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Mondays With Merlin: Literary Lions and Library Cats

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

Welcome to this week’s Mondays With Merlin, the 21.5-year-old wizard cat blogs about Literary Lions and Library Cats.


“Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.”
Man Ray

Personally, as a curious cat, I thrive on information but agree with Man Ray about preferring inspiration. Ideally, information not only informs but inspires. That’s why I blog.

We are mad about books here and equally passionate about libraries. Did you know the term “literary lions” for a famous or noted author is based on stone lions? Patience and Fortitude are the famous lions have graced the steps of the New York Public Library since 1911. Layla has walked by them countless times and can you believe she has never stepped inside the library until last week?


The stunning Beaux-Arts museum-like building blew her mind. She planned to blog on about what happened athe library (with photo evidence) at her other blog Boomer Muse but she erased everything off her memory card thinking everything was uploaded in the cloud. Talk about having her head in the clouds. Darn, and there were some good shots.

The New York Public Library functions as a regular, albeit lavish library but with special reference and research rooms for scholars, regular art and book-related exhibits and author talk with well-known writers. All for free. I’ll bet one of my whiskers, Layla will dash inside the next time she heads to the city.

New York Public Library Lion (side entrance).



Classic kid’s books at the New York Library.

Dr. Seuss, a literary lion who died in 1991 has a posthumously published and current New York Times best-seller What Pet Should I Get a funny study about indecision. Written sometime between 1958 and 1962, the manuscript was stored with some other sketches and unfinished projects in a box and not discovered until 2014. It’s a treasure and instant classic.

Thank-you to everyone who participated in our survey about us continuing to write book reviews. The unanimous 95% vote was yes, and it was split down the middle whether I, Merlin wrote the reviews or a mix of writers including Layla. Given the overwhelming response, we will continue to review books but not as frequently. We began reviewing books five years ago every Sunday and gradually tapered down.

The survey results suggest reviews once or twice a month as the sweet spot. Publishers send more books than I could review in nine lives, so we may feature more than one book at a time. Since we’re moving towards a more streamlined editorial calendar, we may post reviews on Mondays.

“There are no facts, only interpretations.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche


There is value in almost any kind of reading if it engages the mind. Okay, maybe not torture porn or cereal boxes but you get my drift. Naturally, I lean towards cat books and I’m currently reading a nifty true story about two library cats The True Tales Of Baker and Taylor to be published on May 3, 2016. One of the perks of reviewing book are receiving ARCs or advance reader copies from the publisher, or uncorrected proofs often months in advance of being published.


We’re big library fans in this house and loved Dewey The Library Cat. When the massive best-seller was published in 2007, fans couldn’t get enough of Dewey. Several sequels and a children’s book later, the market was ripe for another library-themed cat book. Enter: The True Tails of Baker and Taylor: The Library Cats Who Left Their Pawprints on a Small Town . . . And the World by Jan Louch with Lisa Rogak. I confess to having sat on Ms. Rogak’s latest book Cats On The Job published earlier this year without reviewing it. It was a fun book profiling 50 working cats. Well, to be honest, I’m a cat with a job and could have done a more insightful job. There’s a big difference when a subject is tackled as a journalist and not one immersed 24/7 in cat culture like us. Ms. Rogak is a seasoned journalist but the working cat profiles felt rushed and lacked a certain je ne sais quois.

The new library cat book is a completely different animal and more compelling perhaps because it’s co-authored with Jan Louch, a retired librarian who cared for the world-famous Scottish Folds. Not only will the book change your mind about librarians but Baker and Taylor demonstrate the powerful ability to connect with, heal and teach humans. What surprised me was these adorable library cats preceded Dewey. Dewey was born in 1988 and Baker and Taylor were born in 1981. I can’t help thinking why Ms. Louch didn’t get her story out sooner but I’m glad she finally did. It’s a good one. These cats paved the way for the current wave of celebrity cats and ahead of the curve for super popular Scottish Fold breed. Had social media been invented at the height of their fame, they may have knocked Grumpy Cat off her primo perch. If you’re middle-aged and bookish, it’ll bathe you in comforting nostalgia.

There are bonus profiles of other library cats and there are suggestions on how to get a library cat for your community. I’ll second that and give 4 Paws way up for The True Tales of Baker and Taylor. Go read. Go to a library. Go literary Lions and library cats everywhere!

And I think I just did a review. Whew, I’d say I earned a cat nap.

See you next Monday and if you want my furry wisdom delivered to your inbox, SUBSCRIBE.

Peace, love and existential purrs,



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