Wednesday 30 April 2008

"But I've got some lazing to do..."

Every now and then, you need a book that is unashamedly silly. And when you're feline like that (a-ha-ha) you need a book about cats. Obviously.

My personal favourite is on Amazon here - Jeffrey Brown's observations are astute, witty and very catty... So, when Molly Brandenburg offered me a review copy of Everyday Cat Excuses, the only answer I was going to give was "Yes! Yes, cats!" I don't really know how I can give a book review of a book like this. Dostoevsky it ain't, but I rather think old Fyodor would have enjoyed flicking through this book.

Those of us who have owned cats, or currently own cats, know that they're not the most active and servile of creatures. They might be able to recognise their own name, but aren't stupid enough to pay any heedance to it. They know when it's dinner time, and the rest of the itinerary is on their terms. So, if you ask them to do something, it's more or less a given that they'll have an excuse...

And so Molly draws cartoons depicting these excuses. An example is pictured - it's the cartoon which is a great deal more polished than mine! My favourites are the little series of "Because I need to go outside."
"Actually, I need to go inside." "Inside? Craziness - outside for me, please". And so on. (I paraphrase). There is so much to observe in our feline friends. For a novel with a great cat, I recommend Ivy Compton-Burnett's Mother and Son. For an amusing present to a cat lover, do check out either Molly's book, or Jeffrey Brown's (linked to above).

Something properly literary soon, promise!


  1. There's no shame in not being literary! One of the things I hated most about being an English major was how seriously everyone took themselves.

    I admit that I have my own prejudices - call something chick-lit and I instantly judge it. But reading doesn't always have to be about language that you can't possibly understand without Deep Thought.

  2. I guess Dark Puss has to comment upon this weblog posting!

    "Great Cat Books" - well there are some others for you to consider. The incomparably wonderful "Jenny" by Paul Gallico which to my mind is the closest any author has got to imagining what it would be really like to be a cat and, in a very different genre, "The Cat" by Colette in which the beautiful cat Saha becomes the object of jealousy that destroys the marriage of Alain and Camille.

  3. I too, thought of Paul Gallico's book Jennie. A lovely book. I also like "Flowers for Mrs Harris" by the same author — I have tried to find the other books about Mrs Harris without success.

  4. One ardent BookCrosser reader, LizzyB, told me that she dreads a cat or a dog being prominently featured in a novel, as it always end up as being a vehicle for pathos (i.e.) going missing, or meeting a sticky end. She probably reads more books in a year than I'll get through in a lifetime, but is there really much evidence of this?

  5. I don't know - but I can't think of too many books about dogs or cats right now. Doris Lessing's "On Cats" has sad parts but on the whole it isn't a sad book. It is so many years since I read "The Incredible Journey" by Sheila Burnford that I don't remember - but I don't think of it as a sentimental book. Other than that I can only think of Lilian Jacson Braun's "The Cat Who books" which are not mainly about the cats and James Herriot books which indeed have some stories you cry over but I don't think they are in majority.

  6. I like the cat Faustina in Barbara Pym's An Unsuitable Attachment - they aren't always the occasion for pathos. And Zachariah, the cat in Elizabeth Goudge's The Little White Horse, is suitably conscious of his dignity.

    For no good reason, I was reminded that Phaea, the Geranium Cat, used to tap imperiously on the window with a single claw, when she wanted to come in. Impossible to ignore.


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