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Cat Fiction and Nonfiction for Feline Fanciers

28 Feb

You may remember I wrote a post about service dog’s for National Guide Dog Month, which is in September, but my heart truly belongs to another furry beast, the cat.  My beloved fur baby Vlad passed away recently and in his honor I wanted to look at some fun feline fiction and nonfiction available from BCCLS Libraries for all the cat ladies (and cat guys) out there.

The Cat Who Series by Lilian Jackson Braun

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I once read that mystery books with cats on the cover tend to sell more.   The charming story of retired journalist Jim Qwilleran and his Siamese cats Koko and Yum Yum who solve crimes is probably my favorite in the cozy/cat genre.  The first in the series The Cat Who Could Read Backwards was published in 1968, but the majority of the books were published between the late 1980’s to mid 2000’s.  The last novel was set to be published in 2008, but The Cat Who Smelled Smoke remains a mystery due to being first postponed due to the author’s failing health and then her passing in 2011.  Although this left certain plot lines unresolved, the previous 29 books are perfect for curling up with some cocoa on a chilly winter evening.  The series was so popular, there was even a parody written by Robert Kaplow, The Cat Who Killed Lilian Jackson Braun published in 2003.

Mrs. Murphy Mystery Series by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown

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Another mystery series doesn’t just feature a cat protagonist, it also was “co-written” by a feline author, Sneaky Pie Brown, who along with his human companion Rita Mae Brown have created a 26 book series with 27 (Probable Claws) scheduled to come out in May.

Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat by Kaori Tsutaya and translated from the Japanese by Amy Hirschman

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If your cat is too busy taking naps in sun beams to write a bestselling mystery series, they can still assist you in creativity with Kaori Tsutaya’s Crafting with Cat Hair which allows you to make cat hair finger puppets and appliques from the piles of cat hair that you have left behind post brushing.  As someone who once was the owner of a herd of three shedding Persians, I was greatly amused by this book and Tsutaya creativity.

Dinner Pawsible: A Cookbook of Nutritious, Homemade Meals for Cats and Dogs by Cathy Alinovi

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I have been guilty of occasionally splurging and treating my furry friends to gourmet food, but with Dinner Pawsible you can create your own yummy well balanced meal for your furbabies that can be healthier and less expensive than what you buy at the store.  The sixty recipes for cat and dog food were created by a veterinarian certified in food therapy and an advocate for pet food safety and are based on the National Research Council requirements for dogs and cats, but still always check in with your own vet, especially if your pet has special dietary restrictions before changing their diets.

Cat Castles: 20 Cardboard Habitats You Can Build Yourself by Carin Oliver

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If the winter’s chill is keeping you in and has you looking for fun projects than check out Carin Oliver’s Cat Castles.  Included are instructions for making cardboard trains, ships, food trucks, rockets, and other hideaways for your feline friends along with information for scratching pads that can divert sharp claws away from your furniture.  Let other plebian cats curl up in shoe boxes, your cat can lounge and play in style with these easy to assemble and inexpensive crafts.

James Dean’s Pete the Cat Picture Book Series

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Our Hoboken Public Library Patrons may remember Pete the Cat won the library’s election that our Children’s Department ran for kid’s pick for Story Book Characters for President race.  For those not familiar with our first kitty pick, Pete the Cat is a cartoon cat with a talent for the guitar. Originally a self-published work, the books in the Pete the Cat series have sold more than seven million copies and have spent a combined 230 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list according to a 2014 Publisher Weekly article; that is a lot of feline fans!

The Warriors Series by Erin Hunter

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Older children (ages 10 and up), may want to instead check out Erin Hunter’s imaginative fantasy series which debuted with the novel Into the Wild and features a world shared by four tribal cat clans.  Hunter takes typical cat behaviors and creates an elaborate mythology and social structure around them.

Let us know about some of your feline favorites in our comment section!

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

Six Books I’ve Read So Far for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge

21 Feb

There are 24 tasks in the 2018 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, and as of this writing I have finished 6! I have written before about taking on past Read Harder Challenges, and haven’t finished one yet. For 2017 I read 13 of 24 books, the best I’ve done so far. My approach this year is to aggressively tackle the challenges early on as life happens, which can impede my reading. So far the cold winter has inspired me to stay indoors and read lots of books.

These are the six completed tasks and the corresponding books.

The Task: A children’s classic published before 1980.

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Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

I chose Julie of the Wolves as one I can read with my nieces to discuss–I’m still waiting for their thoughts! The story is about a thirteen-year-old girl named Julie who is escaping an unstable home situation. Her goal is to travel from Alaska to San Francisco and live with her pen pal. In the frozen tundra she struggles to survive by observing wolves and eventually becoming part of the pack by mimicking their behaviors. I appreciated how deeply passionate Jean Craighead George was about this book: the story grew from a rejected proposal for a magazine article she wrote about wolves and the Alaskan tundra. 

The Task: A celebrity memoir.

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Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

This task was pretty easy to accomplish as I lead the Lady Memoir Book Club at Little City Books, and have read plenty of celebrity memoirs as part of the group and on my own time. I picked Year of Yes for the January 2018 discussion as the premise was how Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and Shondaland, changed after she committed to saying yes to opportunities that scared her, a good theme to start off a new year. The book was fun to read and has a positive message about making the most of our lives. 

The Task: A book of social science.

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Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

The premise of Option B is how Sheryl Sandberg coped after her husband’s sudden death in 2015. Adam Grant provides solid research about grief and resilience that are masterfully woven into Sheryl’s story (this is why I consider Option B social science) and those of others who have faced tragedy. This book has incredibly sad moments–Sheryl’s retelling of finding her husband unconscious, and having to tell her children that their father died are heartbreaking–but is ultimately hopeful and encourages people to not retreat from life’s hard moments. From this book came the Option B organization.

The Task: A one-sitting book.

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The Four Agreements: A Toltec Wisdom Book by Don Miguel Ruiz

At first I was stymied by this task. But then I found The Four Agreements in my TBR (to-be-read) pile. This book clocks in at 138 pages, and I blew through it while at my dad’s bedside as he waited to go in for a recent surgery. Ruiz uses Toltec wisdom to frame the four agreements around which people should live their lives to be happy. This is a good book to buy and refer to when needed–in particular for the reminder that other people’s behavior is not about you.

The Task: A book of true crime.

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Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History by Maureen Orth

I planned to read Vulgar Favors, the source text for American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, last summer but didn’t get around to it until January. While a lot isn’t known about Andrew Cunanan’s motives (he committed suicide before authorities could capture him) this heavily reported book includes stories from Andrew’s friends, as well as authorities from multiple jurisdictions that pursued him during his 1997 murder spree. What stands out in this book was how misunderstood gay communities were by police in the 1990s, which negatively impacted the investigation into Cunanan’s crimes.

The Task: A romance novel by or about a person of color.

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Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

I considered describing Hate to Want You by using like 10 fire emoji–it’s that steamy. Author Alisha Rai and her heroine Livvy Kane are women of color, so this book doubly completes the task. The book blogs I read highly praised this title. In addition to the sexy stuff, this book has a compelling story about a long-running family feud. I am now obsessed with Rai’s work and will soon read the next book in the Forbidden Hearts series Wrong to Need You, which features Livvy’s twin brother Jackson and her sister-in-law Sadia. Note: If you prefer your romance novels chaste then this series is not for you.

I feel quite accomplished being one-fourth of the way through the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. Hopefully I can maintain this momentum! I will update you when I finish another six books.

Are you following any reading challenges? Tell me in the comments!

-Written by Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

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