What We Are Reading Today: The Cat: A Natural and Cultural History by Sarah Brown

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Updated 27 March 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Cat: A Natural and Cultural History by Sarah Brown

Of all the domesticated species, cats have enjoyed the most complex relationship with people — one that still leads to arguments about whether you can truly call the cat asleep by your fire “tame.” 

The Cat is a comprehensive, richly illustrated exploration of the natural and cultural history of this much-loved pet. 

Chapters on Evolution & Development, Anatomy & Biology, Society & Behavior, and Cats & Humans take different angles on matters feline, offering rich information and insights about kitten development, the hierarchy of cats, how cats think, communication between cats and people, historic and extinct breeds, the challenges facing cats today and how we can help, and much, much more. 

The book also features a visually stunning photographic directory of more than forty popular breeds, with essential information about each. Filled with surprising facts, The Cat will enchant anyone with an interest in, or a love for, these animals.


What We Are Reading Today: Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

Updated 28 November 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

This is a harrowing and intricate nonfiction account of an all-American family of 12 (10 boys and two girls) born between 1945 and 1965. 

Bestselling and award-winning author Robert Kolker presents an interesting story about this large Colorado family plagued by schizophrenia. 

He also explores some of the research that has been done on this fairly common but devastating mental illness that affects one in one hundred people.

With clarity and compassion, Kolker uncovers one family’s unforgettable legacy of suffering, love, and hope. 

“Meticulous research combined with unbiased treatment of the facts leads to a very devastating true story like no other,” said a review in goodreads.com. “It is written clearly and gives a broad picture of ways to define and cure a disease which terrifies us.” 

“For a family, schizophrenia is, primarily, a felt experience, as if the foundation of the family is permanently tilted,” Kolker writes. 

His is a feat of narrative journalism but also a study in empathy; he unspools the stories with enormous compassion while tracing the scientific advances in treating the illness.