Greetings and welcome to the You Cat Take It With You Edition of You Are What You Read.
Many of you have asked me how the Underpass is. I am here to tell you the word disgrace is still in play. Currently, in addition to the filth strewn sidewalk, we now have half a dead pigeon and a giant Hefty Bag of what I hope is just garden variety trash and not the leftovers from some mob hit. This is has been your State of the Underpass message for August 25, 2017.
While the nation was gripped by Lottery Fever, and/or Eclipse Lunacy, you may have missed the following news story. Ellen Frey-Wouters was a rather wealthy woman living in the Bronx. Note the use of the word was. Yes, Ellen has gone to that great big home in the sky. But before she left, she drew up her will and $300,000 of her 3 million dollar fortune has been left to Troy and Tiger.
Ok Jen. That’s nice. Who are Troy and Tiger?
People! They aren’t People. They are cats.
That’s right. Ellen left a substantial chunk of change to two felines who she considered to be her “babies”. Her lawyer was shocked when she first mentioned this bequest and tried to talk her down to a less generous amount but she would not be swayed. She wanted to make sure that they would never be caged and would live out their remaining years as they would have with her.
The rest of the estate was given to her former health care workers, and the aforementioned lawyer.
The cats have been separated and are now living with two of her aides. Tiger is especially blessed, when you consider that he was an adopted alley cat.
“He deserves it,” said Dahlia Grizzle, the former home health aide to the late Ellen Frey-Wouters, and now Tiger’s caretaker. “He’s a wonderful cat.”
Dahlia Grizzle is an amazing name.
And what happens when the cats go to join their former owner? The money goes to Mrs. Frey-Wouter’s sister in the Netherlands. Which sort of makes you wonder just what happened there, doesn’t it?
Kaitlin from the Rock is here. Rejoicing shall now commence. “Hiiii! This week, I glanced through the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo, and ended up checking it out to take home. I have been on a mission to REALLY clean up my apartment for months (years?), and it just seems like whenever I go on a cleaning spree, it is right back to being a mess. Just a quick glance through this book had me hooked. Kondo's main advice when it comes to decluttering is to keep only the things that ‘spark joy’, don't think of decluttering in terms of what you want to get rid of, but instead about what things you want to keep. She also recommends tidying up by category, rather than by room--aka the KonMari Method. Why? Well, if you're in my apartment, you can find things like Scotch tape either in the desk drawer in the office, or on that shelf in the kitchen, or in one of those baskets in the coffee table. Kondo's theory is that organizing by category of "stuff" helps to really clean out and eliminate the clutter. I haven't actually started the process yet, but I am VERY excited to take the plunge and get rid of the clutter once and for all!”
The Always Fabulous Babs B has just finished the rather controversial Mrs. Fletcher, by Tom Perrott. “In Mrs. Fletcher, Eve Fletcher and her college freshman son Brendan are both struggling with identity problems. Eve has been divorced for 6 years when she receives a sexually explicit message in her email and falls down a rabbit hole of pornography. Eve signs up for a night class at the community college which is taught by Margot, a transgender woman who used to be Mark, a college basketball star, so sex and identity is explored in this intriguing novel. Mrs. Fletcher is a provocative witty look at contemporary sexual politics and timeless moral dilemmas. I thought it was a hoot!”
VA the Tall Cool Texan has been raving about this book to anyone who will listen.” Have you ever read a book that was so funny that you actually laughed so loud that people stared at you? Well, that happened to me while reading the hilarious essay collection, We Are Never Meeting In Real Life, by Samantha Irby. Now, I give you warning, this book isn’t for the faint-hearted. It is caustic, sometimes profane, and so brutally candid about love, life, food, body image and of course reality television that I was torn between laughter and tears throughout the entire book. One final note…BEST BOOK COVER EVER!”
J-Rae the Coolest is also excited this week. “Ever since author Jennifer Finney Boylan visited my college's creative writing department I have been obsessed with all things Boylan. As a person she's wise, charming, and quite literally, one of the funniest people I have spoken to. Naturally I had to pick up her most recent work of fiction, Long Black Veil, which dazzled my sensibilities. It all starts when five recent graduates tour an abandoned prison downtown Philadelphia in the 1970's where something happens that will alter the course of their lives forever. Boylan brings us to present day where the now 50-something-year-olds are still trying to forget what happened and move on with their lives...but some wounds never really close. It is a book of friendship tested to its limits, the atomic weight of secret keeping, and how love can penetrate even the darkest of prison cells. I read it in two days, I wish I could read it for the first time again.”
Sweet Ann is reporting in on One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline. “When I began this novel I thought it was going to be an interesting read but nothing too exciting, thankfully I kept reading. The novel opens with the engaging Chris applying for a high school teaching and baseball coaching job in a small town in Pennsylvania. From the beginning, you know that Chris is not who he says he is. When he is hired, he begins his search for the best student for his ‘project’. Is Chris the terrorist he seems to be hoping to use teenagers on the baseball team to carry out his dirty work? I thought the characters were well developed and the side stories of the baseball team and their families were compelling. This is a quick read that will keep you turning the pages.”
Diane. Reading pretty. “Out East: Houses and Gardens of The Hamptons, gives us an insider’s view of the Hamptons and the South Fork. Author Jennifer Ash Rudick is a resident of South Hampton and photographer Tria Giovan lives over in Sag Harbor. Exquisite gardens , fabulous interiors and Hamptons architecture documented. Pages are filled with cottages, pool houses, barns and of course gardens.”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from Meat Chicken with the final mewsings and, of course, The Playlist. What’s good Pats? “I’ve taken a new job here in the Detroit area as Assistant Director of the Ferndale Cat Shelter and Catfe Lounge. Yes, I work in a Catfe and probably qualify as a legitimate, crazy cat lady. We’ve fostered over 40 cats and kittens in our home since April 2016 to present. My job is part cat-behaviorist, part vet-tech, part human psychologist, full-time pooper scooper and grant writer. This week, I’m curating a playlist that’s all cats, so feel free to let your inner, crazy cat lady run amok. Remember to #AdoptDontShop, support your local shelters and for goodness sakes, spay and neuter your animals. Bob Barker said it best.”