New Book: Writers and their Cats

Calvin is enjoying the new book, Writers and their Cats. He's reading the entry on Hunter S. Thompson. Wonder if he thinks he'll get hunting tips...

Calvin is enjoying the new book, Writers and their Cats. He’s reading the entry on Hunter S. Thompson. Wonder if he thinks he’ll get hunting tips…

As the human behind this blog, I get requests from people representing all kinds of topics or products or causes that they are absolutely sure I should be writing about on Life with Dogs and Cats.

Sometimes they are so off base, it’s hilarious. Like the guy from Beardoholic who was sure I should be writing about beard competitions.

But other times, they hit me right in the sweet spot, and it’s easy to say yes. For example if you have a book that is related to cats and / or dogs AND it also touches on art or writing, AND is well written and designed… Well, let’s just say I’m a sucker. I’ll take it, I’ll read it, and if I like it, I’ll feature it here on my blog. All I ask is for a few extra copies that I can share with my readers and followers. Because I believe in sharing stuff I love. 

So when the folks at Chronicle Books asked me if I’d like to take a look at the book Writers and their Cats by Alison Nastasi, I jumped on the opportunity faster than Elsa Clair on my lap when I sit down at my desk. (And, no, I wasn’t paid for this review; I just received a free copy of the book.)

Writers. Cats. Yup. There’s a confluence I can get behind in a big way.

Writers and Their Cats is an adorable little book featuring 45 famous writers and their feline mew-ses. There’s a photo of each author and at least one kitty, accompanied by some de-tails (can’t help these puns) about the cat—or in most cases, cats—that feature in his or her life. There’s often a thought or two in the writer’s own words expressing their felines (yup, another one) about cats in general. In other words, the book contains just the right amount of information about litter-ary celebrities and their cats to keep you curious and turning pages. You won’t want to put the book down—mostly because your own kitty will probably lay on top of it.

Writers and their Cats is the purr-fect gift (you would have been disappointed if I didn’t use that pun) for the cat-loving writers (and readers) you know—including yourself.  The book would have been on my Amazon wish list had I not received a free copy.

Below are some of my favorite entries.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain and one of his cats, from Writers and their cats

Mark Twain—he of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn—loved cats; he had more than thirty during his life. He is quoted as saying, “When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction. When he put an ad in the local paper when Bambino— his beloved black kitty—went missing, Twain’s fans showed up with whatever black cats they could find, hoping for access to his house. Photo from Writers and their Cats by Alison Nastasi, published by Chronicle Books 2018

Alice Walker

Alice Walker and one of her cats from Writers and their Cats

Alice Walker, activist and Pulitzer Prize-winng author of The Color Purple, has lived with many cats. Of her rescued cat Frida (named after Frida Kahlo, a famous painter), Walker said, ” I could only hope she’d one day exhibit some of Kahlo’s character. That despite her horrendous kittenhood she would, like Kahol, develop into a being of courage, passion, and poise…When it is bedtime I pick her up, cuddle her, whisper what a sweet creature she is, how beautiful and wonderful, how lucky I am to have her in my life, and that I will love her always.” Photo from Writers and their Cats by Alison Nastasi, published by Chronicle Books 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin and Bonzo, from Writers and their Cats

Ursula Le Guin, one of my favorite authors (Left Hand of Darkness, the Earthsea series, has written about cats as well. She had many feline companions during her life, including Bonzo (short for Lorenzo, pictured here), whom she called, “one of the great cats of my life.” Her cat Pardner slept on the desk near her computer, and as is recounted in the book, “If I get very emotionally involved in what I’m writing (letter or fiction), it makes him uneasy and he comes over and sits on the mouse and purrs. Try writing with a cat sitting on your mouse.” Cats feature in Le Guin’s works as well. In addition to a chapter book series (Catwings), a children’s picture book (Cat Dreams, currently out of print), she “wrote” Pardner’s autobiography (ostensibly dictated by him and translated from Feline into English by Le Guin), called “My Life So Far” which is currently available in ebook form, with additional pictures). Photo from Writers and their Cats by Alison Nastasi, published by Chronicle Books 2018

Susan C. Willett

Susan C. Willett and her cat Calvin T. Katz, The Most Interesting Cat In The World

No, I’m not in the book, but one can always hope, and dream, and write. This is me with Calvin Tiberius Katz, also known as The Most Interesting Cat In The World™. He loves climbing on, riding or just hanging around my shoulders.

Writers and their Cats is available for sale starting today—August 21—but Life with Dogs and Cats has copies to give away to three lucky readers. 

Enter to win a  copy of Writers and Their Cats by Alison Nastasi

Enter to win a copy of Writers and Their Cats by Alison Nastasi from Life With Dogs and Cats

Enter to win a copy of Writers and Their Cats by Alison Nastasi

Congrats to our winners:

Katherine K. from Missouri

Lisa A. from Tennessee

Tracy S. from Oregon

For all of you who didn’t win, keep following Life with Dogs and Cats here and on other social media for future giveaways!

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Which of your pets like to snuggle up with you when you read?

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7 Comments on "New Book: Writers and their Cats"

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  1. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    cranbereez guyz…we thinked yur mom was in de book……bummer….oh well, it soundz way awesum; for sure we will chex thiz out over at de “big store place ” !! ☺☺♥♥

  2. You should be in the book!

  3. You should be included! I love reading about fellow cat lovers – especially the ones I admire so much.

  4. Mary McNeil says:

    I tried to find Ursula LeGuin’s “biography ” of Pardner, but the only “My Life So Far” Google knows of is Jane Fonda’s. Any link ?
    You and Calvin T should definitely be included in the next volume !

  5. Lynne says:

    I have two cats, 9 yr. old Desiree and 2 yr. old Allie and I think they would both love to snuggle with me while reading this, especially on a cold night in the Winter.

  6. Sandy Weinstein says:

    i dont have any cats, i just like reading animal books, i have a large library of horse, dog and cat books. i love reading pet stories. i dont know if my 2 dogs would be willing to sit next to me while i read a book about cats.

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