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Our Readers' Favorite Bookstore Cats (Volume One)

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One of the ways independent book stores distinguish themselves from the big chain stores is to make their shop into a literary home, where people like to hang out. Having a cat (or many cats) around is a simple way to do that -and it keeps the mice away! When 12 Bookstore Cats was posted last week, we received responses from dozens of bookstore cat fans, and tips on lots of cats to meet.

1. Sir Marjorie Lambshank III

The Park Slope Community Bookstore in Brooklyn has an entire menagerie of pets, although you'd never know it from looking through their website (however, the website is full of neat stuff, like their delivery offer). The store cat is named Sir Marjorie Lambshank III, and he (yes, he) has his own (one-post) blog. And Twitter feed. Sir Marjorie explains that the name "Marjorie" was given to mellow him out, and "Sir" was added to make it clear that Marjorie is a male.

2. Trini and 3. Ida B.

Wild Rumpus Books in Minneapolis has a variety of critters, including chickens, rodents, reptiles, and several Manx cats. The two pictured are Trini and Ida B. You'll see more of the children's book store's pets on their Facebook page.

4. Hodge

Selected Works Used Books & Sheet Music in Chicago employs Hodge to meet and greet book lovers. A customer talks about Hodge in this review:

...a gorgeous, soft-furred, grey mischief-maker who will claw at your leg when you sit down and sprawl in the middle of the floor right behind where you stand. But I'm already fond of the little devil, and s/he lends a lot of character to the place, so it's okay.

The store's Facebook page has an album of Hodge's photographs.

5. Fred

Columbia Books in Columbia, Missouri opened during the time I lived in the town, but that was long before Fred was born. Fred is a large, fluffy cat who likes to sprawl on the windowsills of the bookstore.

6. Won Ton

Won Ton is the mascot at Chop Suey Books in Richmond, Virginia. What little we know about Won Ton is from a collaborative poem written about him. He likes attention: of course, he's a cat! See lots more pictures at the store's Facebook page.

7. Franny

Skylight Books in Los Angeles has a web page devoted to their store mascot Franny. Franny is a young cat, having arrived at the bookstore as a three-month-old kitten in 2009. They also maintain a memorial page for the beloved previous cat, Lucy, who lived at the store nearly ten years until she died in 2007.

8. Felixia and 9. Bartleby Lucas

Adams Avenue Book Store is in San Diego. Information about the store's cats is relegated to the store's Facebook page, where I found pictures of Felixia and Bartleby Lucas. Bartleby Lucas (the lower cat shown) has his own Facebook page, where he lists his relationship status as "it's complicated".

10. Isbn and 11. Bob

Recycle Books in Campbell, California once had a cat named Isbn, who was given the "Best Bookstore Cat Name" by Publisher's Weekly. A customer informs us that Isbn (left) retired to live in a private home and the new store cat (right) is named Bob.

12. Hobo

From My Shelf Books in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania has a friendly cat named Hobo. Hobo has his hand, or paw, in everything: he writes a weekly book column for the local paper, he posed for the store's sign designed in his likeness, and he co-wrote a children's book with store owner Kevin Coolidge, called Hobo Finds a Home. It's an autobiography. Hobo also cuddles with customers every day.

13. and beyond: Chapel Hill Cats

Eric Johnson, who owns Recycle Books is also the proprietor of The Bookshop in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The store has several cats on the premises, including this orange tabby in the window. Customers love the cats but leave no record of their names. Image by Flickr user bunchofpants.

If your favorite bookstore cat isn't listed here, it may be found in one of the previous posts, 12 Bookstore Cats and 8 Bookstore Cats. Or it may be in the next edition of the Bookstore Cat series!

See also: 8 Library Cats

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Kyle Ely
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Dedicated Middle School Teacher Transforms His Classroom Into Hogwarts
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Kyle Ely

It would be hard to dread back-to-school season with Kyle Ely as your teacher. As ABC News reports, the instructor brought a piece of Hogwarts to Evergreen Middle School in Hillsboro, Oregon by plastering his classroom with Harry Potter-themed decor.

The journey into the school's makeshift wizarding world started at his door, which was decorated with red brick wall paper and a "Platform 9 3/4" sign above the entrance. Inside, students found a convincing Hogwarts classroom complete with floating candles, a sorting hat, owl statues, and house crests. He even managed to recreate the starry night sky effect of the school’s Great Hall by covering the ceiling with black garbage bags and splattering them with white paint.

The whole project cost the teacher around $300 to $400 and took him 70 hours to build. As a long-time Harry Potter fan, he said that being able to share his love of the book series with his students made it all pay off it. He wrote in a Facebook post, "Seeing their faces light up made all the time and effort put into this totally worth it."

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Though wildly creative, the Hogwarts-themed classroom at Evergreen Middle School isn't the first of its kind. Back in 2015, a middle school teacher in Oklahoma City outfitted her classroom with a potions station and a stuffed version of Fluffy to make the new school year a little more magical. Here are some more unique classroom themes teachers have used to transport their kids without leaving school.

[h/t ABC News]

Images courtesy of Kyle Ely.

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literature
How the Rise of Paperback Books Turned To Kill a Mockingbird Into a Literary Classic
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Tim Boyle/Getty Images

If you went to middle or high school in the U.S. in the last few decades, chances are you’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's now-classic novel (which was adapted into a now-classic film) about racial injustice in the South. Even if you grew up far-removed from Jim Crow laws, you probably still understand its significance; in 2006, British librarians voted it the one book every adult should read before they die. And yet the novel, while considered an instant success, wasn’t always destined for its immense fame, as we learned from the Vox video series Overrated. In fact, its status in the American literary canon has a lot to do with the format in which it was printed.

To Kill a Mockingbird came out in paperback at a time when literary houses were just starting to invest in the format. After its publication in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was reviewed favorably in The New York Times, but it wasn’t the bestselling novel that year. It was the evolution of paperbacks that helped put it into more hands.

Prior to the 1960s, paperbacks were often kind of trashy, and when literary novels were published in the format, they still featured what Vox calls “sexy covers,” like a softcover edition of The Great Gatsby that featured a shirtless Jay Gatsby on the cover. According to a 1961 article in The New York Times, back in the 1950s, paperbacks were described as “a showcase for the ‘three S’s—sex, sadism, and the smoking gun.’” But then, paperbacks came to schools.

The mass-market paperback for To Kill a Mockingbird came out in 1962. It was cheap, but had stellar credentials, which appealed to teachers. It was a popular, well-reviewed book that earned Lee the Pulitzer Prize. Suddenly, it was in virtually every school and, even half a century later, it still is.

Learn the whole story in the video below from Vox.

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