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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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15 Powerful Quotes From Margaret Atwood
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It turns out the woman behind such eerily prescient novels as The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake is just as wise as her tales are haunting. Here are 15 of the most profound quips from author, activist, and Twitter enthusiast Margaret Atwood, who was born on this day in 1939.

1. On her personal philosophy

 “Optimism means better than reality; pessimism means worse than reality. I’m a realist.”

— From a 2004 interview with The Guardian

2. On the reality of being female

“Men often ask me, Why are your female characters so paranoid? It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of their situation.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

3. On limiting how her politics influence her characters

“You know the myth: Everybody had to fit into Procrustes’ bed and if they didn’t, he either stretched them or cut off their feet. I’m not interested in cutting the feet off my characters or stretching them to make them fit my certain point of view.”

— From a 1997 interview with Mother Jones

4. On so-called “pretty” works of literature

“I don’t know whether there are any really pretty novels … All of the motives a human being may have, which are mixed, that’s the novelists’ material. … We like to think of ourselves as really, really good people. But look in the mirror. Really look. Look at your own mixed motives. And then multiply that.”

— From a 2010 interview with The Progressive

5. On the artist’s relationship with her fans

“The artist doesn’t necessarily communicate. The artist evokes … [It] actually doesn’t matter what I feel. What matters is how the art makes you feel.”

— From a 2004 interview with The Guardian

6. On the challenges of writing non-fiction

“When I was young I believed that ‘nonfiction’ meant ‘true.’ But you read a history written in, say, 1920 and a history of the same events written in 1995 and they’re very different. There may not be one Truth—there may be several truths—but saying that is not to say that reality doesn’t exist.”

— From a 1997 interview with Mother Jones

7. On poetry

“The genesis of a poem for me is usually a cluster of words. The only good metaphor I can think of is a scientific one: dipping a thread into a supersaturated solution to induce crystal formation.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

8. On being labeled an icon

“All these things set a standard of behavior that you don’t necessarily wish to live up to. If you’re put on a pedestal you’re supposed to behave like a pedestal type of person. Pedestals actually have a limited circumference. Not much room to move around.”

— From a 2013 interview with The Telegraph

9. On how we’re all born writers

“[Everyone] ‘writes’ in a way; that is, each person has a ‘story’—a personal narrative—which is constantly being replayed, revised, taken apart and put together again. The significant points in this narrative change as a person ages—what may have been tragedy at 20 is seen as comedy or nostalgia at 40.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

10. On the oppression at the center of The Handmaid's Tale

“Nothing makes me more nervous than people who say, ‘It can’t happen here. Anything can happen anywhere, given the right circumstances.” 

— From a 2015 lecture to West Point cadets

11. On the discord between men and women

“‘Why do men feel threatened by women?’ I asked a male friend of mine. … ‘They’re afraid women will laugh at them,’ he said. ‘Undercut their world view.’ … Then I asked some women students in a poetry seminar I was giving, ‘Why do women feel threatened by men?’ ‘They’re afraid of being killed,’ they said.”

— From Atwood’s Second Words: Selected Critical Prose, 1960-1982

12. On the challenges of expressing oneself

“All writers feel struck by the limitations of language. All serious writers.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

13. On selfies

“I say they should enjoy it while they can. You’ll be happy later to have taken pictures of yourself when you looked good. It’s human nature. And it does no good to puritanically say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t be doing that,’ because people do.”

— From a 2013 interview with The Telegraph

14. On the value of popular kids' series (à la Harry Potter and Percy Jackson)

"It put a lot of kids onto reading; it made reading cool. I’m sure a lot of later adult book clubs came out of that experience. Let people begin where they are rather than pretending that they’re something else, or feeling that they should be something else."

— From a 2014 interview with The Huffington Post

15. On why even the bleakest post-apocalyptic novels are, deep down, full of hope

“Any novel is hopeful in that it presupposes a reader. It is, actually, a hopeful act just to write anything, really, because you’re assuming that someone will be around to [read] it.”

— From a 2011 interview with The Atlantic 

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China's New Tianjin Binhai Library is Breathtaking—and Full of Fake Books
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A massive new library in Tianjin, China, is gaining international fame among bibliophiles and design buffs alike. As Arch Daily reports, the five-story Tianjin Binhai Library has capacity for more than 1 million books, which visitors can read in a spiraling, modernist auditorium with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

Several years ago, municipal officials in Tianjin commissioned a team of Dutch and Japanese architects to design five new buildings, including the library, for a cultural center in the city’s Binhai district. A glass-covered public corridor connects these structures, but the Tianjin Binhai Library is still striking enough to stand out on its own.

The library’s main atrium could be compared to that of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum in New York City. But there's a catch: Its swirling bookshelves don’t actually hold thousands of books. Look closer, and you’ll notice that the shelves are printed with digital book images. About 200,000 real books are available in other rooms of the library, but the jaw-dropping main room is primarily intended for socialization and reading, according to Mashable.

The “shelves”—some of which can also serve as steps or seating—ascend upward, curving around a giant mirrored sphere. Together, these elements resemble a giant eye, prompting visitors to nickname the attraction “The Eye of Binhai,” reports Newsweek. In addition to its dramatic main auditorium, the 36,000-square-foot library also contains reading rooms, lounge areas, offices, and meeting spaces, and has two rooftop patios.

Following a three-year construction period, the Tianjin Binhai Library opened on October 1, 2017. Want to visit, but can’t afford a trip to China? Take a virtual tour by checking out the photos below.

A general view of the Tianjin Binhai Library
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People visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
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A general view of China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A woman taking pictures at China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A man visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A woman looking at books at China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A general view of China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

People visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

[h/t Newsweek]

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