Mark Twain for Cat Lovers

mark twain a

Mark Twain for Cat Lovers
True and Imaginary Adventures with Feline Friends

Edited by Mark Dawidziak
Rowman & Littlefield, 2016

From the back of the book, “From his boyhood in Hannibal, Missouri, to his last years in Connecticut, Mark Twain spent much of his life surrounded by cats, and they stalk through many of his best-known books. In this lighthearted book, Mark Dawidzak explores the writer’s lifelong devotion to cats, illuminating a little-known side of this famous writer’s life that will appeal to Twain aficionados and cat lovers alike.”

Well, its about time I got the chance to review a book (BobbieSue has nearly taken over the blog with her cozy mysteries!!). Before reading this little gem of a book, we didn’t realize Mark Twain was such a cat lover. Not only did he have cats of his own but when he went anywhere else to stay for an extended period, he would rent (meaning, borrow) a cat from someone else to keep him company.

This book covers various stories from Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, as well as various newspaper and magazine articles and even his autobiography. Some of the names of his cats were Abner, Stray Kit, Sour Mash, Zoroaster, Deuteronomy, Tammany and Billiards.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the home-spun antics of Mark Twain, then you’ll enjoy this book. And, as the publisher’s blurb says, if you love cats, you’ll really love this book. It’s a mixture of fiction and nonfiction, so if fits so many readers wants!!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for also including photographs of Mark Twain with cats!!

Reviewer: toby-locToby


Dear Fahrenheit 451

dear fahrenheit 451

Dear Fahrenheit 451
Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks
A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life

Annie Spence
Flatiron Books, 2017

Excerpt from the dust cover, “If you love to read, and presumably you do since you’ve picked up this book (!), you know that some books affect you so profoundly, the forever change the way you think about the world. Some books, on the other hand, disappoint you so much you want to throw them against the wall. Either way, it’s clear that a book can be your new soul mate or the bad relationship you need to end.

“In Dear Fahrenheit 451, librarian Annie Spence has crafted love letters and breakup notes to both the iconic and eclectic books she has encountered over the years.”

The publisher’s blurb goes on for quite a bit more extolling the wonders of this nonfiction book about books, and deservedly so. The first thing I did when I got the book in my paws was to see what books she wrote to so I could see if I agreed or disagreed with her. Then I realized that she has a larger reading range than I do so very few of the books we both read coincide. But that’s all right, everyone has their own tastes! I did enjoy reading her letters to books she loved and hated; they were quite funny and honest. The only thing I really didn’t like was her liberal use of profanity – and when I say liberal, I mean profuse and abundant use of the s-word, the f-word and the g-d-word. But if those words don’t bother you, then by all means, read, enjoy and pick out your next book to read! If they are bothersome to you, then be warned!!

Rating 3 out 5 paws mainly for the generous use of profanity, not for the content, which is quite enlightening!

Reviewer: loc jackJack

Traveling Light

traveling light

Traveling Light

Max Lucado
MJF Books, 2001

From the dust jacket, “Inspiring, insightful, and sparkling with Max Lucado’s warm humor, Traveling Light guides us through Psalm 23 to show us how to let go of the spiritual weight we were never meant to carry. For example, you would think it absurd for your ten-year-old to lose sleep and fill her days with anxiety because she doesn’t have a pension plan. If such worrying seems unwarranted in a child, it’s just as needless in an adult. Worry has never brightened a day, solved a problem, or cured a disease. Yet we seem addicted to it. How can we overcome anxiety?

“Consider the verse: “He leads me beside the still waters.” He leads me. God isn’t behind us, yelling, “Go!” He’s ahead of us, showing the way telling us what we need to know when we need to know it, giving us what we need when we need it. He helps us the way a father gives plane tickets to his children. When it’s time to board the plane, he stands between the attendant and the children. As each child passes, he puts a ticket in his hand, and the child gives it to the attendant. Each one receives the ticket just when it’s needed. The lesson is this: Meet today’s problems with today’s strength. Don’t start tackling tomorrow’s problems until tomorrow. You don’t have tomorrow’s strength yet. But you do have enough for today.”

