June 21st, 2013

cats on bookshelf

Book 112: A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

Book 112: A Street Cat Named Bob.
Author: James Bowen (with Garry Jenkins), 2012.
Genre: Non-Fiction. Memoir. Cats. Drugs.
Other Details: Paperback. 279 pages.

When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet. Yet James couldn't resist helping the strikingly intelligent tom cat, whom he quickly christened Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas. Soon the two were inseparable and their diverse, comic and occasionally dangerous adventures would transform both their lives, slowly healing the scars of each other's troubled pasts. A Street Cat Named Bob is a moving and uplifting story that will touch the heart of anyone who reads it. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

Well the publisher certainly called it right on this tale of one cat and his man; it was moving and uplifting. Bob and James had received a fair amount of attention last year as reported here on BBC News (video).

Bob Reading
This month one of my reading groups elected to choose from a selection of autobiographies, biographies and memoirs rather than all of us reading the same book. I opted for this one having recalled the news stories about this heart-warming story about the street cat, Bob, and his guardian.

It was a lovely story and having given homes to a number of homeless cats through the years can well appreciate what a force for change Bob has been in James' life. It was a very quick read and happily incidents of peril to Bob were minimal. I'll certainly keep a look out for the new volume, The World According to Bob, due this summer.

There also has been a special adaptation written for younger readers titled: Bob No Ordinary Cat. I expect that this has omitted the material on James' drug use when younger and his experiences weaning himself off methadone as well as some of the threats he and Bob had to deal with on the street.

20 The Pirate Hunter

Originally posted by audrey_e at 20 The Pirate Hunter

15Pirate Hunter
 This is a biography of Captain Kidd and his enemy Robert Culliford.

As it turns out, the real Captain Kidd has nothing to do with what the legend says. Originally, Captain Kidd was sent across the seas by the Crown with the mission to hunt and punish pirates. But a mutiny causes Kidd to lose the Crown's favor. He is eventually accused of piracy and put on trial. An ironic ending for one that was sworn to do away with piracy.

A long time admirer of Robert Louis Stevenson's work, it was interesting to read a "real" pirate story. Unfortunately, as with most things in life, fiction is more exciting than reality. I believe Zacks did not have much material to write a truly engaging biography. It's clearly not a lack of research, it's just that there is not much to the story in the first place.

Having said that, it was not a painful read, and I learnt a few things about the time.