Tuesday, 20 October 2009

I Am a Cat Read-along


I am joining in Tanabata's first Japanese literature read-along over the coming months. We will be reading the three volumes of I Am a Cat by Soseki Natsume, one volume a month. This is a book that I've been wanting to read for the last couple of years and was intending to read it anyway for Bellezza's Japanese Literature Challenge so this is the perfect read-along for me join in.

The synopsis: Cat lovers will delight in the thoughts of a cat whose particular joy in life is commenting on the folly of human beings. Based on a nameless cat's observations of upper-middle-class Japanese society of the Meiji era, the essence of I AM A CAT is its humour and sardonic truths. Written over the course of 1904-06, this book is full of acerbic wit as it follows the whimsical adventures of a world-weary stray kitten.

For anyone who wishes to join in or wants to follow my progress, the schedule is:

Volume One by November 15th, 2009
Volume Two by December 15th, 2009
Volume Three by January 15th, 2010

These are the corresponding page numbers in the Tuttle Classics edition: Volume One (p. 3 - 156), Volume Two (p. 159 - 355), Volume Three (p.359 - 638).

Do you like the bookmark I am using? This was handmade and sent to me a few months ago by the lovely Nymeth. She knew I was a cat-lover and it is the perfect bookmark, of course, to use for this book!


29 comments:

farmlanebooks said...

I was very tempted by this one, but I think I have enough read alongs at the moment - I really need to finish Genji first.

I'll be interested to hear if you like it though.

Paperback Reader said...

I have allowed Ulysses to fall by the wayside but this one should be a read-along that I will remain committed to, especially as it is only over three months.

I hope I do like it; I've been wanting to read it for sometime.

verity said...

What a wonderful bookmark.

It looks like an interesting book, although I'm not hugely into cats but it sounds like it will give you an insight into Japanese history.

I shan't read along but I shall follow your readalong.

Paperback Reader said...

I am cat-mad (have you seen my facebook links?!) This is a book that I think will be perfect for me and I hope it lives up to my expectations. I think it will provide an interesting insight into the Meiji era, culturally as well as historically.

Sophie said...

Wow, this sounds fantastic! I ADORE cats (have always admired your blog profile picture, hehe) and this sounds like a great read. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get my act together in time to join in (although I might try), but I'll definitely have to get hold of this!

Paperback Reader said...

Sophie, have you read "The Cat" (Le Chat) by Colette? It's a fantastic novella. I am really looking forward to reading I Am a Cat and hope I have good things to report as I go along.

(Isn't my avatar cute?! I should really try and take a photo of my own cat with a book).

novelinsights said...

Indeed I do like your bookmark very much. I want to read this but am a bit of a cheapskate and am waiting to see it at a bargain price somewhere.

Paperback Reader said...

Polly, it's so cute. The book is pricey; I remember first coming across it in a Waterstone's in Manchester three years ago and later buying it online at a discounted price.

Diane said...

I SHOULD join in on this as I own the book, and I've needed some motivation in getting to it. I'll be back.

Paperback Reader said...

Diane, consider this your motivation!

JoAnn said...

I'm more of a dog person, but I do love that bookmark! Enjoy the read-along.

Paperback Reader said...

JoAnn, I love dogs too but over the last few years I have definitely grown more attached to cats.

Darlene said...

Who wouldn't want to know what their pets are thinking? Sounds like an entertaining read and LOVE the bookmark! Talented young lady that made it...I just can't pronounce her name!

Darlene said...

Actually, it's not that I can't pronounce it...I'm not sure HOW it's pronounced.

Paperback Reader said...

I would love an insight into the thoughts of cats and imagine I am going to greatly enjoy a fictionalised account.

I pronounce Nymeth, nimeth, but you can watch the vlog on her post from Sunday which has her lovely accent pronouncing it and her real name, Ana.

mel u said...

I really hope to join in this read along also-I love the title

dolcebellezza said...

Ever since becoming a recent cat-lover-convert (I adore my kitty, Minou, who's no longer a kitty but a Fat Ass), I've wanted to read this book. Your book mark makes it all the more pleasurable; what fun that the two coincide! I don't know if I'll be able to join in; I'm thinking about it if I can only say no to review copies which are taking an inordinate amount of time. (I'm not able to read as fast, obviously, as the rest of the book blogging world who finishes their ARC's in 2 minutes. ;)

Karen said...

I am a big cat lover too and I would definitely be interested in being a part of this read-along if I can track down a copy of the book in time.

Paperback Reader said...

Mel, it is a fabulous title. I hope you can join in.

Bellezza, I'm attempting to curb the amount of books I receive for the next few months to allow me to catch up a little with what I already have and allow more freedom in my reading choices.

Karen, hopefully you'll be able to find a copy!

Sophie said...

No, I haven't read Le Chat, but it has been one I've been meaning to get around to for ages. I think I have it lying around somewhere at home so I must dig it out next time I'm back from Oxford.

Paperback Reader said...

Oh do, as it's wonderful. Mine is in the same volume as "Gigi".

Nymeth said...

Seeing the bookmark there made me smile :D As I was telling tanabata, my ban won't allow me to join the read-along, but I'd definitely like to read this some day. And I look forward to reading everyone's thoughts.

(PS to Darlene: I say "neemeth" in my head, but there's really no correct pronunciation - it's a made up character name from an embarrassing fantasy novel I wrote in my teens :P )

Paperback Reader said...

Using the bookmark makes me smile, Ana! I hope we all enjoy it and that you read it when you can. Also, good to know about the pronunciation although in my head I still say "nimeth"!

anothercookiecrumbles said...

I won't be joining in the readalong, but this book has caught my eye a couple of times. Unfortunately, I'm not really a cat-lover.....

Hope you enjoy the readalong...

Paperback Reader said...

another cookie, it's quite impressive that the book has caught your eye even when you are not a cat lover.

I should really make a start, although I have over three weeks until the first discussion.

Mark David said...

Wow, what a fitting bookmark for a pretty looking book :)

I still don't have a copy :( But I really intend to get one before the read-along begins.

Paperback Reader said...

I hope that both you and Claire receive your copies in time, Mark, as I'd love to read-along with you both.

tanabata said...

The bookmark is perfect! I'm going to have to scrounge through my bookmark box to see if I can't find a cat one too. :)

Paperback Reader said...

Hee, it amuses me how excited we all are over bookmarks! I never match up my bookmarks to books but this one was a must.