Library Cat ‘The Observations of a Thinking Cat’ is a novel by Alex Howard. It is published by Black & White Publishing with it’s launch today 28th April 2016. I would like to thank Black & White Publishing for my ARC in return for an honest review.
‘Library Cat – the resident cat of Edinburgh University Library – is not like other cats. He is a thinking cat. You can tell by the canny glint in his eye, his arched, disdainful whiskers and his unrelenting interest in books & piles of paper.
This is Library Cat’s story. Join him on the adventures he takes when he leaves his favourite turquoise chair in the library and his favourite food (bacon-rind) behind to go out into the big, bad world. Meet his cousins Biblio Chat and Saaf Landan Tom. Hold your breath during his brief encounter with the elusive Puddle Cat and his run in with the terrifying and mysterious Black Dog.
This is principally the story of Library Cat’s search for meaning in seemingly meaningless world. But it’s about us Humans, too. You see, with his black and white head bobbing a foot off the ground, Library Cat has seen us Humans from a very different angle. And he thinks we have it all wrong…..’
Here’s a book that is different. Quite unlike any book I have read before. At times humorous, at times profound, at times witty. I have never proposed to give any thought to the inner thinkings of a cat’s mind but having read this book I might just look at them a little differently. I must admit the whole premise of this book is a bit mad but yet there are some very insightful statements about the way we ‘humans’ go about our daily lives.
Library Cat is based on a true story. It is the story of Jordan, the resident cat at Edinburgh University, who has become a bit of a celebrity in his own right. He has his own facebook community and now has his own book recounting his observations.
‘A sudden sadness hit Library Cat. He had a horrible feeling that the Humans had forgotten how to live.’
Throughout the book Library Cat makes many observations. It’s as though Alex Howard, in writing this book, is reflecting the way society has developed. It takes someone, in this case a cat, to see how we have deteriorated in many ways. I found myself, while reading the book, underlining various sections that were quite thought provoking.
‘It seemed that the Humans were forever comparing themselves to each other, or looking at points in the future or the past, or attempting acquisition of something, and feeling that their “present moment” fell short. It was true; knowledge did seem to be subjugated beneath the Human’s sleepless quest for personal gain……”Contentment! That’s what the Humans all *crave*. That’s what us cats have and they don’t…..They make happiness an invisible mouse and then spend their entire life chasing it. But they just want contentment. There is no mouse to chase.”‘
The book is broken down into approximately 21 chapters, each giving us an insight into the daily adventures of Library Cat. What’s interesting is that each chapter ends with four facts for the reader:
- Recommended Reading
- Food consumed
- Discovery about Humans
Each book recommendation is based on the activities of Library Cat that day and Alex Howard thoughtfully provides a bibliography for further reading at the back of the book.
Library Cat, given his name, is a cat who is well read. Through the course of the book he comes to realise that his collection of books are actually not his. In an attempt at payment, he delivers firstly a bird and then a rat to the librarian, obviously not met with any great approval.
We get a cat’s perspective on visiting the vet, on going on the ‘prowl’ with his cousin, on student life and more.
Having read Library Cat, I would say it is a great coffee table book, one that can quite easily be dipped into on a whim, when one is looking for a little light entertainment with a twist.
It’s a fun book and I can imagine it having quite a unique following, especially in student circles.
Let me know what you think.
Til Next Time
About the Human
Alex Howard is 27 and lives in Edinburgh. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an English Literature degree in 2010 and has since had poetry published widely in journals such as The London Magazine, Cadaverine and Gutter. He is the winner of the Red Cross International Writing Prize, a quarter-finalist in the Scottish Slam Championship 2012, and has performed his work at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. In addition, he has had comedy writing shortlisted by the BBC and worked variously as a television researcher, ghost tour guide and tutor. He is currently pursuing an AHRC funded PhD at the University of Edinburgh (Courtesy of Black & White Publishing)