All I need to be entertained are cats within ear-scratching distance and a good book . . .OK, maybe that's not ALL I need, but it's a good start.

I love to read. And I love to get recommendations for books to read.

I started Cats and a Book to share the books I read with others. Some I love, some I don't, but you may love the ones I don't, so you're welcome to post your own comments and suggestions.

To make it easier to purchase books you may read about on the blog, I've linked to through The Cats and a Book Bookstore, which is located on the bottom of this page. Your purchases are fulfilled and handled through Amazon. To assure your privacy, Cats and a Book doesn't handle any of your payment or contact information.

Happy reading!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, by Rita Leganski

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, by Rita Leganski, is the story of Bonaventure Arrow, a baby boy born mute to the newly widowed Dancy Arrow.  Bonaventure doesn't make a sound, but his hearing is astounding—he can hear the tiniest sounds far, far away, sounds of colors, or sounds of events that had happened long ago.  It is his supernatural hearing that helps him identify his father’s murderer. 

Bright, thoughtful, and spirited, Bonaventure’s unique abilities seem almost believable as he communicates with his father, William Arrow, now in Almost Heaven.  Dancy Arrow’s young husband is murdered before Bonaventure is born by a man Leganski calls “The Wanderer.”  The shooting seems random and unplanned, carried out by an unstable and damaged man who has no identification and is unable to communicate sensibly after his arrest.  William’s mother is unable to rest until the murderer’s identity is known, and when the police are unsuccessful, she hires a private detective. 

In the meantime, Dancy wallows in her grief, raising Bonaventure with the help of William’s mother and their hired help, Trinidad Prefontaine.  Trinidad is their cook and housekeeper, and has knowledge of hoodoo—the use of charms and plants to bring about good fortune.   She is inexplicably connected to Bonaventure, but as the family secrets unravel and the murderer’s identity is revealed, readers will learn about this connection and others which will bring release for William and healing to those who grieve. 

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow was published in 2012 by HarperCollins.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Last Night at the Lobster, by Stewart O'Nan

Last Night at the Lobster, is another Stewart O’Nan gem.  O’Nan has the ability to portray life as it is, with all its warts--disappointments, unhappiness, irrational ire, and even bad weather—but also with  its beauty marks—lasting friends, the love of someone special, the care of a stranger, and good luck.  Only 160 pages long, Last Night at the Lobster is another example of O'Nan's ability to tell a story that feels real.      

Manny DeLeon is the manager of a Red Lobster restaurant which is slated to close.  As with any business taking its dying breaths, employees have either found other employment and resigned or simply disappeared in search of new opportunities.  Others leave angry and resentful, taking out their frustration on the long-suffering manager.  Manny is left with a skeleton crew on a snowy night, the last night of the restaurant’s existence, with little or no business.  Any former and current restaurant employee will appreciate the situations that arise, and those who haven’t worked in a restaurant will gain a new appreciation for the professionals who work there.  More than that, readers will appreciate Manny’s calm leadership and sense of responsibility. 

Manny is dedicated to the end, saving only a few souvenirs but taking nothing of value, working multiple stations in the place of missing employees, and rallying the troops to make it through to an early close.  We learn much about Manny’s character through his relationship with his pregnant girlfriend and one of his waitresses, with whom he had an affair—and how he accepts his duty—to close the restaurant that had been his to care for, to help find jobs for his employees, and return to his girlfriend. 

Last Night at the Lobster was published in 2007 by Viking.