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My Cat Reviews Books

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Emily Polson

Staff Writer

Emily Polson is a freelance writer and publishing assistant at Simon & Schuster. Originally from central Iowa, she studied English and creative writing at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi, before moving to a small Basque village to teach English to trilingual teenagers. Now living in Brooklyn, she can often be found meandering through Prospect Park listening to a good audiobook. Twitter: @emilycpolson |

My cat reviews books all the time in the privacy of our home, but we recently decided it was time she shared her opinions with the world. Her name is Sylvia, and while I can’t claim she was named after Sylvia Plath (my little sister christened her), she turned out to have a feline version of the poet’s personality. My cat Sylvia is an introspective, troubled old soul with a refined literary taste. She knows what she likes and what she doesn’t. Take, for example, her thoughts on House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski:

My cat reviews books like House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Too pretentious, and also way too much flipping back and forth to appendices for her little paws. DNF’d.

Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun

My cat reviews Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun

Jomny Sun is quite the opposite: a good and precious graphic novel about finding friendship and meaning in a strange world. I’m a aliebn. Ur a aliebn. Please don’t take it back to the library.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

My cat reviews Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Come back from Neverland right now and pet me. You are Peter, that book is Wendy, and I am Tinker Bell.

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

My cat reviews Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Too much roadkill. That guy definitely ran over the turtle on purpose.

Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama

My cat reviews Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama

As it is with most cats, Sylvia’s father was absent from her life, just like Obama’s was from his, so she could empathize with that element of his memoir. (She was also born into an Obama presidency, so this was a nostalgic read for her.)

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond

My cat reviews If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond

The Obama book made both of us nostalgic for times gone by, so we headed over to the shelf of picture books to relive our younger days. This just made her grumpy, though, because admittedly I have never taken her to the movies.

Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002 by David Sedaris

My cat reviews Theft by Finding by David Sedaris

Finally, someone who gets my dry sense of humor and appreciation for the seemingly mundane elements of daily life. Also, I saw what you did with the Jomny Sun book—don’t take this one back to the library, too.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

My cat reviews Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Just a few pages in and it’s already depressing—tell me again why we voluntarily read dystopian lit?

Little Critter: Just a Snowy Day by Mercer Mayer

My cat reviews Just a Snowy Day by Mercer Mayer

We both needed something sweet and carefree after that last book.

Revolutionary Petunias: And Other Poems by Alice Walker

My cat reviews Revolutionary Petunias by Alice Walker

“I must love the questions / themselves,” like why you close your bedroom door at night so I can’t wake you up begging for attention at 3:00 am.

My cat reads and annotates Alice Walker poetry

Hang on gonna underline that.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

My cat reviews The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I personally love playing in your clutter, but as long as you don’t get rid of any of my favorite things you can tidy up I guess. (More thoughts on decluttering.)

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

My cat reviews Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

I thought this was just another lighthearted celebrity memoir, but it’s actually ripping my heart out.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

My cat reviews I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Oh, I just want Noah and Jude to be happy, and I’ll give both of them the sun if they just start talking to each other again!

My cat reads I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Don’t interrupt. This whole book is an emotional roller coaster.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

My cat reviews Relish by Lucy Knisley

A whole graphic novel about food? Now I’m hungry.

Calling a Wolf a Wolf: Poems by Kaveh Akbar

My cat reviews Calling a Wolf a Wolf by Kaveh Akbar

She’s been getting back in touch with her inner poet through the work of Kaveh Akbar. He’s helping her break through her cynicism and rediscover a kitten-like sense of wonder about the world.


My cat reviews Free Agent Nation by Daniel H. Pink

When I decided to start freelancing, Sylvia was thrilled at the idea of me working from home.

My cat supervises me as I do my freelance work

This photo captures the exact moment she realized this meant she could sit on my lap not just when I was reading, but also when I was working. She became my self-appointed supervisor. (This post is Sylvia-approved.)


My cat reviews Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

Alas, the switch to freelancing was in preparation for a move from the Midwest to the Big Apple. The last book we read together was Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion. Here’s what Sylvia had to say as we finished it: This last essay is about Didion deciding to leave New York—tell me again why you’re moving there on purpose

Reading books with my cat

I was lucky to live with a feline friend who’s as opinionated about books as I am. We miss each other already.

Enjoyed this post? Check out more pictures of cute animals reading books!