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Top 350 Alexander McCall Smith Quotes (2024 Update)
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Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Neighbours are given to us on the same basis as we are given our families. There is no element of choice involved – none at all.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “She had always worked as hard as she could, at everything she did, and she simply did not understand how anybody could do otherwise. How could they sit there, as they did, and stare into the space in front of their desks when they could be adding up figures or checking the drivers’ returns?”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “That place is the place we have always been, and if you think that where you have been is where you should be, then why go to another place that you do not know at all and may not be as good as the place you were in before somebody came along and said to you that you must go forwards – which is not what you wanted to do?”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “I suppose that’s the way affairs come to an end. Somebody grabs a fork and stabs the other in the hand. And that’s it.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Leave them,” said Isabel. “Jamie can iron them himself. It’s very therapeutic for men to iron. Therapeutic for women, that is.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Mrs. Moffat had taken her hand, for comfort, and they had sat there in silence for a while. Sometimes it seemed as if the world itself was broken, that there was something wrong with all of us, something broken in such a way that it might not be put together again; but the holding of hands, human hand in human hand, could help, could make the world seem less broken.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “We act out our lives to a soundtrack, thought Isabel, the music that becomes, for a spell, out favourite and is listened to again and again until it stands for the time itself. But that was about all the scripting that we achieved; the rest, for most of us, was extemporising.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “It was a good place to sit, and listen, under a sky that had seen so much and heard so much that one more wicked deed would surely make no difference. Sins, thought Mma Ramotswe, are darker and more powerful when contemplated within confining walls. Out in the open, under such a sky as this, misdeeds were reduced to their natural proportions – small, mean things that could be faced quite openly, sorted, and folded away.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “As a writer, I have readers who will have a range of political views. I don’t think they look to me for political guidance.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Mma Ramotswe tucked the cheque safely away in her bodice. Modern business methods were all very well, she thought, but when it came to the safeguarding of money there were some places which had yet to be bettered.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Of course you could not allow yourself to think too much about these issues. One had to get on and to attend to the day-to-day business of living.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “As a writer, you have to realize that people want to like the characters, so you have to be careful to keep them involved.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “It was, he thought, his gesture against the whole pro-euthanasia movement that talked so glibly of choice without realising the fire with which one played when tinkering with fragile taboos against killing others. Yes, he thought, Mrs Bates’s life did not seem to amount to much, but to her it was all she had.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “The trouble with this country... is that we are utterly surrounded by busybodies trying to stop us doing things. Or telling us what to do... Big Brother, with his ubiquitous closed-circuit cameras-which now monitored, it seemed, every square inch of public space-and his condescending imprecations and warnings, was everywhere... In his view, it was up to the individual whether or not to approach a cliff edge; it was not the Government’s business.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “This had happened because she had been able to make that sudden imaginative leap that lies at the heart of our moral lives: the ability to see, even for a brief moment, the world as it is seen by the other person. It is this understanding that lies behind all kindness to others, all attempts to ameliorate the situation of those who suffer, all those acts of charity by which we make our lives something more than the pursuit of the goals of the unruly ego.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “It was a warm evening, at least by the standards applied in Scotland, where summer is sometimes no more than a promise, an aspiration.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “I just focus on getting the first scene right, with a few lines about the overall plot, and then the book grows organically.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “We can’t have moral obligations to every single person in this world. We have moral obligations to those who we come up against, who enter into our moral space, so to speak. That means neighbors, people we deal with, and so on.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Writers obviously have to bear witness to the harsh face of the age.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “The size of one’s house might bear a relationship to the size of one’s opinion of oneself, but it had nothing to do with one’s real worth.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Although she was not a great reader, Mma Potokwane was a firm believer in the power of the book. The more books that Botswana had, in her view, the better. It would be on books that the future would be based; books and the people who knew how to use them.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “She was, he reflected, one of his closest friends, in a rather curious, slightly old-fashioned way.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “And a coffee cup, as we all know, is not something that it pays to look into if one is searching for meaning beyond meaning; coffee, in all its forms, looks murky and gives little comfort to one who hopes to see something in it. Unlike tea, which allows one to glimpse something of what lies beneath the surface, usually more tea.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “I am just saying that we have to have some things that we like, otherwise we shall be very unhappy. And if you are very unhappy you can die – we all know that.