Top 100

Top 300 Alexander McCall Smith Quotes (2023 Update)
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Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “She had a great respect for books herself, and she wished that she had read more. One could never read enough. Never.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Perhaps trust had to be accompanied by a measure of common sense, and a hefty dose of realism about human nature. But that would need a lot of thinking about, and the tea break did not go on forever.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “If more women were in power, they wouldn’t let wars break out,” she said. “Women can’t be bothered with all this fighting. We see war for what it is- a matter of broken bodies and crying mothers.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Saying sorry does not make you look small – it makes you look big.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Some people cannot bear news like that. They think they must live forever, and they cry and wail when they realise that their time is coming. I do not feel that, and I did not weep at that news which the doctor gave me. The only thing that makes me sad is that I shall be leaving Africa when I die.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “That was the trouble with people in general: they were surprisingly unrealistic in their expectations.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Crisis. It was a time of sustained anxiety for anybody who read a newspaper or listened to the news on the radio, and that included his mother, Mrs. Florence Woodhouse, who was anxious at the best of times and even more so at the worst. What was the point of continuing the human race when nuclear self-immolation seemed to be such a real and imminent possibility? That was the question that occurred to Florence as she was admitted to the delivery ward of a small country hospital in Norfolk.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “But you cannot expect every writer to dwell on human suffering. I think my books do deal with grave issues. People who say they are too positive probably havent read them.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “There are so many things we take in subconsciously and are unaware we ever saw. There is plenty of lumber like that in our minds.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “The husband should say to the reverend: ‘And I promise not to defy my wife.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “I write four books a year. I’m very fortunate that I write quickly; around 3,500 words a day. Being strict about delineating my writing time and personal life, as well as keeping distractions at bay, is the only way I can accomplish this.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Men can be teenagers until well into their twenties. That is well known.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “It was easy to make a difference to other people’s lives, so easy to change the little room in which people lived their life.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Everybody knows, she thought, that we have a skeleton underneath our skin; there’s no reason to show it.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Writers just play out their fantasies in their books. They are often very unstable, tricky people, Bertie. Writers are usually very bad at real life and feel that they have to create imaginary lives to make up for it.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “She had been tied to an incubus, the memory of a love that had been rejected and had had nowhere to go; she had been locked into a dead relationship and now the last dried skin of it had fallen away, like the scab on a wound, and she was free.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Some of my characters are a mixture of various aspects of people I have met. others are pure invention.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “I would certainly never consider myself a Renaissance Man; I’m not fit to look at the dust from the chariot wheels of many of those who have gone before me.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Sometimes she thought that the people overseas had no room in their heart for Africa, because nobody had ever told them that African people were just the same as they were.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “What does it matter, she thought, if businesses are left unattended, if people are not always as we want them to be; we need the time just to be human, to enjoy something like this: a boy chasing ants, a dry land drinking at last, birds in the the sky, a rainbow.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Africa had a way of coming back and simply covering everything up again.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “The sun went, and it was dark. He sat beside her in the comfortable darkness and they listened, contentedly, to the sounds of Africa settling down for the night. A dog barked somewhere; a car engine raced and then died away; there was a touch of wind, warm dusty wind, redolent of thorn trees.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Most theories and ideologies claimed to explain the world, or some aspect of it, but did not in any real sense influence the world. Underneath everything, beneath the layers of explanation that we created, beneath all our elaborate protocols, people still did exactly as they wanted to do. In other words, you did not change human nature by inventing a theory of human nature.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Human history seems to me to be one long story of people sweeping down – or up, I suppose – replacing other people in the process.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “You do not have to read a book to understand how the world works. You just have to keep your eyes open.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “She was tuned in to a different station from most people and the tuning dial was broken.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “We are all human, she would say. Men particularly. You must not be ashamed.