As most people who know me know, I’m a cat person (though I like dogs, too), which is part of the reason why, in addition to all the novels about dogs (the mysteries of David Rosenfelt, for instance, and the Chet and Bernie mysteries of Spencer Quinn, as well as the books by W. Bruce Cameron, just to name a few), I’ve gone to some effort to balance the scales and get books featuring cats. It just so happens that this week we’ve got two new books, both of which have cats as main characters. If you need a break from the ugliness of the world, may I recommend taking one of these books out?
The first is an international bestseller: The Travelling Cat Chronicles, by Hiro Arikawa. Nana, the cat, has the crooked tail that is a sign of good fortune, and his life has been marked by good fortune since he was adopted as a stray by Satoru. When his person takes him on a trip around Japan in their silver van, the official story is that Satoru is going to visit three old friends, but after a while it becomes evident that Satoru is looking for someone who can take care of Nana because he is no longer going to be able to do so. Much of the book is written from Nana’s perspective, and the author obviously knows and loves cats to be able to give Nana a voice that any cat lover will find utterly believable. Japan, its countryside and its people, forms a major character in the book, and, while you have a strong sense that this is not going to be a book with a happy ending, still the relationship between Satoru and Nana is charming and moving, and makes this a lovely escape from the nastiness of current events.
The second is a sequel to last year’s Molly and the Cat Cafe, by Melissa Daley. At the end of that book, Molly the cat had found herself a home in Debbie’s cat cafe in the little town of Stourton-on-the-Hill, and at the beginning of Christmas at the Cat Cafe, Molly is happily ensconced in feline paradise with her kittens and her person, but naturally things change, and, from Molly’s point of view, the changes are definitely for the worse: first Lidia, Debbie’s sister, moves in with her dog, Beau (much to the cats’ chagrin), and then, to make things even harder, Debbie adopts a new cat for the cafe, and people are starting to pay more attention to Ming than to Molly, leading to serious feelings of jealousy on Molly’s part. But fear not, Christmas is in the air*, and Molly and her person are going to find some Christmas spirit to make everything work out.
If you’re a cat person, these are definitely the books for you, but even if you’re not, give them a try and you just might find yourself being seduced into looking at our furry friends with a different perspective.
*Yes, I know there are people reading this who will cringe at the very mention of Christmas when we haven’t even celebrated Halloween yet, but this is the time of year when the Christmas books come out, so brace yourself.