A Satisfying Short Book

Those eyes drew me in.

One book that I finished a while ago, which really sticks in my memory, is about a Japanese guy who was visited by a charming cat. I know what you are thinking – ‘What?!’

This sweet little book attracted me as it sat on a Waterstones book shelf and I don’t know why, but for some reason the picture of the feline on the front got me intrigued enough to buy it. Being a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller also made it very tempting indeed.

The Guest Cat

A writer who had rented a room in a wealthy Japanese family’s garden apartment, pieced together a series of events in the lives of him and his wife where they both came into contact with a beautiful and very friendly cat.

Originally written as a series of essays, Takashi Hiraide fused them together into a small novella consisting of short chapters. The narrative is wonderfully written in a unique style that I have never witnessed before.

Over time, the guest cat became a lucky emblem for them. Chibi, the cat, was a regular visitor, consuming the food they left for him and entertaining them warmly. While this is a very sweet book, do not expect a thrilling mystery or complex drama. There is something soothing about the normality of it all.

Chibi somehow inspired both the man and his wife and became a massive part of their lives. A sad turn of events later put that relationship into question.

This is the first time I have read a book based in Japan and written in translation. It was brilliantly framed and totally absorbing. I can honestly say that I have never read anything quite so exquisitely unique.

Thank you for taking the time to read my brief book review. Here is another recent review of Exciting Times. Please consider following my blog for similar content about books and the environment.

Writing Books – My Extract

It has been a while since I shared any snippets of my work and so today I felt like including a fresh one for you to peruse. My blog celebrates books and is also a place for me to occasionally include my own writing. This sample is from my novella, ‘The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost.’

When we got there, the funeral car was already driving into the car park and I could see a waiting crowd just outside the door of this historic church. Only slightly delayed after picking up Mrs Bellamy from town, we straightened ourselves out and Sam clutched firmly to my hand as we made our way over to the entrance. We could see Matt sat with his wife and son about halfway down the packed-out hall. Mrs Bellamy had to be close to the front because she was giving a speech. She had asked us to come with her as they had apparently saved us some seats. It was uncomfortable to see Alex stood right in front of me, chatting to the vicar, probably finalising the running order. He looked calm but shattered, pretty much a fragment of his former self.


Sam was directly behind Alfie and when they spotted each other, Alfie extended his hand and shook it, thanking him for coming. It was good to see that they had no hard feelings after the assembly debacle. Usually with boys, any tiffs were soon forgotten and in this case the situation seemed to bring them closer together. I knew that Sam had been keeping in touch with both Alfie and Max on a daily basis.


Before long, the tension increased and the voices lowered. A sad organ sound emitted music that was heart-wrenching and immediately brought tears to my eyes. Sam lowered his head in grief and I could see him touch Alfie on the shoulder tenderly to remind him that he was there for him. My heart broke as I saw Alex return carrying the coffin, with Michelle’s brother the other side and her father following on at the back. What a horrible thing for anyone to have to deal with, burying his own flesh and blood. Glancing over my shoulder I could tell that Max wasn’t handling it very well and he was being comforted by a very sombre looking Matt, shaved of all of his usual hotness, dissolved into a humble guy, respectfully commemorating the life of a family friend. I felt even more admiration for him at this most inappropriate of moments. I turned back and gave Sam a close hug and then we started to sing the first hymn.


I could hear Max crying now quite loudly, even as Alfie stayed calm and seemed to be internalising his pain. Footsteps told me that Max had run off and Sam flew past me to go and find him. Following on, I was soon stood in a windy graveyard with my boy leaning over his friend, trying to console him. Behind me a voice reached out to me. We were enough of a distance away from the boys so as not to be heard.

Thank you for checking out my sample. I hope that it intrigued some of you to consider reading the whole book. Either way, I have plenty of articles related to writing and reading on my blog. For example, Being Watched – My upcoming Novel.

Why Is Reading Important?

Some people look at me as if I am bonkers for spending my free time reading. Whether they think I have nothing better to do or am just a geeky bookworm (which I am) they put forward the case that reading is quite demanding, almost like doing actual work. This article discusses the reasons why I believe that reading is very important.

Reading Matters

Any kind of reading is useful. Reading doesn’t just have to be working through a thousand page nineteenth century novel. It can be anything from researching holiday destinations to reading a celebrity biography. Reading comics, adverts, instructions, recipes, leaflets, blogs, journals and so many other types of text is all beneficial for your brain.

Practising the art of reading is good for your brain as it keeps your language awareness fresh and focuses your mind. Learning and reading go hand in hand, from taking on board a new DIY skill to getting enough vocabulary to be able to have a conversation while on holiday.

Fiction Is Satisfying

Although I just outlined a lot of non-fiction texts that you may enjoy, I cannot shout loudly enough about how wonderful fiction can be. I went through a period of not reading much in my teenage years and while at Uni but as soon as I started to reintroduce reading for pleasure back into my life I realised just how much I had missed it. Now I have a massive TBR pile of stories that I cannot wait to become invested in.

We all remember being read to by our parents or when we were at school. Most of my friends agree that being immersed collectively in a good story is a magical thing. Teachers are brilliant at putting on character voices and discussing the issues in a story as turning points come up. My love of stories definitely stems from being read to as a child.

Reading fiction opens up other worlds and builds your imagination. Creative people get a lot of inspiration from reading widely. It also helps to develop your own literacy and increase your vocabulary which comes in handy when writing reports, letters, persuasive texts and in everyday life. Reading becomes satisfying when you discover great writing talents and allow yourself to get lost in literacy.

Today I just wanted to start a conversation about how important reading is. Please comment your own thoughts on this below. Here is a previous feature that I wrote about reading. If you enjoyed this post, perhaps consider following my blog for similar content.