If you’re feline friendly or even just a cat-lover, here’s a quick look at a pair of recent releases that are guaranteed to make you smile.
One is jam-packed with striking color images; the other is a collection of insights by a late well-known American underground poet and author.
“Felines of New York” by Jim Tews (Simon & Shuster, $14.99) is an oversized 232-page paperback showcasing cats at home, work or play, with no humans in sight.
Most photographs are full page, with an opposing page used for only captions. All of the cats are identified by name and locale in New York City.
The majority of images were taken inside, which is quite understandable – many pet owners contacted Tews after visiting his photo website.
Tews is a successful stand-up comedian – this book is an unabashed take-off on the best-selling photo book “Humans of New York” written by Brandon Stanton.
Cats are shown perched on windowsills, in comfortable chairs, inside boxes, even sitting in front of doorways and on highly polished floors.
Some are also depicted playing with toys, hiding, getting ready to pounce or just scrrying along. My favorite is “Tiny the Usurper” from Park Slope, taken inside a bookshop.
Unfortunately, this book isn’t ideal for all cat-lovers. Usage of unnecessary f-words in a few of the captions may cause straight-laced potential buyers to rightfully hesitate before buying this book as a gift.
“Charles Bukowski on Cats” edited by Abel Debritto (HarperCollins, $25.99) is a slim 120-page hardback which offers an entertaining mixture of poetry and prose.
Bukowski (1920-1994) was a prolific off-beat writer who still is exceptionally popular, especially on college campuses.
These snippets and short pieces or poems about cats were taken from a variety of different sources, including obscure magazines, books and numerous unpublished manuscripts accessed by Debritto.
There are a few black-and-white photos of Bukowski with assorted cats; it also includes his only known drawing … which just so happens to be of a cat.
Some poems and writings may seem repetitious, but they are often just different views of a memorable incident. Strong imagery abounds – his love for cats shines through, without getting too mushy.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed books regularly since the year 1987. He has two cats, Parker and Callie.