I don’t know what has gotten into me lately, but I have been reading more and more adult books. I honestly have read more adult books in the past month than I have in the past couple of years. And even stranger, I have been reading adult nonfiction which is totally unheard of. A couple of the books I read were really really fantastic and definitely warrant a blog post. I was going to do a video blog, but umm, I think I would probably start crying 10 seconds into it (you will find out why soon enough).
The first book is kind of a funny story. One day many weeks ago I was flipping through the channels on a Sunday and came across somebody I thought I recognized…..goodness me, it was Mr. Brendan Leonard! He appeared to be traveling around in an RV with his family or something. What I saw was actually a documentary that his brother and dad created when they went on a trip across the country with Brendan’s grandparents. I sat there and watched a couple hours of it and it was great. I laughed, I cried, and felt like I was a member of their family.
Well, The Ride of Our Lives is Mike Leonard’s (Brendan’s dad) account of the trip as well as a history of his parent’s lives and his own. The book is a fast read that really captures what it feels like to belong to the Leonard family. It is hilarious, sad, and touching all at the same time. There is also a DVD in the back of the book that has scenes from the show that I saw. Let me just say that the stars of the show (and the book) are Brendan’s grandparents. His grandpa never stops making friends with strangers everyplace they go and his grandma swears like a sailor and drinks like one too. If you need a break from all the kid lit, definitely pick up this book.
Now, the next book is very, very special to me. It contains some of my favorite things in the whole world: cats, libraries, and small towns in Iowa. The book is Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched The World by Vicki Myron. Just typing the title makes me want to burst into tears again. If you haven’t heard the story of Dewey, you must have been living under a rock (well maybe not really, but I am a librarian from Iowa, so I assume everyone has heard of Dewey). Dewey is a cat who was thrown into the Spencer Library book drop on the coldest night of the year. When Vicki, the library director found him, he was just a tiny kitten who was frozen to the bone. Vicki decided that Dewey belonged at the library and he spent the next 19 years charming the socks off everyone who came in the building.
The book tells lots of funny stories about all the mischief that Dewey got up to while he lived at the library, but it also tells the story of Vicki’s life and the relationship she had with the special little guy. This book was awesome in so many different ways. It is great to read a book written by a person who truly loves cats. Well, maybe not all cats, but definitely this cat. It was very comforting to read about somebody else who talks to their pet and thinks that he answers back (I’m so glad I’m not the only one).
One of my favorite parts of the book was when Vicki talked about all of the “pilgrims” that came to Spencer to visit Dewey. People from all over the country, and even all over the world came to bring gifts to the library cat. Then literally in the next paragraph she talks about the guy who came up to the desk and said, “I don’t want to alarm you, but I just saw a cat in the building.” I don’t know why, but that part just made me laugh out loud hysterically.
Now, I will say that I cried through about 1/3 of this book. The last 60 pages or so were especially rough. Unless you have a heart of stone, you will definitely need a giant box of tissues sitting next to you while you read this.
Apparently this book is on the New York Times Bestseller list, which is totally awesome!!! I hope that people read this book and it gives them a new perspective on libraries and Iowa. I would recommend this book to anyone, but remember what I said about the tissues, because we all know what happens in the end.
Here is a link to the Spencer Library’s page about Dewey.
Here is a book trailer I found on YouTube that I think is for the British edition of the book (the cover is different and the accent kind of tipped me off).