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “She watched him take the trumpet from its case and fit the mouthpiece. She watched as he raised it to his lips and then, so suddenly, from that tiny cup of metal against his flesh, the sound would burst out like a glorious, brilliant knife dividing the air. And the little room would reverberate and the flies, jolted out of their torpor, would buzz round and round as if riding the swirling notes.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “I have always taken the view that one should never hold against a man anything he says after twelve o’clock at night or after a glass or two of anything.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “There are many sadnesses in the hearts of men who are far away from their countries.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Those important brain circuits, the ones that enabled most of us to avoid saying the wrong thing, were simply not there in Martha’s case; or fired in the wrong order; or were short-circuiting. In other words, Martha Drummond was an electrical problem. And understanding people as electrical problems undoubtedly helped one to tolerate them.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Well,” said Mma Ramotswe, “I have felt that anger. I felt it when I saw that the van had gone. I felt it a bit in the truck on the way back. But what is the point of anger now, Mma? I don’t think that anger will help us.” Mma Makutsi sighed. “You are right about anger,” she said. “There is no point in it.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Truth had a way of coming out on top – and it was just as well for everybody that it did. If there ever came a day when truth was so soundly defeated that it never emerged, but sank, instead, under the sheer volume of untruth that the world produced, then that would be a sad day for Botswana, and for the people who lived in Botswana. It would be a sad day for the whole world, that day.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “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 Quote: “He said: What is patriotism but love of the food one ate as a child?”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “If you want to write, do two things – read lots of books and also, in your own writing, practise. Just write and write and then write again. persist. And never be put off or discouraged. You can do it!”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “There are so many ways of falling off the high moral ground you’ve carefully built up for yourself. Moral ground is like that – slippery at the edges.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “People don’t talk about mercy very much these days – it has a rather old-fashioned ring to it. but it exists and its power is quite extraordinary.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Brother Fox looked in. He saw two people. He saw them raise their glasses of wine to him, liquid that for him was suspended in the air, as if by a miracle.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “We can be confident in our dealings with the world when what the world sees is the outer person, with all the outer person’s defences: the intimacy of a love affair is a different matter altogether. And who might not feel just the slightest bit insecure under the gaze of a lover – a gaze which falls on birthmarks, on blemishes physical and psychological, on our imperfections and impatience, on our human vulnerability?”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “I do not think this is so, because there is no difference between white men and black men; we are all the same; we are just people.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Rich people are just people,” said Mma Ramotswe. “I have not met a rich person yet who isn’t just the same as us. Being happy or unhappy has nothing to do with being rich.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “The whole point about childhood,” Domenica went on, “is that it affords us a brief moment of innocence and protection from the pressures of the world. Parents who push their children too hard intrude on that little bit of space.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “And the problem was that there was a positive epidemic of narcissism, encouraged by commercial manipulation and by the shallow values of Hollywood films. And interestingly enough, the real growth area was male narcissism.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “And that is why we must answer her hatred with love. I can’t say whether it will change her in her heart – it probably won’t. But if it makes her feel even just a little bit better about herself, she will be less envious.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “I am often thanked by people for inventing the term traditionally built. The people who give me thanks for this are often traditionally built themselves.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Myth could be as sustaining as reality – sometimes even more so.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “By the time Domenica arrived at the Gothic Revival sandstone building on Queen Street, she had put out of her mind all thought of Antonia’s torrid affair – at least she assumed it was torrid, and anyway, she wondered if there was any point in having an affair which was not torrid.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “It was always the best way of finding out information; just go and ask a woman who keeps her eyes and ears open and who likes to talk. It always worked. It was no use asking men; they simply were not interested enough in other people and the ordinary doings of people. That is why the real historians of Africa had always been the grandmothers, who remembered the lineage and the stories that went with it.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “We should all busy ourselves in being who we are, although many of us do not and spend so much time and energy being something else. We try to be what others want us to be, or what we ourselves want to be. And then we suddenly realise that our lives have shot past and we have not got round to being who we really.”
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