Those of you who are Facebook friends of mine know that I post a short video most mornings of my cat Misty (above) taking his daily leashed/harnessed walk on the grounds of my garden-apartment complex. Misty’s strolling expeditions have helped make him a very smart cat, and now he’s asking to take over my literature blog for this week. So, here goes…
“After my human read the latest Jack Reacher novel last week, I read it, too, and let me tell you the impressive Reacher clearly has more than nine lives after again surviving many fights. That book — The Sentinel — is the first of the 20-plus Reacher novels co-written by Lee Child’s brother Andrew Child, and it was interesting to see how it differed from Lee’s solo efforts. Jack seems more talkative, and there aren’t any of the romantic interludes found in many other Reacher books, but The Sentinel is certainly still satisfying. (< That’s a-litter-ation.) The novel does lack cats, but, heck, even Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye isn’t feline-focused – and there isn’t an ophthalmologist in…ahem…sight.
“I’ve also read Of Human Bondage, which I figured would have something to say about the small subset of humans who put harnesses on their cats for outdoor walks. But, no-o-o, W. Somerset Maugham’s novel was about a guy who wanted to become a doctor — not a veterinary doctor! — while finding himself embarrassedly enamored with an abrasive waitress who didn’t even serve Fussie Cat wet food to her restaurant patrons.
“Jane Austen? Her decision to write Persuasion rather than Purrsuasion is troubling, but it’s more believable for humans rather than cats to get married at the end of a novel. The expectation is that Austen’s more appealing humans will live ‘happily ever after,’ which is not always the case when one coughs up hairballs.
“I’ve read All Quiet on the Western Front, too, and found it rang true until things got noisy on the western front of my apartment complex. Now I’m having doubts about the believability of Erich Maria Remarque’s book title, even though I myself created the western-front-of-my-apartment-complex noise by pawing around a dumpster.
“Steppenwolf? Well, I did see a fox step in (my line of vision). I Hesse-d…um…hissed at it.
“When not spotting foxes, deer, squirrels, chipmunks, and birds during my walks, I like to munch on grass. Ironweed was a problem until I decided to use it as floss. Thanks, William Kennedy.
“The titles of A Tale of Two Cities and The Tale of Genji both misspell “tail,” but Charles Dickens and Murasaki Shikibu didn’t have the benefit of online dictionaries. I’m amazed that Shikibu’s novel was written a thousand years ago — that’s almost as long as it’s been since I was last fed. Or maybe it just seems that way; I was actually fed about five minutes ago.
“Windows are like TV for cats, which is why I’m always happy when novels are turned into TV miniseries. Alex Haley’s Roots, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Garfield the Lasagna-Loving Cartoon Cat…
“My human is telling me that the Proust title I just cited doesn’t exist, but you gotta admit lasagna is a more substantial meal than madeleines.
“I will now step off my human’s laptop keyboard and let a bunch of monkeys try to write a Shakespeare sonnet. Bananas are on the house.”
Misty’s musings were a bit disjointed, but…
My literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.
In addition to this weekly blog, I write the 2003-started/award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for Baristanet.com. The latest piece — in which school buildings (the brick-and-cement structures themselves) talk about when they should reopen during COVID — is here.