Published: April 2017
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
A stylish, illustrated gift book from an award-winning artist that profiles
notable cat-loving men throughout history in words and pictures.
Of Cats and Men presents a fresh approach to cat entertainment that’s smart,
sweet, and driven by beautiful art (instead of tacky photography, as many cat
books are). Appealing to both men and women, the “cat men” approach is a fun
twist on the “cat lady” stereotype and makes for a highly giftable book. The 30
men profiled range from writers and artists such as Haruki Murakami, T.S. Eliot,
William S. Burroughs, and Ai Weiwei, to historical luminaries such as Sir Winston
Churchill, Nikola Tesla, and Sir Issac Newton. In addition to the portraits, the book
features beautifully hand-lettered quotes about cats by some of the men,
including Twain’s “When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without
Rating: 4 Stars
For anyone that considers themselves a cat person, this book will introduce to fellows in your company: men throughout history that loved and love cats across a spectrum of disciplines. Artists and musicians, dancers and writers, and more, each with at least that one common trait: a love of cats.
Starting back in the tenth century with King Hywel the Good (who introduced laws to protect domestic cats around 920 A.D.) and concluding with Ai Weiwei (an activist who frequently has cats in his pieces), this book covers quite a lot of people that I both knew to be cat people, like Ernest Hemingway, and others that I had not heard of before or didn’t realize were fellow cat lovers. Each one page mini-essay gives the reader a brief glimpse into the life of the subject, as well as why they’re a cat person.
It’s interesting to see how these beautiful creatures touched the lives of so many people. There are people covered by the book that might have a darker side, or at least a more controversial side if their personal history was delved into, but that isn’t covered in this book. It is their connection to feline kind that is examined with maybe a hint at more unsavory topics.
Sam Kalda’s artistic renderings of the men he talked about within this book seemed to be relatively accurate, insofar as I recognized the men that I knew previously and was able to see the likeness of those that’d I’d at least heard of albeit never seen. There was a newspaper comic quality to them that I liked because they were neither too serious nor too silly. The colors as well were a mellow blend that complimented each subject.
Men are usually associated with dogs (man’s best friend, etc.) and I liked that this collection took a look those men in history that preferred cats. I would like to see a future collection of Cat Women, because while it may be a stereotype (crazy cat lady, etc.) that’s not necessarily a bad thing in this instance. I think personally that man, or woman, can appreciate felines in their emotional depth, their hilarity, their companionship, and all that they do for us humans.
I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review.