Hazel’s Book Club: “The True Tails of Baker and Taylor” by Jan Louch, with Lisa Rogak

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Books and cats: that’s a winning combination!

What a sweet joy it is to curl up with a snuggly kitty (or if you are a kitty, like me, to curl up with a warm hooman) and read, connecting with thoughtful writers across space and time from the comfort of your favorite reading spot.

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If you love books, kitties, or both (and especially together), you will adore The True Tails of Baker and Taylor, the now-retired Jan Louch’s memoir about her life as an assistant librarian in a library with the famous eponymous kitty cats.

Photo Courtesy of Me

In 1983, at the new Douglas County Library in Minden, Nevada, Jan and a co-worker solved the facility’s rodent problem by hiring a pair of Scottish Folds, named for each of the names in the book distribution company, Baker & Taylor.

The cats not only ate lots of nummy mice, but they were also kitties! Visitors loved coming to pet the kitties and watch them do funny cat things, like catching Taylor in his Buddha pose, presumably meditating.

When the cats were photographed as the literal poster children for Baker & Taylor, the library turned into a popular tourist destination, and the Folds became pre-internet feline superstars!

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A lovely tail in a cozy setting, the book also captures the fascinating ability of cats to facilitate hooman communities, a phenomenon not originated, but certainly amplified by 21st century technology such as blogging about your cat or blogging about being a cat.

The story represents a nostalgic slice of offline life. However, even though the internet has considerably changed the way communities form around information and cat appreciation, readers can still recognize the innovation of combining the two in a physical space in an era before they could be combined digitally.

Such spaces can and do still exist today, combining not only books and cats, but cats and other things cat fanciers might like. Cat Cafes, for example, are starting to pop up all over the world. They’re a great way to provide cats a home while also offering an opportunity for hoomans to prepare for the financial and emotional commitment of finding a cat to adopt you.

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So enjoy this book as you would enjoy listening to anyone talk about cats, but I’d also encourage you to think about the timeless power of cats as a CATalyst (pun intended) for inter-specific community.

 

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