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September Recommendations — Cats!


Photograph by Kavya Murthy

Our favourite part of our little bookstore (other than the books!) is our visiting cat who pops by to say hello and demand food. We often see her sunning herself on our roof, with just her tail hanging over the edge!

Have you ever wondered why cats love bookstores? Jason Diamond traces it back to ancient Egypt, when cats were revered (and some cats still act like they’re royalty!). Cats were trained to protect papyrus rolls from being eaten by pests. Over the years, they were kept around libraries and bookstores, trained to protect books from mice, rates, lizards, you name it! Our little cat comes from a long history of indie-bookstore felines.

This month, we’ve put together recommendations for cat-lovers, across poetry, graphic novels, science, and fiction. Read on for our recommendations, and find them on our online store!

Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen

This is a peek into the life of a cat owner. If you are one yourself, see panels from your life laid out with charm and humour! Andersen mixes moments from her own life with scenes from relatable twenty-first century life. Herding Cats also features an essay by Andersen about dealing with criticism as a creator, especially on the internet. We also have her other comic collections Adulthood Is A Myth and Big Mushy Happy Lump at our store.

Jaba by Anpu Varkey

How would you capture a cat’s life on paper? Anpu Varkey does so in this graphic novel that grew from her observations of her pet. This silent graphic novel tells a story without text, hinting at sound and movement, drawn in Varkey’s detailed black-and-white style. Do have a look at her other silent graphic novel, Summer’s Children

I Like Cats by Anushka Ravishankar and various artists

Fast cats, slow cats, greedy cats, bad cats, sad cats. Find every variety of cat in this gorgeous book from Tara Books. Artwork by some of the best-loved tribal and folk artists of India accompanies verse by Anushka Ravishankar. I Like Cats is one of many handmade titles from Tara Books, screen-printed in-store on handmade paper

Black Cats and Evil Eyes by Chloe Rhodes

This is a fun exploration of ancient superstitions and beliefs. It traces the history of these odd practices that travelled across generations through word-of-mouth. Why was it considered unlucky to walk under a ladder? Why were black cats seen as a bad omen? Chloe Rhodes gives us quick, fascinating answers to many of these questions.

Herding Hemingway's Cats: Understanding how our genes work by Kat Arney

Ernest Hemingway was once given a six-toed cat, whose descendants still live on his estate in Florida today. The same genetic defect in those cats is what gives rise to multi-toed humans! This anecdote is what starts Kat Arney’s effort to make genetics known to a wider audience. From stories about cats with thumbs to fish with hips, Arney writes a conversational, informative guide to the genetic material in all of us.

The Wildings by Nilanjana Roy

In the alleys of the Nizamuddin area of Delhi lives a tribe of cats. They can communicate with each other telepathically; they fear no one. Until they meet a new cat, Sender, who has unimaginable power. This  is an inventive fantasy novel about a world at our feet (literally). 

Thank God It's Caturday edited by Lubaina Bandukwala

The stories in this collection are by some of the best-loved authors of children’s books in India. From cats in Egypt to cats in school, naughty cats to sleepy cats, this book has them all, along with beautiful illustrations and fun cat-related jokes. 

Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats by TS Eliot

TS Eliot’s classic poetry collection was written for his godchildren, and has been immortalised in the musical Cats!. The poems are presented here in a gorgeous new volume, with illustrations by Edward Gorey. Whimsical and fun, this book is for every cat-lover, and always remember, Macavity, a fiend in feline form and the master of depravity.

My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci, trans. by David Hackston

Statovci’s debut novel is a genre-defying book about displacement and dislocation, about a mother, her son, a boa constrictor, and a talking cat. The stories of mother and son unfold in parallel. Uncanny and original, My Cat Yugoslavia features one of the more memorable fictional cats of recent years.

If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura, trans. by Eric Selland

The narrator of this book knows he is dying. But then the Devil appears on his doorstep, and makes a deal: one thing in the world will disappear in exchange for one extra day of life. What follows is a bizarre week, where the narrator struggles to discover what really matters. This novella is thoughtful, a meditation on mortality, loss, and the importance of connection. And check out The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide, also translated by Eric Selland.

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