The Cat Who Saved Books by Sōsuke Natsukawa, is today’s featured book in my A to Z Challenge.
The plan for the month is to feature daily a book I’ve reviewed in the past (or review it that day), and also highlight others: not all are included each day.
- spacetime challenge (I host this reading challenge – you can join here)
- middle grade (childrens) choice
- series (love a good series – there’s a challenge for finishing those, too)
- ‘notable’ reads
- ‘outstanding’ books
- my books!
Featured: The Cat Who Saved Books by Sōsuke Natsukawa
The idea of the Cat Who Saved Books piqued my interest. I was right to pick up an advance copy from Netgalley, because it was entrancing. Rintaro is left alone in his grandfather’s bookshop, which he loves, but when a talking tabby cat appears, he just has to follow him… Thus start three adventures to ‘other worlds’, a little like Wrinkle in Time, each of which requires Rintaro’s help to solve a major problem. This may be a book geared towards school-age children, but the concepts that are tackled are in no way black and white. In my original review I say:
It’s hard to defy false logic and see through to the heart of a problem. There is a lot here for a thoughtful middle grade reader. There’s a lot here for an older reader too, who will see the problems only too clearly, since they are at the heart of our society and our calamities at present. And the final problem shows that it is indeed not so easy to solve these problems as Rintaro first thought.from my review
I should give credit to the translator, too, Louise Heal Kawai. Great work.
While I’m here, I’ll mention two more Middle Grade books I loved: Castle Hangnail, with the witchiest wee witch to save the day, and Cosmic Colin: Hairy Hamster Horror. I couldnt resist it. There are more Cosmic Colins to go, I think.
SpaceTime Challenge Reads (and series!)
I think it’s unusual to find a spaceopera book that doesn’t become a series. Maybe it’s the time invested in creating the worlds out in space – a whole universe, often with its own technology. It’s certainly the case for these two series, one I’m still working through, and one I’ve loved since I was much younger!
The Cassa series, by Alex J Cavanaugh. I considered holding on to my review of CassaFire to today, but really, there’s not enough space to do it justice. You can see it here, and of CassaStar here, and CassaDark here. Trust me to read them out of order! This starts out as a space cadet-type series, but there’s more to it than that, and I love both the twists in the plots and the worldbuilding that our Ninja Captain Alex creates. All very believable people as well.
The Crystal Singer series, by Anne McCaffrey, has been one of my favourites since I first encountered it, probably at college (although it’s listed as first published 1982). Killashandra is a failed opera singer. But the failure is minute, and she storms out of the concert hall straight into a mysterious man who warns her against joining the Ballybran company. Of course, she does just that, since she discovers it requires perfect pitch. She gets to ‘sing’ to crystal out in the ranges, in order to mine it. The series has some interesting developments, and I absolutely loved the second, with Killa abandoned on a desert island, and of course, makes her way to relative safety. Anne McCaffrey was always good a creating the women we wanted to be, although I suspect it will show its age if I reread it, as have works like The Ship Who Sang. One of the best bits about McCaffrey’s work is the universe crossovers. We get another B&B ship in the third of these 🙂
Crime of the letter C
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths gives me a ‘Notable’ book, and especially since it became a first in series. Elly never expected it to be anything but a stand alone, so things went altogether far too far too fast! In honour of the publication of the last in the Ruth Galloway series (come back for L), her publishers produced a special edition of the Crossing Places last autumn, which I devoured avidly. It was strange how much I’d forgotten, and how much has changed in Ruth’s life….
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is a detective series set in the french-speaking part of Canada. It makes for some nice cultural differences. Louise Penny has got at least eighteen of these out now, and I’ve read… two. The first was for the letter Q in 2014! I really must get myself onto this. I have at least added several to my TBR list 🙂 The Madness of Crowds was an excellent read, featuring a problem in lockdown that revealed more about Canada’s past than most people knew.
Blowing my Own Trumpet
The Cavies of Flexford Common is so new I haven’t actually finished it yet! It uses my penchant for writing about guinea pigs and their fantasy adventures. This time it’s more magical-realism with Roscoe and Neville finding a way out of the house when ‘Mam’ isn’t around, and having adventures with two girl guinea pigs they meet on the common. I’m aiming this at readers 7 years or so (Key Stage 1+), contrasting with Messenger Misadventures, which is for eight and up. I discover there is a market for guinea pig heroes in my area, after all!
By contrast, the Chronicles of Marsh came out in 2019 and is book 9 in the Princelings series. I had to get from where we left Dylan and Dougall and everyone after Princelings of the North, to the Revolution planned for 2020. After several tries at filling in the timeline, I decided King Fred could make a history of his reign, with anecdotes from 2011 though to 2018… It ends with an important event, and while it’s not really a cliffhanger, it’s clear that it sets up the last book. Despite the linked ‘collection’ format, some people say it’s their favourite. It’s certainly one of mine 🙂
That’s all for today, so come back tomorrow for more. I’m hoping to meet more people who like the same kinds of book, so feel free to recommend something you’ve read beginning with the letter of the day!
14 thoughts on “The Cat Who Saved Books | #A2ZChallenge23”
Thanks Jemima – great selection of books including ‘C’ words … I must get the Louise Penny book to read more about the Canadian links. While your The Cat Who Saved Books – sounds fascinating … I’ll also get that from the library to read. Thanks for these selections … all the best – Hilary
I hope you find it okay, Hilary 😀
Interesting selections. I especially liked the Cat Who Saved Books and have bookmarked it for later. Looking forward to your posts as I have a feeling my TBR is going to get really huge with your posts 😉
I think you could be right there! After all, I gave just about everything I’m mentioning this month 5 stars 🙃
I’ve added “Still Life” and “The Cat Who Saved Books” to my TBR 🙂 Thanks for the recommendations!
Ronel visiting for C:
My Languishing TBR: C
Cannibalistic Fae: Ogres
Nice to see you’ve set yourself a daily limit! 😉
I think I may have to read this as I enjoyed castle hangnail (which I think I got from you).
Yes, I’d say the Cat is for a slightly older audience, but it’s really good. ❤️
Thanks for mentioning my series!
Talking cat – sounds like a fun fantasy.
More intriguing than fun, I would say. For a fun mystery cat, look for K.
More books for my middle school friend!
I think you’d enjoy this cat.
Need another Cat themed book for a discerning friend. Thanks
I have two more cat heroes later in the month – K and M, from memory.