Cat-Astrophic Book Choices For April

I hate to say it, but April was a disappointing month for books. And not just because I didn’t read as many as I had hoped to. I was excited about every title I picked up, but each of the three books I read last month fell short. I certainly don’t regret reading any of them, but I am looking forward to some better book picks in May.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess:

I knew this was a classic, and I saw the film years ago, so I was really looking forward to reading this one. And then I was promptly let down. Story wise, not a whole lot happens, so it should have been a quick read. Unfortunately, the language slowed me down more than I had anticipated. I knew going into it that I was going to have to tackle “Nadsat”, the language used by the teenagers in the novel, but the first few chapters were a slog. For some terms, I picked up their meaning quickly through context; others never stuck for me.

As a lover of horror, I found that the prison scenes were too tame, and the violent opening scenes were lost on me simply because it took me a third of the book to get accustomed to the flow of the language. Overall, it’s a decent book, and I enjoyed the philosophical concepts discussed within the pages, but it felt like a chore to read it.

What I didn’t know is that the book has two different endings: the American and the British. I understand the pros and cons of both, but I personally prefer the American ending as it’s darker. I also like the hopelessness of it, that the torture Alex endured was all for nothing. Not to say that the British ending doesn’t have its own notes of hopelessness.

I’ll never read the book again, but I might give the movie a re-watch.

Blind Justice by Anne Perry:

This is it. The story I was waiting for after the events of the two previous William Monk novels. This was where I hopped to see the full weight of the consequences of Rathbone owning a set of dangerous photographs that had come into his possession. And that is what I got, but unfortunately this was nowhere near being the strongest book in the series.

The courtroom drama portion of it was just fine, but the mystery element was lacking. As Monk, Hester, and Scruff worked to figure out who was behind the crime, it felt like they were all asking the same questions and getting nowhere for several chapters on end. It really didn’t feel like anything actually happened.

And there were no stakes. Of course, Rathbone could end up in prison, but there’s never any real sense that that’s actually going to happen. We know that even if he is disbarred, Monk will swoop in at the last moment with just the right evidence to keep him out of prison. There was never really any question of the story ending it the way it did. It would have been much stronger if the threat of prison was real and if this book had ended on a cliffhanger with Rathbone behind bars.

Oh well. Even though I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much, I’m still looking forward to the next book in the series.

How to Speak Cat: A Guide to Decoding Cat Language by Aline Alexander Newman and Gary Weitzman:

My husband got this for Christmas and I just couldn’t resist. However, I should have known that when Goodreads listed this as a National Geographic Kids book that this wouldn’t give me a ton of additional insight on my cats. Honestly, given that I currently live with four cats, and have spent a lot of time with countless others, there really wasn’t a whole lot this book could teach me. A lot of what I read I already knew from experience, or it did not match my experiences with my cat at all.

Now, if you’re a kid wanting to learn more about cats, or you’re a fist time pet owner looking for helpful information, then this book is for you. The layout and language are simple and accessible, and there are tons of cute cat pictures. But if you’re a seasoned cat parent like me, you probably won’t get a whole lot out of this book. At least it didn’t take me long to read.

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