A Friend for Dragon

img_3067As a kick off to the third year of Books On My Cat, I present to you A Friend for Dragon by Dav Pilkey. This is the first book in the Dragon series of book, which I have written about several times before. Dragon is one of my favorite children’s characters. He is always getting into some sort of misadventure—in this case, Dragon falls for a prank and mistakenly assumes that an apple that has fallen on his head is actually looking to become his friend. Despite the misunderstanding, Dragon finds the apple to be a delightful friend, who is a good listener, has common interests, and shares with his friends.

I admit that this is not my favorite addition to the Dragon collection, but I think it sets a nice tone to the series. We get a good glimpse of his personality, which is then built upon in the later books. Dragon is a little naïve, but is also willing to make the most of any situation with his positive attitude. If everyone else is too busy, why not spend your time hanging out with an apple? Of course, apples do not last forever (especially when you are tricked into thinking you have a special speaking apple, and the culprit of the trick is no longer around to fake an appley voice). Although Dragon is quite distraught at the loss of his friend, he receives a pleasant surprise the summer after laying his friend to rest in the backyard.

Of course, as you may have noticed in the photo, today is also the debut of a friend of Boris: introducing Minka, a sassy little girl that joined our family at the end of December. She was found near where my dad works as a kitten in July; she was alone despite seeming too young to have left her mother. My dad began to care for her, and she moved into the office building. After living there for a few months, and with the weather starting to turn cold, he decided that it was time for her to have a more proper home and asked if Boris needed a friend. I was reluctant, as Boris has always struck me as a lone cat personality, but we decided to give it a try. The two are still getting used to having another cat around, but are starting to warm up to each other a bit. While Boris is still my number one guy, you will start to see a bit more of Minka around here!

Book: A Friend for Dragon by Dav Pilkey

Biggest Apologies

I was so excited about my new plans for Books On My Cat that I got ahead of myself– I started to write content to schedule but just kept writing and never scheduled it!! I had a post ready to go for this week, but alas, it is saved on my laptop at home while I am out of town. My sincerest apologies to readers. I am so disappointed in myself.

So as not to leave you completely without content this week, I will share my current situation, and what I imagine Boris to be doing in my absence:

Welcome Back

As January wraps up, I would like to welcome you back to the new (and hopefully improved) Books On My Cat blog! During my time off, I took the opportunity to organize my thoughts around this blog and what I would like it to be. While my priority will be on sharing the books that I am reading, I hope to be more intentional with how I use the blog and want to give myself some room to breath as well.

Part of my revamp will be a slightly modified post format. Looking back to my previous posts, I realized that I have not always been good about including the full titles and author names for each book. I will correct that with the new format, and am planning to slowly work on ensuring that this information is included in all previous posts as well.

Currently, I have a bit of a backlog of books from the end of last year, which is a perfect place to start. I have looked ahead at the year to plan out some posts, and built in some breaks where I think I will need them. Moving forward, I plan to catch up on reviews, participate in The Unread Shelf Project 2020, and mix in a few extras along the way. My regular posts will still be on Wednesdays, and I will continue to feature a picture book at the beginning of each month. My last post each month to be the book I chose for the Unread Shelf, with a few pre-planned exceptions.

I am working on a few ideas for “bonus” posts— bookish content, but not necessarily book reviews. Even when planning some weeks for picture books and taking time off, there are simply more weeks remaining than books I will realistically read. At a minimum, I have these planned for months when there will be five Wednesdays. However, I would love to plan out something special to share every month.

My regular posts will resume next week, February 5, 2020, which is also the second anniversary of Books On My Cat. This post will be in the form of a book review, but will also include a surprise announcement! I am looking forward to a wonderful year of books and cats, and I hope you are too!

Under Construction

img_3117A few weeks ago, I posted that Boris and I were taking a break. This has extended a little longer than I had originally planned, but I am now hoping that it will be with good results.

While taking a break from writing, I took some time to think about my reasons for starting this blog. I love to read, and I love to share the things that I have read (although I am not sure of how many people out there are really reading). I felt like channeling this into a blog would make it feel a little more productive—and it did, at first. Over time, something that I truly loved to do in the beginning was starting to feel like a chore. I would fall behind on reading or writing reviews, which would make me feel guilty for being unprepared, and eventually lead to me feeling overwhelmed by the idea of writing. I have tried a few “tricks” along the way to help me catch up, whether that be posting about previous reads, adding in children’s books, or sharing other bookish things. Unfortunately, these were only temporary fixes. I want to change that.

