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!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty, by Vendela Vida

The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty, by Vendela Vida, is a study in identity—how we construct it, how we prove it, and how we change it.  Written in second person, Vida tells the story as if you are the female protagonist (“You call to cancel your bank card”) whose personal documents, including passport and wallet are stolen in Casablanca.  This gives the reader a sense of personal stake in the outcome.  It helps us feel her panic and frustration and perhaps understand her logic as she attempts to regain control of her situation. 

Vida’s character is suspicious, but as her true story is revealed, readers may better understand her perspective.  She weaves fairly unbelievable conspiracy theories which in her mind support the creation of alternate identities.  For example, when the police return a black backpack to her, similar to the one stolen from her, she senses that they are attempting to close the matter through a tacit agreement that she would take what was offered.  And she does, including the identity of the woman whose backpack she now possesses, at least for the time being.  Legal documents, physical appearance, the trappings of a career all lend themselves to creating her multiple identities while she struggles with recreating her own concept of who she is and how to move forward with her life.

The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty is an entertaining read and a thought-provoking story about identity—legal, constructed, and imagined.  It was published by Harper Collins in 2015. 

The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, is the delightful story of genetics professor Don Tillman’s search for a life mate. Having decided through a logical process that he was in need of a wife, Professor Tillman develops a questionnaire which he contends will identify his perfect match. Unfortunately, his questionnaire isn’t quite as precise as he believes, and even his “perfect match” turns out to be flawed.

Tillman’s charm is his vulnerability and his lack of understanding of nuance. He interprets comments literally, which leads to a number of amusing situations and misunderstandings, but it also leads him to Rosie, a very unlikely match for a life mate. Serving as a balance to Tillman’s more innocent charm is his friend Gene, whose womanizing ways are a sharp contrast to Tillman's naiveté.

Simsion followed The Rosie Project with The Rosie Effect, for those readers who must know what became of Don and Rosie.  The Rosie Project was published by Simon and Schuster in 2014.