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “To be able to imagine the ohter, and the experience of the other was what wisdome was all about; but nobody talked about wisdom very much anymore, nor virtue perhaps because wisdom was nto appreciated in a world of glitz and effect.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “She did not have strong views on politics. She did not like the confrontational nature of much political discussion; why could people not argue politely, she wondered, taking into account the views of others and accepting that people might differ with one another in perfectly good faith?”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “There was a great deal of progress being made, right under their noses, particularly in Africa, and this progress was good. Life was much harder for tyrants than it had been before.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “The ordinary you, the you that has to go to work every morning, the you that has to run a household, pay bills, do all of those things – that you is somehow changed into an exciting, artistic, fully alive you. That’s what Paris does.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “All of us had hard choices, she thought; the greatest of us and the least of us, and we had to feel our way through them and accept that there would sometimes be regrets.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “There is no need to be unkind to people who are unhappy inside themselves. There is room for everyone. Everyone should be able to find somewhere on this earth to sit down.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “If you did not keep your yard in reasonable order, then your whole life would be similarly untidy. A messy yard told Mma Ramotswe everything she needed to know about its owner.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Down below, amongst children, ice cream and chocolate are the bargaining chips supreme, as powerful as money and military force are amongst adults.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “It was hard to disappear completely in Botswana, where there were fewer than two million people and where people had a healthy curiosity as to who was who and where people had come from. It was very difficult to be anonymous, even in Gaborone, as there would always be neighbours who would want to know exactly what one was doing and who one’s people had been.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Dreadfully insincere,′ said Angus. ‘Psychopaths – every one of them. Show me a cat, Domenica, and I’ll show you a psychopath. Textbook examples.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “A firefly came into view against the warm darkness. Then it went off, darting and dipping erratically – out into the night, a tiny pinpoint of light, which, at the end of the day, is all that is needed.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “People with something to hide wore sunglasses indoors. They were the ones you had to watch very carefully.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Great art, she felt, had a calming effect on the viewer; it made one stop in awe, which is exactly what Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol did not do. You did not stop in awe. They stopped you in your tracks, perhaps, but that was not the same thing; awe was something quite different.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “She saw the picture of idle fishing boats tied up at Peterhead; further gloom for Scotland and for a way of life that had produced such a strong culture. Fishermen had composed their songs; but what culture would a generation of computer operators leave behind them?”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Words were the very first bandage for any wound.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “He felt weary. Life was a battle against wear; the wear of machinery and the wear of the soul. Oil. Grease. Wear.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “We all had to say goodbye, sooner or later, to those we love – or they had to say goodbye to us. Those were the only two possibilities that this world allowed. But no matter how much we tried to face up to it, it never became easier.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “We don’t hate people, Puso. We don’t hate anybody.” He looked at her sullenly. “Why?” he asked. “Because hate makes you very tired,” said Mma Ramotswe. She wondered whether there was more to say, but suddenly she felt tired herself.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “There are lies you tell with your lips and lies you don’t need your lips for. And once people start telling lies, then they become like spiders who weave their web about themselves. They become stuck-caught by the lies all about them. And then they can’t get out of the web, no matter how hard they try.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “One might forget so many exotic cheeses, he thought, but the memory of cheddar always remained. “Should one be embarrassed by choosing cheddar every time?” he asked. Matthew laughed. “There’s no need to apologize for simple things.” “But is cheddar simple?” Domenica enquired. “Just because there’s a lot of it, does that make it simple?”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “People’s lives are delicate; you cannot interfere with them without running the risk of changing them profoundly. A chance remark, a careless involvement, may make the difference between a life of happiness and one of sorrow.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Hate is very easy to unleash,” the Duke continued. “All you need is the Other. And then people will take over from you and do all the hating that needs to be done, all the belittling, all the insulting and bullying.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “That, of course, is always a good time to think – when you know that you are going to have to do something, but you know that you do not have to do it just yet.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Dogs can read signals – look at sheepdogs; they understand hand movements for left and right. Dogs are no fools, you know.” He paused. “Well, some are. Some dogs are truly stupid, Ulf.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “The whole culture of work had become so intrusive and demanding that people had to do it. And the result was that they were left with little time for simply living their lives, for going for a walk, for sitting in a bar, for reading a book. It was all work.”
Alexander McCall Smith Quote: “Charlie had indeed done something stupid. But this realisation only made her want to defend him. Of course young men did stupid things – it was part of being a young man.”
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