This is my second Lucado book and it was a blessing to read it. It provided so much inspiration into Psalm 23. This book has a permanent place at the Library – its one of those books you’ll want to read again and again through the years. It’s even worth reading to kittens, young and old, during family devotional time. Also included at the end of the book are questions for further study and discussion. In this crazy world that we live in, we all need a little reminder that God is for us and not against us and that He is indeed leading us through the madness until we are home with Him once more.

Rating: 5 out of 5 paws


loc jackJack

The Great Dictionary Caper

dictionary caper

The Great Dictionary Caper

Judy Sierra
Illustrations by Eric Comstock
Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 2018

From “When all of the words escape from the dictionary, it’s up to Noah Webster to restore alphabetical order in this supremely wacky picture book that celebrates language.

“Words have secret lives. On a quiet afternoon the words escape the dictionary (much to the consternation of Mr. Noah Webster) and flock to Hollywood for a huge annual event—Lexi-Con. Liberated from the pages, words get together with friends and relations in groups including an onomatopoeia marching band, the palindrome family reunion, and hide-and-seek antonyms. It’s all great fun until the words disagree and begin to fall apart. Can Noah Webster step in to restore order before the dictionary is disorganized forever?”

At first, I wasn’t going to bother reviewing the book, I didn’t like it, found it boring and didn’t want to waste a post on it. From the title, the book sounds like a mystery but inside it is literally a bunch of words illustrated as living creatures and each page introduces the reader to a different type of word. It felt like a lesson in grammar rather than an enjoyable mystery for young kittens – which is great if you’re a kindergarten teacher. EXCEPT, the author, editors and publishers all missed the misspelled word! Can you believe it? A book for kittens about a dictionary and grammar and it has a misspelled word. The Library can tolerate one or two misspelled words in a novel – everybody makes mistakes but to misspell the word ‘rhyming’ (spelled ‘ryhming’) is unforgivable. I mean really. The word even gets flagged by spellcheck!

Rating 2 out of 5 paws ONLY because of the illustrations. They are cute and the artist did a good job. The book really needs to be pulled from production, corrected and reissued with a sincere apology to all the libraries who spent a part of their tight budgets on a bad book.

Reviewer: simon-locSimon



When God Whispers Your Name

god whispers your name

When God Whispers Your Name

Max Lucado
Word Publishing, 1999

From the back of the book, “What happens when you let Him open your heart to hope? Listen. do you hear it? Somewhere, between the pages of this book and the pages of your heart, God is speaking. And He is calling you by name. Maybe that’s hard to believe. Maybe you just can’t imagine that the One who made it all things of you that personally – that He keeps your name on His heart and lips.

“But it’s true. In the Bible and in the circumstances of your life, He whispers your name lovingly. Tenderly. Patiently but persistently. Let the stories in this classic book remind you of the God who knows your name.

“Some stories are from the Bible. Some are drawn from everyday life. Most are about people who are lost…or weary…or discouraged – just like you. if you let them, they’ll tell the story of your life. So listen closely as you turn these pages. Listen for the Father’s gentle whisper that can erase your doubts, your sorrow, your weariness, your despair. It really is your name that you hear, and the Voice that calls is more loving than you ever dared dream. Listen. And learn to hope again.”

This is a good book to read when you’re feeling especially doubtful about the future or hopeless about your presence circumstances. The author’s easy writing style lets you eyes flow gently across the page, gleaning the wisdom you need. The chapters are basically essays, or perhaps even short sermons on the wonderful nature of God and His love for you and for me. There is some discussion material for each chapter at the back of the book, so it would make for a great Bible study group reading/discussion. I really like the way Lucado writing is broad enough to be inclusive for both scholars and laypeople alike.

Rating 5 out of 5 paws – it’s a re-reader!


loc jackJack