Tag Archives: cats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Fashionable Read: Grace, A Memoir

18 Mar

Who is Grace Coddington, the woman behind this fascinating memoir?

Grace a Memoir

Grace is the creative director of Vogue*, arguably the most influential modern fashion publication today. Her primary responsibility is styling and executing many of the fashion photo shoots that appear in the magazine each month.

Anna Wintour, Vogue’s formidable editor-in-chief whose icy, composed persona inspired the Miranda Priestly character in the book and film The Devil Wears Prada, is the most visible figure associated with the brand.

Grace was behind the scenes until The September Issue, a documentary that followed the Vogue staff as they created the eponymous issue in 2007, premiered in August 2008.

In the film, Grace cursed when frustrated and was occasionally ornery with the filmmakers that trailed her as she worked. She was the anti-Anna. This all made her a breakout star.

Although The September Issue has brought much attention to Grace, she has a long history in fashion that she recalls in this memoir.

Grace’s story begins with her childhood in Wales, where she saw her family’s home used as a base for the British military during World War II. But the action starts after she moved to London to start a modeling career in the early 1960s–just as the decade started swingin’.

She was one of the first to sport Vidal Sassoon’s famous five point haircut. She modeled for Mary Quant, the designer who brought miniskirts into fashion. She almost had a dalliance with Mick Jagger before the Rolling Stones hit it big.

Her modeling days ended in the late 1960s after sustaining injuries in a car accident, so she took a job at British Vogue. Over the years she rose through the ranks, and eventually landed at American Vogue in 1988 when Anna Wintour became editor-in-chief.

Throughout her career, Grace has collaborated with an impressive roster of photographers, designers, hairstylists and makeup artists, models and supermodels, and celebrities. She wrote about these relationships, dropping a lot of famous names. But it flows with the narrative.

In the book Grace shared plenty of juicy anecdotes about in-fighting among Vogue editors, as well as supermodels (i.e. Kate Moss) and celebrities (i.e. Mike Tyson) behaving badly on photo shoots. My favorite story is about a model that flirted with Grace’s partner, Didier, during a shoot, and Grace expressed her displeasure by “accidentally” sticking the model with pins when adjusting her outfit.

There is substance behind the style in this book. Grace wrote honestly about her two divorces and her sister’s untimely death, after which she adopted and raised her nephew. A whole chapter is devoted to her decades long friendship with Liz Tilberis, who was editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar magazine (a rival to Vogue) in the 1990s.

Many color photographs from Grace’s modeling career and her fashion spreads in both British and American Vogue appear throughout the book, which bring her stories to life and demonstrate her distinct romantic, British aesthetic.

Grace’s original pen-and-ink illustrations of herself, her Vogue colleagues (many are featured in the book’s end papers), scenes from her life, and her cats are included throughout as well.

I must mention that there is an entire chapter about Grace’s cats, past and present. She had a cat named Puff, after the rapper P Diddy–an instance of the previously mentioned name dropping. I think she loves cats more than fashion. Grace even appeared on Martha Stewart’s talk show in a segment about cats, which she recounted in the book.

I enjoyed visiting Grace’s fashionable world and was sad when the book ended. Grace is witty and an engaging storyteller. Her frank tone shows that she doesn’t take herself, or her new fame, too seriously.

If you’re interested in fashion, Vogue, or Grace–and even cats–this is an excellent book to check out. The September Issue is also a good complement to this book.

Fashionably Yours,

Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

*Stop by the Reference Department on the second floor to borrow current issues of Vogue, and other fashion magazines! 2012 back issues are also available.

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