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unpublished manuscripts accessed by Debritto.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
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Two recent crime novels by exceptionally popular writers showcase
aggressive attorneys who often take cases that nobody else wants.
“Rogue Lawyer” by bestselling author John Grisham (Doubleday, $28.95)
introduces Sebastian Rudd, an atypical lawyer who’s working out of a
beat-up, bullet-proof customized van since his office was firebombed.
He’s got one employee, Partner, who is his heavily armed driver/
bodyguard/law clerk/confidant and golf caddie.
This book is actually four intertwined novellas, dealing with a child
molester, a nasty crime lord and a man who fired at a SWAT team that
invaded the wrong house – his house.
There’s much more, including cage fighting, kidnapping and human
trafficking; Rudd’s ex-wife adds more problems as she squabbles over
visitation rights to their son.
Grisham’s latest colorful novel isn’t spectacular, but’s it’s still a
fast-and-easy read for those who are looking for solid escapism
There’s even the possibility of a sequel, with Grisham recounting
more unnerving situations facing the quick-thinking attorney and
his desperate clients.
“The Crossing” by award-winning author Michael Connelly (Little, Brown,
$28) involves a case that a sleazy Los Angeles defense lawyer is
Mickey Haller (“The Lincoln Lawyer”) is representing a reformed former
gang member who’s accused of viciously murdering a pretty woman, leaving
evidence at the scene.
Haller calls his half-brother Harry Bosch, a retired Los Angeles Police
Department Homicide and Cold Case detective, asking for his help.
Bosch initially doesn’t want to work for Haller and feels that his
reputation would be compromised after working thirty years as a cop.
He agrees to look into the facts of the case, examining files and making
notations. He slowly discovers holes in the prosecution’s presentation.
But if Haller’s client didn’t commit the crime, who did?
The private eye is hired to investigate further. Bosch calls in favors
from a variety of former associates, seeking the truth regardless of
where the chips may fall.
Complications arise when Haller is arrested and jailed on a spurious
traffic offense. Bosch’s efforts lead him to believe that a major clue
has been overlooked – and that there is a cover-up from inside the LAPD.
Connelly is in fine form with a compelling tale of tense suspense; it’s a
solid police procedural that also works well as a legal thriller.