So, it started with Liz's comment that she had made a good charity shop find, Antonia White's fictionalized story of two cats she had owned, Minka and Curdy (my copy is hopefully en route to me even as I type). Cat's in literature. Now that sounds like a fun Thursday Thirteen. And so, here it is. A little break after a couple of somewhat heavy-duty reviews of books, cats are playful and entertaining and I so so wish I still had my lovely kitties to brighten my day. The next best thing (always the next best thing) reading a book about them instead. My list is somewhat idiosyncratic. A few I have read, a few others I own and even more I have on my wishlist! They are mostly novels but there are a few nonfiction reads in the list as well.
Let me start with my own charity shop (an ex-library copy) find, Cats, edited by Hanns Reich and text by Eugene Skasa-Weiss. The book was published in 1965 and is filled with charming and happy (well, happy for the cats, but maybe not their prey . . .) B&W photos of our feline friends. Photo above is taken from the book.
Gigi and the Cat by Colette -- Have you ever seen photos of Colette with her cats? Why is it that authors seem like nature cat lovers?
Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart -- "After the tragic death of her father, Bryony Ashley returns from abroad to find that his estate is to become the responsibility of her cousin Emory. Ashley Court with its load of debt is no longer her worry. But there is something odd about her father's sudden death ...Bryony has inherited the Ashley 'Sight' and so has one of the Ashleys. Since childhood the two have communicated through thought patterns, though Bryony has no idea of his identity. Now she is determined to find him. But danger as well as romance wait for her in the old moated house, with its tragic memories ...". I thoroughly enjoyed this when I read it a few years ago, and yes, there is a connection with cats!
Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll -- How sad, but I have yet to read this . . . "Countless scholars have tried to define the charm of the Alice books–with those wonderfully eccentric characters the Queen of Hearts, Tweedledum, and Tweedledee, the Cheshire Cat, Mock Turtle, the Mad Hatter et al.–by proclaiming that they really comprise a satire on language, a political allegory, a parody of Victorian children’s literature, even a reflection of contemporary ecclesiastical history. Perhaps, as Dodgson might have said, Alice is no more than a dream, a fairy tale about the trials and tribulations of growing up–or down, or all turned round–as seen through the expert eyes of a child."
Breakfast at Tiffanys by Truman Capote -- "In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany's; her poignancy, wit, and naïveté continue to charm." If you've seen the movie you will know all about that famous orange marmalade cat!
The Fur Person by May Sarton -- "his enchanting story and classic of cat literature is drawn from the true adventures of Tom Jones, May Sarton’s own cat. Prior to making the author’s acquaintance, he is a fiercely independent, nameless Cat About Town. Growing tired of his vagabond lifestyle, however, he concludes that there might be some appeal in giving up his freedom for a home."
The Hotel Cat by Esther Averill -- "One wintry day a lonely stray cat wandered into the Royal Hotel. He chased mice so well that he was given the job of Hotel Cat. Tired of always spending time in the cellar Tom ventured upstairs and met the gentle Mrs. Wilkins, a longtime hotel resident who had the ability to communicate with cats. She encouraged Tom to keep an open mind about the hotel guests."
Conversations with Amber by Gladys Bagg Taber -- You might know this author for her books about her Stillmeadow books. She also wrote a couple about her cat Amber. She had a great love of nature and of for her animals.
Seven Lives and One Great Love by Lena Divani -- "This is the story—a love story of epic dimensions—of Sugar, a cat with a keen wit and a reflective nature, and his human, Madamigella, a writer with a frenetic and impossibly dispersive life."
The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide -- ". . .a subtly moving and exceptionally beautiful novel about the transient nature of life and idiosyncratic but deeply felt ways of living. A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo; they work at home, freelance copy-editing; they no longer have very much to say to one another. But one day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. It leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. Soon they are buying treats for the cat and enjoying talks about the animal and all its little ways."
Dorrie and the Blue Witch by Patricia Coombs -- I loved, loved, loved these Dorrie books when I was little. Dorrie is a junior witch whose socks were always falling down, and she was always in the company of her lovely Siamese cat Dingbat. They are an absolute delight if you ever come across them. I wish I still had my copies.
Wish You Were Here: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae Brown -- "Crozet, Virginia, is a typical small town-until its secrets explode into murder. Crozet's thirty-something post-mistress, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen, has a tiger cat (Mrs. Murphy) and a Welsh Corgi (Tucker), a pending divorce, and a bad habit of reading postcards not addressed to her. When Crozet's citizens start turning up murdered, Harry remembers that each received a card with a tombstone on the front and the message "Wish you were here" on the back. Intent on protecting their human friend, Mrs. Murphy and Tucker begin to scent out clues."
Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper -- "The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight."
I know cat books abound. Do you have a favorite?