The Art of Book Design: I am a Cat

 

Natsume Soseki. I am a Cat. (1906) First English translation published in 1909. Translated by K. Ando and revised by K. Natsume. Tokyo, Hatori Shorten, 1906-1909.

This classic book, written by one of Japan’s most celebrated novelists, is a satire of Japanese society during the Meiji period (1868 – 1912) when western customs were first being incorporated into the country. It’s written from the perspective of a supercilious and eloquent housecat who humorously comments on the people and events that fill his life.

I couldn’t find a copy of the book for you to read, but it’s been reissued many times (and in many languages) and is available at most major booksellers. If you’d like to read a few quotes before deciding to buy, the site Cocosse-Journal is the place to go. I’ll share just this one quote from the book:

“Thus, as I review the list of my friends and acquaintances, most of them emerge as stained with
 maniac stigmata of one sort or another. I begin to feel considerably reassured. The truth may
simply be that human society is no more than a massing of lunatics.”
                                                                    – from I am a Cat via Cocosse-Journal

Cover photo via: Old Timey Cats

Jack’s Walk

Harvest time. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack and I managed to get out for a walk in the woods yesterday and it was exactly what we both needed. Jack’s been feeling a bit put out since I’ve been spending so much time with my mom and it was nice to have some quality time together, just the two of us. Jack was obviously happy. He wore his goofiest grin and wagged his big, heavy tail for most of the walk. He even stayed with me on the path instead of wandering off to explore so we talked about the changing season and sang a silly song or two and by the time we got back to the car Jack was his cheerful self again. I was feeling better, too so as a special treat we stopped on the way home at Dairy Queen and shared a cone. It was a simple day, full of nothing special happiness and if I had a tail like Jack, mine would have been wagging, too.

The Art of Book Design: Space Cat

Ruthven Todd. Space Cat. Illustrated by Paul Galdone. Charles Scribners Sons, 1952. Photo from Amazon.com

Space cat is a series of 4 books written in the 1950’s by Scottish novelist Ruthven Todd about Flyball the cat and his adventures in outer space. The books are filled with charming illustrations by Paul Galdone who also designed the set of 4 covers that have made the books highly collectible and hard to find. The Book isn’t in the public domain so I can’t send you to read them, but in 2018 the set was re-issued and is available for purchase at a reasonable price. Here’s the link to Amazon, but the books can be found at most major book stores. Click through if you’d like to see the other 3 book covers – they are fun!

[Read more…]

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack and I decided to spend some time in the garden this morning. I did a few minutes worth of weeding and Jack helpfully surveyed the damage done to my hibiscus by hungry little caterpillars – the bastards! No matter, it’s near the end of garden season and Jack and I are both looking forward to the arrival of fall next week. The boy loves the cooler temps and all the new smells that come with the season of decay. My pitiful human nose can’t appreciate most of the smells, but I do have excellent eyes to appreciate all the colours.

We both hope you get outdoors to enjoy this last weekend of summer. We’ll be back on Monday so we’ll see you in the fall!

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

I’ve always thought of hibiscus as a tropical flower, but over the past few years I’ve noticed several of my neighbours plant the bush successfully right here in not-even-remotely-tropical Ontario. I love the big, bright, showy flowers that hibiscus put out so I thought I’d take a chance and plant one in my own garden. That was in the spring of 2018 and I took great care to give the plant the best start possible. I chose a nice sunny spot, amended the soil with horse manure and peat before planting and then hand watered it twice a day for weeks. By early July when we left for the east coast the plant had settled in and was growing well so I was expecting to see flowers when we got home.

Then our return home was delayed and delayed again and then delayed some more after that. By the time we got home it was the end of September and the flowers were finished and gone. The big, beautiful flowers were bountiful – so I was told – but I never got to see them. I had lots of people describe them to me and every single person made a circle with their hands to show me their size, but no-one had a picture to share. I’ve had to wait all the way until today to see what my big, red hibiscus flowers look like. I won’t describe them to you. I took a photo instead.

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

©voyager, all rights reserved

©voyager, all rights reserved

This pretty pink sedum plant lives along one of our regular walking routes and I’ve been waiting for the colours to emerge. I haven’t seen it in a week or so and was happily surprised today with its progress. Just look at all those delicate pinks jumbled together like a bag of confetti. This plant is throwing its own garden party!

Jack’s Walk

Rose of Sharon ©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s a beautiful day in my neighborhood and there are still plenty of flowers left to make me smile. This Rose of Sharon has been making me smile most of the summer. It’s been in full bloom for weeks and shows no signs of slowing down in the shorter days and cooler nights of September. I spend a lot of time admiring this particular Rose of Sharon because it lives at a home with a dog and Jack insists on a long, slow, careful sniff of their hedge every time we walk this way. It’s Jack’s Walk so I try to never hurry him along, but it’s always nice when he stops places that I can appreciate, too.