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 40 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!
Here are my ten favorites for this year, in no particular order. Click on the book titles to order from Amazon*.
This long awaited sequel to Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin’s New York Times Bestseller Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You) quickly became a bestseller as well.The book combines Jackson’s wealth of experience working with challenging cats, Kate’s expertise with cat-friendly design and DIY projects, and ideas from members of Catification Nation to provide more than twenty projects and a huge number of simple design tricks to help cat guardians provide a truly enriched environment for their feline family members.
James Bowen shares the story of how Bob helped him rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. Bowen takes us back to 2010, when he and Bob were still barely scraping by while trying to make a living busking and selling Big Issue, a newspaper published on behalf of and sold by homeless people to help them get a step up in life. It’s a particularly cold and snowy winter in London, and Bowen is barely making enough money to keep the heat on in his apartment. Written in Bowen’s captivating, sincere, and sometimes brutally honest voice, I fell in love all over again with this remarkable duo.
This middle grade fantasy novel about the adventures of a young girl, her cat and a kitten in a domed forest-city tethered to the Moon, where she faces a terrible danger from the prehistoric past and a grave threat to all humanity, is a surprise choice for me. Far removed from what I usually read and enjoy, this multi-layered story with its ageless lessons captured my heart and my mind and deserves a spot on this list.
In this latest installment of David Michie’s wonderful series, His Holiness’ Cat continues her quest for enlightenment by learning to meditate. And while most of us, including HHC, think that meditation is something that comes naturally to cats, she learns that it’s not as easy as it seems. But HHC persists on her quest to become more mindful, a concept that’s better known to her as “the power of meow,” and learns that meditation is the path to discover one’s true nature.
This memoir by Harvard-trained educator, artist and award winning writer John Schlimm chronicles the five year friendship between the author and 87-year-old Sister Augustine, a Benedictine nun at St. Joseph’s Monastery in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania. And while this is not a cat book, Sister’s relationship with her beloved cat Blitzen does play an important role in the book. The passages about Sister’s relationship with Blitzen, her gold and white cat, made my heart smile. The gentle love and understanding between the two, and Sister’s comments about the role animals play in our lives resonated deeply with me.
This little volume features gorgeous cat photos alongside excerpts from the Dhammapada, a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form and one of the most widely read and best known Buddhist scriptures. This is a book to be savored as you absorb the beauty of each cat, and reflect on the meaning of each verse. I love to use it as a tool to calm my mind during a busy day: I simply open the book to a random page, and let my mind slow down and absorb.
This beautiful book chronicles the life of Ragdoll cat Mr. Jazz, from the time he arrived in the author’s home as a sickly little kitten to the day, fifteen years later, when she had to let her precious companion go. It provides a look at life and death from a pet’s perspective of both the joyful times, and the sadness at the end of life. Reading this book is like being wrapped up in a warm hug of comfort.
Pet behaviorist and psychic Pru Marlowe is back in this fifth book in Clea Simon’s Pet Noir series, and the series just keep getting better with each book. Pru arrives at a client’s house and finds a fluffy white kitten next to the client’s body. Was it a heart attack? Were drug interactions to blame? Or was the victim allergic to the kitten, which one of his three daughters had given her father as a gift only recently? This is a thoroughly enjoyable, fast-paced and well-plotted mystery.
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if your cats had opposable thumbs and got a hold of your cell phone, this book will probably make you grateful that your cats haven’t figured out how to text. Angie Bailey’s unique and quirky sense of humor will delight cat lovers and will, no doubt, inspire cats around the world to figure out this texting thing.
With each installment in this series, Simon ratchets the intricate plot lines up a notch. In this ninth installment in Clea Simon’s Dulcie Schwartz mystery series, featuring the Harvard graduate student, her cat Esmé and the spirit of her departed cat Mr. Grey, Dulcie once again becomes involved in a police investigation after a former student and scholar is found injured, with a valuable missing book in his arms.
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