Calling All Cat People!

chiChi’s Sweet Home by Konami Kanata and translated by Ed Chavez, is the pawsitively charming story of a kitten who gets distracted when on a walk with his mother and siblings and ends up lost. It’s a big and “fwightening” world for such a little creature, full of barking dogs, roaring cars and wide open spaces.

Distraught and lonely, Chi breaks down sobbing in a large urban park. Luckily, Yohei Yamada and his mother stumble upon the poor kitten and take her home, despite the fact that pets aren’t allowed in their apartment.

And that’s when the fun adventures begin! The Yamadas must keep Chi’s presence a secret from their nosey neighbors, while satisfying the kitten’s needs for affection, food and play. I was particularly amused at the story of how Chi ended up with her name. You’ll have to read this to find out.

As much as I wanted to highlight a book in translation, the words are not the star in this book. In fact, I didn’t particularly like the baby talk used to represent the kitten’s first impressions upon her new environment, but I have to concede that it was an appropriate choice. Chi is a baby, after all!IMG_3584

What really shines are Kanata Konami’s brilliant illustrations that express the unbounded curiosity and playfulness of her subject. The kitten’s sweet “purrsonality” shines through each and every panel. If you are as enthralled with cats as I am, I guarantee you will adore this book.

Konami Kanata (jp. こなみ かなた, Kanata Konami; born 3 July 1958, Nagano) is a Japanese cartoonist best known for her cat characters Chi’s Sweet Home.
Her works revolves around the daily life of house cats.


Need a Good Laugh?

broshreview01To be honest, I was skeptical about Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. It was an internet phenomenon. Hordes of people LOVED it, but hordes of people love other questionable things like D*n@ld Tr^mp, NASCAR, and lima beans.

In spite of that, I picked up a copy because I was determined to finish my local library’s summer reading challenge, part of which required me to read a book that would make me laugh out loud.

Mission accomplished.

If you’re unfamiliar with the book, then let me boil it down for you. It contains  self-deprecating but insightful stories  about Ms. Brosh’s experiences. They’re accompanied by some charmingly primitive drawings, kind of like my feeble attempts here.

I carried this everywhere for a few days. I read it on breaks at work. I read it while commuting to and from the office on the bus. I read it in coffee shops and while standing in lines. It literally made me laugh out loud and caused strangers to stare.

My favorite pieces were the stories about her single-minded pursuit of a birthday cake and an epic battle with a goose. I also appreciated her funny tales about her goofy dogs.

broshreview03Hyperbole isn’t just a funny book. It addresses some heavy topics in a sensitive fashion too. Anyone who has experienced clinical depression will relate to the two stories about Ms. Brosh’s own struggles. If you care about someone with depression, but can’t quite fathom what they’re going through, this is the first thing I’d recommend you’d read.

I adore this book. I’m going to leave it out on the coffee table to tempt my kids and visitors. Maybe even the cat will be interested in it, since it contains insider info on her sworn enemies: dogs.

If you haven’t already cracked the spine of this book, you really are missing out. It’s sublime.