I don’t keep track of the number of books I read each year, but my best guess is somewhere between 150 and 200, and at least half of them have something to do with cats. I reviewed more than 30 books here on The Conscious Cat this year.
I made a commitment to myself long ago that I would never post a bad book review. I feel that every author pours his or her heart and soul into a book, and just because I don’t like a book doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a good book. As a result, if you see a book reviewed here on the site, it means that I really liked it. This makes it challenging each year to pick only ten favorites, especially since the books cover such a wide variety of genres.
Here are my ten favorites for this year, in the order in which I reviewed them. Click on the book titles to order from Amazon.
After Nashville singer/songwriter Tom Templeman’s best friend died, he planned to write a song about him. “I knew after 35,000+ words that this would not fit into a song,” said the songwriter. And we should be grateful that Templeman didn’t limit his tribute to Tiger to a song – because this seemingly ordinary story about a special cat touches the heart.
Renowned cat expert and anthrozoologist John Bradshaw, who has studied cat behavior and cats’ relationship with people for more than 30 years, offers an in depth look at the latest research into how cats think, how they interpret the world around them, and what we know about cat personality. This is not a how-to manual, nor is it a light read, and some of the information presented may be considered controversial by some. If you’re looking for simple advice on how to deal with feline behavior problems, this book would not be my first choice, but if you want to get a better understanding of cats and their unique nature, this is a must read.
Amy Shojai’s second book in her series featuring animal behaviorist September Day, her dog Shadow and cat Macy, was every bit as good as the first book, and then some. If you’re a fan of medical thrillers by the likes of Robin Cook or Michael Palmer, you will absolutely love this book. If you enjoy a well-written mystery featuring a lot of animals, you will also love it.
I’m a huge fan of James Bowen and his street cat Bob, so I knew this book would make this year’s list as soon as it came out. This beautifully illustrated book is an imagined look at Bob’s past. After his world was suddenly turned upside down, Bob finds himself living on the street. Alone, scared and hungry, he searches for a new home. Of course, we know how the story ends: James takes in the injured stray, and the rest, as they say, is history – albeit history that is still being written.
This book combines two of my loves: cats, and heavy metal music.The book features photography by Alexandra Crockett, a musician and jewelry designer. She got the idea for the book while doing promotional photos for bands and friends she would cat-sit for. The juxtaposition of heavily tattooed, long haired men with their beautiful cats is testament to the fact that there is no such thing as a stereotypical cat lover.
In this book, Science deputy news editor David Grimm explores the changing status of cats and dogs in our society, from their wild origins to their current status of the most loved and valued animals on the planet. While this is not an easy read, Grimm’s engaging writing style captured me from the very beginning. Anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of how our relationships with cats and dogs evolved will find this book enlightening.
Francesco Marciuliano has a unique ability to capture cats’ personalities. He proved this in his New York Times Bestseller I Could Pee on This And Other Poems by Cats, and I know I wasn’t the only cat lover who was eagerly awaiting publication of this new book. While I had reservations about the first book based on the title (reservations that turned out to be completely wrong,) the title of this book, which the author called “sort of a sequel – or a prequel, depending on how you look at it,” combined with the ridiculously adorable cover, generated an “awww” response for me that is probably hardwired into most cat lovers.
I always look forward to a new installment in Clea Simon’s Dulcie Schwartz mystery series featuring the Harvard graduate student, along with her kitten Esme and the spirit of her departed cat, Mr. Grey. This series has become one of my favorites. In this eighth book, Dulcie is still working on her doctoral thesis about a mysterious 19th century author of two gothic novels. Her relationship with her boyfriend Chris finally seems to be on an even keel, and her black and white spirited cat Esme, and the spirit of her beloved Mr. Grey, are both guiding her through life as best as they can.
Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin joined forces to create this definitive guide to creating a cat-friendly home environment by sharing design tips and DIY projects that can be accomplished by even those who may be afraid of using a hammer and nails. Projects range from simple wall shelves and kitty hammocks to elaborate cat trees and “catios” (outdoor enclosures.) This is a book that belongs in every cat guardian’s library.
This book provides a fascinating and close up look at how two cats worked with psychotherapist Kathy McCoy’s patients, bringing healing in often unexpected ways. This inspiring memoir touched my heart, made me shed a few tears, and gave me a whole new appreciation for the gifts the cats in my life have given me.
What are some of your favorite cat books of the year?
Photo by Manuel Caccotori, Flickr Creative Commons