SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #37-38

Book #37 was "The Harmony Silk Factory" by Tash Aw. I picked this up cheaply at a used book shop not knowing much about it besides what it said on the jacket blurb. The novel is set in Malaysia around the time of their independence, and it centers around the story of Jonny Lim, a cloth merchant who may also be a gangster, a communist or a collaborator with the enemy. It's told from three viewpoints: His son Jasper, who seems to believe the worst about his father; the diary entries of Johnny's wife, Snow, who is also somewhat naive but whose entries make it clear that Jasper doesn't know the full truth; and Peter, an English expat who is perhaps Johnny's only friend and who has a secret of his own. The section by Jasper was a little dry with background about Malaysia at first, but after the first 30-40 pages, I was gripped and ripped right through the rest of the book. I recommend it and would like to see more by the author.

Book #38 was "Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet" by John Bradshaw. I'd heard good things about this book, but I was worried that it would just repeat a lot of what I already know about the evolution of the housecat and the current theories about their behavior and psychology. I needn't have worried, though. Bradshaw is an expert in animal behavior and has done a lot of original experiments to test out various theories. He gives the latest and most thorough explanation of what we know about cat's evolution from wildcats to housecats, an overview of their senses and how they differ from humans and how this affects their behavior, as well as delving into individual cat personalities, debates over how much housecats are contributing to the decline of songbirds, and some thoughts on declawing. The book is well organized, and it is chock full of fun illustrations and sidebars explaining certain concepts more fully. I saw another reviewer say that the final chapter, "Cats of the Future," was the weakest, and while I agree that it was the weakest and most full of speculation, it was still food for thought, and I think his speculations are based on a lot of well thought-out theories. You may not agree with his every conclusion, but I do think the subtitle is apt - it's already given me some ideas for making our cats happier with their food & litter placement and inter-cat relationship. Recommended to all cat lovers and really anyone interested in animal psychology.

1. Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection Paperback [fiction/graphic short story collection]- Matt Dembicki -Ed.
2. Light Music [fiction]- Kathleen Ann Goonan
3. The Indian Clerk [fiction]- David Leavitt
4. The Diving Bell & the Butterfly [non-fiction/memoir]- Jean-Dominique Bauby
5. Clarence Darrow: American Iconoclast [non-fiction]- Andrew E. Kersten
6. Blue Champagne [fiction/short stories]- John Varley
7. A Person of Interest [fiction]- Susan Choi
8. Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country [non-fiction]- Louise Erdrich
9. Nobody Nowhere [non-fiction]- Donna Williams
10. The Three Musketeers [fiction]- Alexandre Dumas (unabridged audiobook)
11. The Narrative of John Tanner [non-fiction/biography]- as told by John Tanner, edited by Edwin James
12. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell [fiction]- Susanna Clarke
13. I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith through an Atheist's Eyes [non-fiction]- Hemant Mehta
14. Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft [non-fiction]- Natalie Goldberg
15. No Name in the Streets [non-fiction/essay]- James Baldwin
16. The Hunger Games [fiction]- Suzanne Collins (unabridged audiobook)
17. Permanence [fiction]- Karl Schroeder
18. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf [poetry]- Ntozake Shange
19. An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President [non-fiction]- Randall Robinson
20. The Delikon [fiction]- by H.M. Hoover
21. Catching Fire (#2 in the Hunger Games trilogy) [fiction]- Suzanne Collins (unabridged audiobook)
22. Codex Born (#2 in the Magic Ex Libris series) [fiction]- Jim Hines
23. The Hum and the Shiver [fiction]- Alex Bledsoe (unabridged audiobook)
24. Skinny Legs and All [fiction]- Tom Robbins
25. Artemis Fowl [fiction]- Eoin Colfer (unabridged audiobook)
26. The Best of All Possible Worlds [fiction]- Karen Lord
27. The Green Flash and Other Tales of Horror, Suspense, and Fantasy [fiction/short stories]- Joan Aiken
28. Use What You Have Decorating [non-fiction]- Lauri Ward
29. Erasure [fiction]- Percival Everett
30. Homer & Langley [fiction]- E.L. Doctorow (unabridged audiobook)
31. The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam [non-fiction]- Karen Armstrong
32. The Beekeeper's Apprentice [fiction]- Laurie R. King
33. Wisp of a Thing [fiction]- Alex Bledsoe (unabridged audiobook)
34. The Talented Mr. Ripley [fiction]- Patricia Highsmith
35. Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World [fiction]- Vicki Myron
36. Blood Work: An Original Hollows Graphic Novel [fiction/graphic novel]- Kim Harrison (author), Pedro Maia, and Gemma Magno (illustrators)

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