So here I am with an update: Books On My Cat is still temporarily under construction. I am working on establishing some better habits, starting with making writing a regular routine. Rather than trying to force myself to write a review because of a deadline, I want to spend just a little time each day with my writing—thinking about the things that I have read recently, or perhaps with some other bookish musings.

Over the next couple weeks, I plan to take some time to lay out my vision for the future of Books On My Cat. I would like to continue to post here weekly, but I do not go through books quickly enough to make that feasible without expanding a bit from book reviews. I have a few ideas to fill in the gaps, but need some time to fully flesh them out. I plan to be back to the regular schedule at the beginning of February (if not sooner).

Until then, thank you to those who are reading! If there is anyone out there who has made it this far, I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment with something you like about this blog, or something you think could be improved. Or maybe just say hello!

Notes on the photo above: Boris is pictured with My Purrfect Friend by Charles Wysocki. This is a cute little book that was gifted to me. It is full of cat pictures and artwork, along with many quotes and poems related to friendship.

How to Talk to Your Cat

img_2724This fun little non-fiction children’s book was brought to my attention by my school librarian—she noticed that the cat on the cover looks a bit like Boris, and thought he might be interested in reading! How to Talk to Your Cat provides a good introduction to cat behavior and some general information in interpreting what your cat is trying to say. Of course, as a book intended for children, it’s not a definitive guide. There are a few items of cat behavior included that I would consider a bit questionable, plus a few items that contradict things I have read recently. I suppose some of this is inevitable in a book that was published nearly 20 years ago.

The book starts with the history of domestic cats, referring to something I have heard a few times from other sources: humans did not domesticate cats; cats domesticated themselves. From there, it moves on to cat greetings, and communication via scent, sound, and body posture. The book wraps up with some more behavioral information—typical habits for indoor and outdoor cats. Along the way there is some advice in communicating and living with cats. I believe it is said a few times that cats tend to have the attitude that we belong to them, rather than the other way around. I’m not quite sold on this, but I think there is some truth to it. Boris knows that there are some limits to his running of the household. I am the keeper of the treats, after all.

Although I would still consider this a picture book, it is quite heavy on text. Most of the pictures included are for demonstration, with a few additional illustrations to fill in along the way. The drawings are fairly simple and cartoonish, which I think feels appropriate with the style of the book. There are a few photos of the author (Jean Craighead George) included, intermingled with the cartoonish cats. It feels a little silly—especially the picture of her on hands and knees rubbing heads with a cat. I suppose this is one way of keeping interest for kids who might otherwise be off put by the lengthy text passages on each page. I can see this as a good book for older kids who have an interest in cats or pets, or perhaps animals in general, but would not necessarily make a general recommendation for this one.

Boris’s thoughts: “A well read cat like me clearly has much more to say than this book would suggest. 2 paws.”

Balance and Book Collections

img_2593I have been struggling some with balance lately– particularly the balance between life, work, and leisure. I suppose it is the season where everyone feels like there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. I have definitely been feeling that, but I also partially blame the two large trees in my yard… who knew raking could take so much time from the day??

While I am not beating myself up for it, the need to focus on other things has cut into my reading time. I have still been trying to read a bit every day, but I have not been finishing books at my normal pace. I am definitely behind on my goal for books read this year, and am not quite finished with the book that I was planning to post about today! I had hoped the collection of Halloween themed books I had shared throughout October would help me to catch up, but alas here I am, behind again. Rather than skip this week, I thought I would share something a little different.

Last spring when I was traveling, I posted about a small collection of books I’ve collected from the different countries I’ve visited. (You can read about that here, if you’d like.) Similar to that collection, I have also slowly been accumulating books from the US states that I have been to. I cannot quite pinpoint when this collection truly began. The first book I remember seeking out was The Art Forger, when I was in Boston in June of 2018. However, I had at least 2 of these books prior to that, although not exactly intentionally. My intention with this collection is to gather books from each state that also related to that state, whether that is because of a local author or setting/content of the book itself.

Since this is a fairly recent collection that I have started, it does not reflect the number of states that I have actually visited; that number is between 24 and 30, depending on how you count (24 truly visited, 4 borders crossed but not explored, 2 only in airports). I have been making an effort to add on books as I have revisited the states around me, and hope that I can start to catch up to reflect the places that I have been! Anyone else reading a collector of books? How do you differentiate a collection versus other books you have accumulated?

For anyone interested, here is the list of those I have so far:

  • Alaska: Travels in Alaska by John Muir
  • Indiana: God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Kentucky: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
  • Louisiana: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
  • Massachusetts: The Art Forger by Barbara Shapiro
  • Michigan: Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides
  • Wisconsin: A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O’Nan