heard Alexander McCall Smith was doing a newspaper serial set in Scotland, I was quite interested. I had a relative in Scotland who clipped them out of the newspaper for me, but that was a bit too complicated and expensive to do for long. I was very pleased when I heard the stories were to be published. Now I've read this second book, and I'm still pleased. I've grown fond of the characters (especially Bertie). I didn't realize until I read this one though, that there are several mo ...more
Not as good as the first one, but still very entertaining.
Although things are now a bit different at the flats on Scotland Street, they are definitely still interesting. There are changes within all of the characters, but the change that I enjoyed the most was probably with Bertie's father, Stewart. Pat is still living in the flat with Bruce, but since he was fired from his position at the surveying companay, he decides that he will embark on a new career as a wine merchant.

After Pat's experience with Bruce in the first installment of this series, she
Louise Culmer
This is the second volume of an amusing saga about the inhabitants of an Edinburgh house converted into flats, and the way their various lives interweave with each other and with other characters.

The most entertaining strand is about six year old Bertie, whose ghastly feminist mother is trying to raise him to be without gender stereotying, and so makes him wear pink dungarees, go to yoga classes with her etc, and won't let him do anything normal boys do. Though some of the 'normal' things Bertie
The continued adventures of the residents of 44 Scotland Street continue to entertain and charm, sometimes in annoying ways but that's the way folks are, isn't it?

Bertie, I love Bertie! Definitely my favorite story thread. This time out he uses his considerable intelligence to trade in his "crushed strawberry" colored overalls for real jeans, get into the school and rugby game of his dreams and make a pot of cash playing cards with a Scottish gangster while on an outing to help his father find
Anne Hawn Smith
I loved 44 Scotland Street and this was just as good. It is the characters that make this series so rich, as it is in all Alexander McCall Smith's books. I feel like I'm visiting people I know. Undoubtedly, Bertie is the best character. He is the not quite 6 year old prodigy who is now ready for the Steiner school, when he really wants to go to a nice Rugby playing school. Bertie wouldn't be Bertie if it wasn't for his awful mother...the character you love to hate. And then there is Lou, the big ...more
I can't believe thats been over a year before I managed to get round to this book to find out whats happened to the characters. Reading this is like popping down to a coffee shop and catching up with old friends and it was a great read to take to Ireland for a family wedding, it meant that any hanging about (hubby takes longer than I do to get ready!) I could pick it up and read a couple of chapters.

Pat and Bruce and not the main focus this time, if seems as if Bertie was getting most of the lim
These characters are so ridiculous and live in their own worlds that it's entertaining. (view spoiler) ...more
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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what ...more
More about Alexander McCall Smith...

Other Books in the Series

44 Scotland Street (9 books)
  • 44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street #1)
  • Love Over Scotland (44 Scotland Street, #3)
  • The World According to Bertie (44 Scotland Street, #4)
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Scones (44 Scotland Street #5)
  • The Importance of Being Seven (44 Scotland Street, #6)
  • Bertie Plays the Blues: A 44 Scotland Street Novel (44 Scotland Street, #7)
  • Sunshine on Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street #8)
  • Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers (44 Scotland Street #9)
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency  (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #1) Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #2) Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #3) The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #4) The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #5)

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