This cat book made me WEEP 😭

I love cats. I love translated Japanese fiction. So of course I was excited to read The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa. My boyfriend bought me 4 Japanese cat books for last Christmas (including the original classic that inspired them all) and I’ve been reading through them in publication order. I only have one left now! But today, we’re talking about Travelling Cat.

In this book we’re following a cat named Nana (because his tail is hooked like the number 7, which is “nana” in Japanese) on a road trip with his beloved owner Satoru. They’re travelling across Japan visiting Satoru’s old friends, but Nana doesn’t know why and Satoru won’t say. Despite that they’re just enjoying the time together, seeing the sights and Nana meeting these people.

This book is told both from the cat’s perspective in first person, and also in the third person when looking at flashbacks of Satoru’s life and learning more about his relationship with these people he’s driving to see. I really enjoyed the mix here as Nana get’s a really unique perspective to read from, often apart from Satoru, and the divide also helps to keep the flashbacks clear from the present day sections of the novel.

This book is absolutely gorgeous, completely heart breaking, and as I said in the title of this post I wept like a damn baby as I was finishing up this book. In some ways, it’s a predictable ending. And I’ve seen some people criticising the book for that. But for me it was about getting to know these characters over time and coming to feel for them. So perhaps a better choice for character based readers rather than plot based?

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 10, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 9, Plot: 10, Intrigue: 9, Logic: 10, and Enjoyment: 10 giving an average score of 9.57 and, of course, a 5* rating!

Highlight here for trigger warnings: animal death, cancer, car accident, death of loved ones, miscarriage, misogyny.

I’m so very glad I read this book. It’s a perfect book for any cat lover, but also just animal lovers in general! Have you read any cat/animal based books? I’d love more recommendations!

Back Into Reading! My July wrap up and stats!

I’ve had a big dip in my reading lately. Life came up on me and so reading had to take a back seat, but by the end of the month I seem to have gotten back into my stride. Despite that, I did “only” manage 7 books (I was averaging around 13 books before, 7 books is still a great number!).

I read 2410 pages this month, with 18 hours of audiobook listening. Which is the most I’ve done in any month so far. Despite that, I read mostly physical books, 6 in fact. With only the 1 audiobook (The Fellowship of the Ring). And surprising nobody, 4 out of the 7 books were fantasy!

I started out the month by reading Pompeii by Salvatore Nappo. This is a guide book to Pompeii that was published in 1998 and gifted to my family then. None of us ever got around to reading it, and seeing as I was in Pompeii last month now seemed like a good time! Despite it being a little old the information in here was still mostly accurate (what’s been excavated being the most inaccurate – obviously) and super interesting.

Then I finished Rivers of London by Ben Arronovitch and I couldn’t stop thinking about this book after I finished it! A Met Police PC discovers the occult and supernatural and ends up joining the department of the Met that deals with magical crimes. I did have a few issues with this book, but honestly I can’t get it out of my head and I’m definitely carrying on with the series.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen was my next read. This is my fourth book by her (if you include Lady Susan) and yet again I really enjoyed it! I like how it played on the gothic tropes and made fun of them a little whilst also advocating for reading and having some great quotes. I don’t know why I like her books so much, because I wouldn’t think of picking them up if they were contemporary now. But I’m not complaining!

A translated piece of fiction from Japan, The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa made me sob. Honestly my face was not fit for public consumption. Christ. I was red as a tomato and sniffling like a child who just finished throwing a tantrum. This book is so beautiful, and so heartwrenching. I don’t want to tell you much, because it’s learning about the events themselves that give the impact of the book. But the general plot is that it’s a road trip across Japan with this man and his cat, as he tries to find a new home for the cat. 5 stars!

Goldsboro did it once again with their amazing GSFF box pick, Ordinary Monsters by J.M. Miro. Think Peculiar Children but for adults. The magic system in here was amazing, I loved the conversation about taking children from their homes and their loved ones. I loved each and every side plot in here and wish that we could have them all fleshed out. It was just an amazing experience and this is another 5 star read for me. Read it.

Unfortunately, my next book wasn’t so great, and that’s Book of Night by Holly Black. This was the Illumicrate book for last month, but because I wasn’t reading this month’s book (cause it’s racist) I thought I’d catch up on my missed reading from my holidays with this one. It’s fine? The magic is interesting but I just couldn’t get along with Black’s writing style. And given this is supposed to be an adult title it felt incredibly YA.

Luckily my final book puts things on an upspin with The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein finally being on my read shelves! I listened to this via audiobook, which was a fantastic experience, and I’m so mad that I didn’t pick these books up sooner! I need to read the next two! I’m so glad Lizzie is hosting the MiddleEarthAThon to kick me into gear to read these!

And those are my reads! I seem to be getting back into my books now, fingers crossed (touch wood, and every other superstition available), and I’m looking forward to all the new stories I can get to next month! If you’d like to see how my balancing of the books went in July? Well you’ll have to subscribe to my BookTube channel so you get notified when that video comes out! (soon!)

What’s your favourite read of July? Mine has to be a tie between The Travelling Cat Chronicles, and Ordinary Monsters!