Tag Archives: Karen’s Pick

Of Cats and Mice

Jo Ellen Bogart, illustrated by Sydney SmithSo this is a roundup of various picture books featuring cats (and some mice) that I loved and therefore want to share with everyone because of the joy of reading children’s literature as an adult. (See LitHub for a review of Wild Things also.)

First on the list is The White Cat and the Monk, which has been on my to-read list for a while. It recently made its way back into my periphery and so I decided to finally scratch one title off that ever-growing list and bring it home.

The White Cat and the Monk is one of many retellings of a poem titled Pangur Bán, penned anonymously sometime in the 9th c. in Old Irish. It’s a meditation on the relationship between the white cat and the scholar monk and how their daily activities parallel each other despite being so disparate.

My first exposure to the book was through a review on BrainPickings, which made me want to pick it up immediately, what with the sumptuous illustrations and glowing review (and of course, let’s not kid ourselves: the cat), and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The pace is slow, but in a measured way, such that even though by the end of the poem we haven’t strayed far from the room in which the monk resides, the reader is still left with a sense of accomplishment. Not much that is tangible has been completed perhaps, but there is a sense that something has been accomplished, and that we now in a sense have a greater understanding of the world at large.

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Once a Shepherd

Glenda Millard, illustrated by Phil Lesnie

Once there sang a carefree shepherd

in a field of emerald green.

He lullabied his cloud-white lambs

and gentlied off their fleece.

Once Tom’s world was all at peace.

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Poetry of the Apocalypse at the TIFF

Arkady & Boris StrugatskyCalling all Tarkovsky fans! (And anyone interested in examining their innermost desires and exploring what it is to be human. Also sci-fi fans.) TIFF is currently holding a series on the films of Andrei Tarkovsky called The Poetry of Apocalypse: The Films of Andrei Tarkovsky, the schedule for which you can view here! And seeing as I’ve only seen the one film by Tarkovsky, I’m going to talk a bit about Stalker and touch lightly upon the novel that served as its inspiration: Roadside Picnic by Boris & Arkady Strugatsky.

You can check out the screenings for Stalker at the TIFF here, and they actually have a special event on Tuesday November 14th (tomorrow) where guest speaker Robert Bird talks about Tarkovksy and his influence on Soviet films.

Now, onto the film. This felt more like a foray into the heart, where each member of the group must confront their own desires and the reality of what, or who, they are before they are able to reach their destination: the area of the Zone where, people say, your deepest desire will come true. But do we really know what it is that lurks within the depths of our hearts?

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