Its a Book

its a book a

It’s a Book

Lane Smith
Roaring Brook Press, 2010

From the back of the book, “Can it text? Blog? Scroll? Wi-Fi? Tweet? No…it’s a book.”

So, here’s this monkey sitting happily reading a book (Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stephenson) with a monkey on his head when a jackass walks in with a laptop. No, this isn’t the beginning of a dirty joke! The jackass is an actual jackass (mule – or is he a donkey?). Anyway, the jackass asks the monkey all these questions about his book – he wants to know what it does. The monkey tries to explain to the jackass that the book does nothing, it’s meant to be read. The jackass doesn’t quite get it, even after he takes the book from the monkey and reads it for about 2-1/2 hours. The monkey gives up when the jackass refuses to give back his book and goes to the library.

Funny, really funny because do you know any kittens (or adults) like this jackass? Ones who would never pick up a book because it doesn’t do anything? Funny and yet, somehow very sad.

I guess you can guess why this book was challenged! That’s right…the word ‘jackass’. Now, the author didn’t use the word as much as I did (I did because I could and it isn’t a curse word – it’s the name of an animal); he only used it twice – once at the beginning and once at the end of the book. Of course, it’s the use at the end of the book where the challenge comes in. Is the mouse being sarcastic and insulting or is he just call the jackass ‘a jackass’ because that’s what he is. Hmmm…a bit controversial. But read it for yourself and see what you think!

Why is this on the banned/challenged book list? Briefly, a couple of Cape Ann (Massachusetts) school districts challenged the book in 2010 because of the ‘jackass’ at the end of the book. “At issue is the last line of the book, which contains a word that some find unsuitable for children. The board explains: The book “aroused the ire of some local parents because of an ending in which a character says, ‘It’s a book, Jackass,’ to a technology-loving donkey who just doesn’t get it.”
The board responded, “the “objections of some shouldn’t prevent altogether the dissemination of the book and its important message.” Bravo!!!

Click on the link to read the full story in the Boston Globe.

Rating: 5 out of 5 paws because its’ really, really funny and kittens will get a kick out of saying a curse word that’s not really a curse word!!!

Reviewer: jack-locJack, the Banned Books Librarian


The Book No One Ever Read

the book no one ever read

The Book No One Ever Read

Cornelia Funke
Breathing Books, 2017

From the dust jacket: “The Book No One Ever Read is written and illustrated by Cornelia Funke, author of Inkheart, Dragon Rider, and many others, and tells the story of a young book who yearns for a reader.

“It is a tale about the enchantment that can be found on printed pages. Parents and children alike will love discovering famous authors and illustrators lending their faces to the book characters, the heroes of the story.”

There’s nothing better than reading a library book about … a book in a library!! Funke is a favorite author here at our Library – she writes fiction for kittens, youth and young adults – all of it wonderful! And this book is no exception – I love how every creature in the book is a book (except for a scary orange cat!) and how just about all the objects have faces. It’s fun trying to guess which book is which author – I only guessed three and it was only on the second reading did I figure out who the young book named Morry was. This is a wonderful way to remind kittens and adults alike of the trans-formative power of reading good books. Love, love, love!!!

Rating 5 out of 5 paws because of gorgeous and creative illustrations and a unique story line!



File M for Murder


File M for Murder
A Cat in the Stacks Mystery

Miranda James
Berkley Prime Crime, Berkley Publishing Group, Penguin Publishing Group, 2012

Diesel is back again with his comforting chirps and warbles for those he loves during a very stressful episode. He also saves his family from a letter bomb! Smart cat, that Diesel. Charlie’s daughter comes to Athena to teach an acting class at the college and has to deal with an obnoxious playwright and his psycho stalker.

Main Characters:
*Charlie Harris, rare book librarian and cataloger, doesn’t get to spend as much time in the library during this book because of all the craziness happening at home.

*Diesel, Charlie’s sidekick, a very large Maine Coon with a keen sense of human character.
*Laura Harris, Charlie’s daughter, home for a semester from Hollywood, is suspected of the murder of her former fiancé and then someone attempts to kill her three times because she may – or may not – know information pertinent to the murder.

Continuing Characters:
*Sean Harris, Charlie’s son – he is a lawyer who recently quit his practice in Houston to move to small town Mississippi. He lives in Charlie’s house.

*Stewart Delacorte and Justin Wardlaw, boarders in Charlie’s house. Stewart teaches at –  and Justin attends –  Athena College.
*Kanesha Berry, Chief Deputy Sheriff in charge of the murder investigation, reluctantly accepts Charlie’s help again with solving the murder.
*Azalea Berry and Helen Louise Brady are around also with their delicious food!

New Characters:
*Connor Lawton, writer-in-residence, playwright and Laura’s former fiancé. The words arrogant and obnoxious are too nice to be used to describe him. Maybe just plain yucky would be adequate. Anyway, someone has had enough from him and takes him out, permanently  – but who? He never met a person who didn’t hate him. The list is so long with suspects!!

*Damitra Vane, Connor’s former girl friend and current psycho stalker. She makes more than one attempt to accost and threaten Laura.
*Ralph “Montana” Johnston, writer of deplorable plays & his wife, Magda Johnston who is carrying on with Connor.
*Sarabeth Conley, she works in the theater department and used to take care of Charlie when he was a little boy. We find out later she also babysat Connor – hmmm, I wonder what dark secrets she’s hoarding?

Another well written and relaxing cozy mystery read from Miranda James. Like the others I’ve read, this book is hard to put down. Each chapter just leads seamlessly into the next one and before I know it I’ve read half the book and spent several blissful hours doing so. I love the world the author has created as well as the mystery. I did guess one of the culprits early on but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws  – because of Diesel, of course!!

selfie 092015aaReviewer: BobbieSue

Dean James aka Miranda JamesYes, this is Miranda James! It’s a pseudonym of Dean James.

