As part of its celebration of the nation of Botswana this year, Middfest International is sponsoring a Books of Botswana Reading Challenge. It features the works of Alexander McCall Smith, specifically his "No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series which is set in Botswana. The books are a great introduction to the country as well as intriguing detective fiction. I have read several of them and really enjoyed them.
There is a flyer which outlines the reading challenge. The overall goal is to inspire individuals to read one or more of the books, email Middfest to enter a prize drawing, and then attend a Botswana Tea 'N Talk on September 26, 2010 (just prior to Middfest itself, which runs from October 1-3). That event will feature a talk by a historian of Botswana and prize drawings for readers. Just to note, the April 21 book signing by Alexander McCall Smith had to be cancelled due to the Icelandic volcano interrupting his travel plans (there is hope it will be rescheduled).
The Gardner-Harvey Library would like to support this effort by offering our resources over the summer or in the early part of fall semester. I have recently ordered copies of all 11 No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books for our collection (in addition to two by the historian) for individuals to use. Our library would be happy to serve as a meeting spot for any interested book discussion groups. I would be interested in leading a book discussion group as well. If I or my staff can help get groups started or offer guides to discussion questions, we would be glad to do so.
We also have DVDs of the first season of the HBO series based on the books. I would love to offer viewings of the episodes on campus or we'd be happy to lend those out for individual use.
If you would be interested in reading one or more of the books, watching the DVDs, participating in or leading a discussion group, please contact the library. It's great to read on your own, but discussing books with a group can be a lot of fun and bring out aspects of a work you never noticed.