A recurring theme in my bookish habits is trying to work on getting my “to read” list under control. Late in 2018, I discovered The Unread Shelf Project, and decided that I would participate this year. The premise of the project is a reading challenge that will help you work through the books you already have on your shelf. For January, you were to choose ANY book off your unread shelf. This was my choice, a book that I have had for quite some time, but never quite got around to reading.
Although I cannot recall offhand if I have written about him before, I absolutely love Kurt Vonnegut. While he often writes on the edges of science fiction and fantasy, there is a theme of humanity throughout his work. He takes on big themes like the nature of humans and the meaning of life on Earth, and answers them with a bit of absurdity. While some might consider this flippant, I find it fitting. The Sirens of Titan follows a few different characters on their journey through time and space, their meetings and interactions seemingly at random, but also predestined. Each detail, even those that seem unimportant, stringing together for the ultimate goal of all humanity… which you will have to read the book for yourself to find out. While I do not presume to know what Vonnegut’s “point” or exact moral in this novel is supposed to be, I think it is that “the point” does not matter. We are here, so we may as well make the most of it.
One of the interesting things I find in Vonnegut’s work is that once you have read a variety of it, you start to see the places where it fits together. There were some definite elements in this novel that I remember from other pieces of his work. It creates for me a picture of an alternate universe, where things are very much like the one I live in, but slightly off. Even though many of the stories and situations in his work do not seem to fit together, I can see them all taking place in the same world, which is not a far cry from our own.
Boris’s thoughts: “I hate it when you get all philosophical. 1 paw.”
I spotted this book at my school’s book fair this fall, and simply could not pass it up. Prior to finding this book, I had seen a plethora of Pusheen merchandise, but had never seen any of the comics. This is a collection of many of the online comics, with a few bonus comics thrown in. Pusheen is a friendly cat, who loves food and various other cat things. Through the comics she shares some funny and valuable knowledge from the life of a cat: how to make cookies, where cats belong, and some other creative imaginings from the mind of a cat.
I have to admit, that there is a bit of a draw for the online comics. Although the animation is simple, it does add a bit of pizzazz that is lacking in the book. However, I still thought this was a fun book, and do not regret adding it to my shelves. I expect that it will be a great one to look at with my niece when she is a bit older. I imagine that we will have a bit of fun comparing Pusheen to Boris, my own fat gray cat who loves food. The book is primarily based in pictures, with fairly simple text throughout. It could make a good book for young readers who want to read longer chapter books, but may not be quite ready for them yet.
Boris’s thoughts: “Hhhhrrmmmph. I am NOT fat. I am just BIG. She is pretty cute though. But not as cute as ME. 2 paws.”
I am completely fascinated by the work of Brian Selznik. The way he perfectly intertwines illustration and narrative to tell a story is incredible. The concept he used in this particular book is unique even for him, and was done spectacularly.
The Marvels tells two stories– the first completely through illustration in the first 400-ish pages, the second in a traditional novel format. The whole time I was reading, I was trying to solve the mystery of how the stories would come together in the end. I was constantly making guesses as to where things were going, and constantly being surprised. When the stories began to overlap, I thought it was a clever twist that the novel turned to do the same thing that I was doing as a reader– putting words to the original illustrated story, and then trying to solve the mystery as well.
This book was beautifully put together. The illustrations beautiful, and the stories compelling. While perhaps geared more toward a younger demographic, there is much here to enjoy for readers of all ages. I was also thrilled to discover, as I came to the end, that this story was based, in part, on real events. While the story is completely fictional, the idea behind the story is based on an actual person and museum in London. I have definitely found somewhere that I will need to add to my travel wish list.
Boris’s thoughts: “This book is heavy, and I’m kind of over it. 2 paws.”
It’s hard to believe, but it has been a full year since I have started this blog! Along the way I have shared some of my favorite books, as well as many pictures of my favorite cat!! It has been a ton of fun, and I am looking forward to see where the next year will take me. I have some ideas to mix things up a bit for the next year, and hope that you enjoy the ride!
To celebrate my first year of posts, I thought it would be fun to show a little glimpse onto the other side of this project. While I will fully admit that I am in no way a professional photography, I try to choose the best of my pictures to include with my blog posts. While Boris is generally a good sport about these things, cats have a fickle nature, which has lead to quick a few “outtakes” along the way. Enjoy!