Click on the banner below for her/his website!!

Miranda James - Cat in the Stacks mysteries

maine coon cat   Maine Coon Cat - Cat Breed Profile

The Romantic Manifesto

ayn rand 3

This week’s cover challenge is for The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand – a book of essays (plus one short story) about Ms Rand’s belief that the Romantic Period of Art is “the greatest achievement in art history.” We tried getting the book from the library to read but they don’t have a copy (it’s a good thing to have a relative in the library system – we can get mom’s sister to order one for the City!). So we had to settle with reading about it on Wikipedia and the Ayn Rand website (links below).  Here’s what we did:

Having no photographs that meet the requirements, I chose and illustration from Romantic Period illustrator, Arthur Rackham
Having no photographs that meet the requirements, I chose an illustration from Romantic Period illustrator, Arthur Rackham . . .
Softened the focus and added fog through PicMonkey. . .
Softened the focus and added fog through PicMonkey. . .
ayn rand 3
Added text, plus a quote from Ms Rand and I was finished!

As promised here are links to to the sites I read for research:

The Romantic Manifesto, 1969 edition.jpg Wikipedia   about aro Ayn Rand website

Also, Please check out this link from a fellow blogger who discusses the Romantic Period in fashion terms. Very interesting!!

PS – you should follow this blog if you like fashion even one iota!!

Here are  some additional covers:

the romantic manifesto 1969 the romantic manifesto 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ...   


Sponsored by Lucile de Godoy and DesleyJaneGo HERE for all the covers for last week’s challenge!  

library croppedCover Makeover Artist: Toby

Ink and Bone


Ink and Bone, Book One of the Great Library Series

Rachel Caine

New American Library, Penguin Group, 2015

The book is set in the year 2025 but due to the Great Library’s influence (read: Overlord) technology is more like that of the late 19th century to early 20th century – think steampunk combined with alchemical magic and you get the idea. The Library’s belief is that “Knowledge is Power” and they believe books (knowledge) are far more important that human lives. The Library withholds information vital to the advancement of people and nations in order to hold on to that global power.

Main Characters:
Jess Brightwell, 16 year old son of a black market bookseller in London, is sent to learn the ways of the Library in order to report back to his father its goings on. Jess is frequently used by people for their own means – his father, Scholar Wolfe, Morgan and ultimately the head of the Library itself. As a result he is cynical but street smart, a skill that saves his life on more than one occasion.
*Morgan Hault
, a young woman from Oxford, England and trying to outrun her fate as an Obscurist and the Iron Tower of Alexandria where she will be enslaved and forced to work the alchemical magic the Library depends on.

*Thomas Schrieber, from Berlin, Germany; a brilliant inventor and engineer – so talented that the machine he creates may get him killed.
*Scholar Christopher Wolfe, a difficult taskmaster at best to the postulants of The Great Library, educates them in the ways of the Library and will ultimately decide who will be granted one of the few available posts within the Library. His rock hard exterior hides deep, hurtful secrets and a hatred of those he serves.
*Captain Niccolo Santi, part of the High Garda, or, Library soldier, assigned to protect the postulants and Wolfe on a dangerous mission.

Secondary Characters
Dario Santiago, Spanish elite, he and Jess are at odds from the beginning.
*Khalia Serif, an Arab from Morocco, the only person who has ever received a perfect score on the entrance examination
*Glain Wathen, Welsh, all legs and arms, made for the High Garda branch of the Library

My first thoughts of this book was disappointment and I really don’t like to be disappointed in a book – it makes me feel like I wasted my time. I had issues in these 4 areas:  

       1. I wasn’t at all persuaded Jess was a young man of 16! It’s in the way he is written – I can’t put my paw on exactly what it is but his male gender is unconvincing. I kept imagining him as a strong-willed young woman and I don’t think that it’s a good thing when your main character is unable pull off his or her gender. Even the name “Jess” is ambiguous. If, from the beginning, the name was “Steve” or “John” or some other obviously male name, then it would have helped me get past this androgynous character. I liked Jess, but not his ambiguity. I like my male characters to be MALE and my female characters to be FEMALE.

2. Imagine my surprise to find this book to be like the recent dystopian novels we’ve have read. Having read several novels recently that have been quite depressing in their view of the world, I was not a happy camper when I realized the tone of this one. I was looking forward to a grand adventure story and this one wasn’t it. This disappointment isn’t on the author – it’s entirely on me and my opinion. This book is the first in The Great Library series but I will probably not read any more of them. It ended so sadly, definitely a cliff hanger but without much hope.

3. There was a lot of bloodshed and quite a few of the characters died through violent means. Another personal choice – I don’t typically read books where so many people, both strangers and named characters die. The last time that happened was in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows but I enjoyed the book and the whole series so much more than this book that I was able to overlook the death of favorite characters.

4. All of the postulants (students vying for Library service) came from around the globe – literally – not only the ones mentioned above, but also  America, Portugal, Japan were the other countries mentioned. It felt like the author was trying too hard to be politically correct by including all races and faiths.

What I liked about the book: It was about books and the need to preserve them in original printed form. In Jess’ world you could read any book you wanted through a “blank” – sort of like an e-reader. Books in their original, hand-written form were incredibly rare and valuable – so much so that the Library grabbed up all they could find and what they couldn’t get their hands on was traded on the black market through illegal bookrunners.

Rating: 2 out of 5 paws because the story concept is good, but there were just too many negatives to outweigh the positives.

cropped-100_23131.jpgReviewer: Toby

Stacks Image 8521 Rachel Caine

Another Cover

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