If you’re feline friendly or just a cat-lover, here’s a quick look at a
pair of recent releases that should definitely make you smile.
One is jam-packed with striking color images; the other is a collection
of insights by a well-known American underground poet and author.
“Felines of New York” by Jim Tews (Simon & Shuster, $14.99) is an
oversized 232-page paperback showcasing cats at home, work or play, with
hardly a human in sight.
Most photographs are full page, with an opposing page used for captions.
All of the cats are identified by name and locale in New York City.
The majority of images were taken inside, which is understandable – many
pet owners contacted Tews after visiting his photo website.
Tews is a successful stand-up comedian – this book is an unabashed
take-off on the best-selling photo book “Humans of New York” by Brandon
Cats are shown perched on windowsills, in comfortable chairs, inside
boxes, sitting in front of doorways or often on highly polished floors.
Some are also depicted playing with toys, hiding, getting ready to pounce
or just sauntering along. My favorite is “Tiny the Usurper” from Park
Slope, taken inside a bookshop.
Unfortunately, this book isn’t ideal for every cat-lover. Usage of
unnecessary f-words in a few of the captions may cause straight-laced
potential buyers to rightfully hesitate before buying this as a gift.
“Charles Bukowski on Cats” edited by Abel Debritto (HarperCollins,
$25.99) is a slim 120-page hardback that offers an entertaining mixture
of poetry and prose.
Bukowski (1920-1994) was a prolific off-beat writer who still is
exceptionally popular, particularly on college campuses.
These snippets and short pieces or poems about cats were taken from a
variety of sources, including obscure magazines, books and numerous
unpublished manuscripts accessed by Debritto.
There are a few black-and-white photos of Bukowski with assorted cats; it
also includes his only known drawing of a cat.
Some poems and writings may seem a bit repetitious, but they are often
just different views of a memorable incident. Strong imagery abounds –
his love for cats shines through, without getting mushy.
“Bukowki on Writing” edited by Debritto was the first in this series;
“Bukowski on Love” is due out next month.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed books
regularly since 1987. He has two cats, Parker and Callie.
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Find these books and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.
Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan
This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on January 10, 2016.