November 11, 2017

New Bookstore Branches and Celebrity Signings!

Posted in Pop Culture at 1:59 pm by chavalah

Second installment in my 2017 #NaNoBlogMo project.

Feeding my book signature appetite 😛

Yesterday afternoon I trekked over to the newly revitalized District Wharf in Southwest Washington, DC. It’s the type of place that I think I’d find absolutely charming, were a few more of the storefronts open and the temperature a little higher than freezing. 😛 But otherwise, I think that I need to build up my list of cool places to take out of town guests!

One store that has opened, and is now heavily promoting itself, is the newest branch of Politics & Prose. On Friday evening, they booked Jackson Galaxy, who was on tour and talking about his new cat care book (co-authored with Mikel Delgado), Total Cat Mojo: Everything You Need to Know to Care for Your Favorite Feline Friend.

It was a little foolhardy for Politics & Prose to schedule this event for the new place when their flagship store is so much bigger. I got to the venue about two hours early and already people were claiming their chairs. By the time the presentation started, it was a head to head traffic jam throughout the entire store.

Galaxy gave a prepared through personal speech, where he called on various types of cat guardians and shelter and humane society workers to raise their hands. He talked briefly about his history of getting involved with the species and learning their behaviors, in a segment laced with jokes and laughs. Finally, we folded up our chairs and assembled into a long and somewhat messy book signing line. Luckily I was sitting close to where he set up shop with his pen, so I got to the front of the line within 20 minutes or so.

Part of me wishes that I’d gotten a picture with him, for this blog if for nothing else, but that’s never been my custom at author signings. Suffice to say, this signature is what I came for. That, and the chance to tell Jackson Galaxy my prepared mini-speech: “My cat Leah died last month. Thank you for teaching me about her.”

He looked touched by my words, or at least I hope that he did. When I confirmed that I was currently without a cat, he adjoined “hopefully not for long.” It was a mix of his desire to see animals saved from shelters, I believe, and maybe the understanding that most of us kitty people can’t be companionless for too long. Actually, the humane society from where I adopted Leah (formerly the Washington Animal Rescue League, in part) also had a table set up during the signing. So I made sure to tell the volunteers about their former resident and ask about current adoption practices.

I don’t watch a lot of reality tv; in fact, I’m pretty ambivalent about the whole enterprise. But somehow the Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell” got in under the radar. It’s basically a broadcast of Galaxy’s consultation business for cat guardians who are at the ends of their leashes. Sometimes I indulge in my Jerry Springer side—I might not be the best cat guardian ever, but at least I’m doing better than that guy!. More often, I’m convinced that I am that guy. Why couldn’t I get Leah to play with dangly toys or stop scratching the door frames?

Other times, I try to take a more productive approach. I labeled Leah as a bush dweller because she rarely got onto high places of her own volition, and was much more comfortable hanging in cabinet drawers. 😛 We did the slow blink a few times. I looked out for signs when she wanted my company and when I should leave her alone. Maybe I didn’t always abide by those indicators, heh.

I am also drawn to Jackson’s persona—this bald, tattoo-covered guy who is actually a big cat cuddler. And I appreciate his brand of identifying issues and behaviors with simple terms and life goals, even if, as a fiction writer, I prefer to complicate these things. 😛 The whole “cat mojo” brand is his philosophy that a cat desires to hunt, catch, kill, eat, groom, sleep. If you can get your cat’s life to mimic that schedule, then the cat should most likely be happy and confident.

I’m not ready to adopt just yet, but I do know that the day is coming. Right before I adopted Leah I bought a couple of cat books and now I feel like I must upgrade. My relationship with the show, My Cat From Hell has mostly been about fleeting anxieties and observations. Now that Galaxy has written his advice down in book form, I hope to make comprehensive choices about what I should do for my next cat. I know that I shouldn’t blame myself for what happened to Leah (for more on that topic, click here), and that, to be blunt about it, death comes for all of us. But instead of walking a tightrope of guesses as a guardian, I want to be on solid ground. I suppose that I want to boost my own confidence, too.


Books are a wonderful and multi-faceted tool for opening your mind and expanding your horizons. And with that transition underway here is some follow up from last week’s post: the GoodReaads Choice semifinals are open and running! Cast your votes for your favorite books of 2017 up until tomorrow! (Then, the final round runs from the 14th to the 27th where each category will be shaved to just five books…before one book will rule them all. 😛 Well, per category.)

The previous round, aka the opening round, included the option of write-ins, with the most popular of those being added to the official ballot. I’m thrilled to see another pick from my TBR up for best fiction–Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin! This reminded me that I myself could have written in my votes last time, and I’ve even gathered some eligible contenders below:

In Fiction: All The Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan and translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen
In Memoir & Autobiography: The Book of Separation by Tova Mirvis
And in Science Fiction: The Wanderers by Meg Howrey

Speak of being proactive! What type of GoodReads-loving book nerd am I anyway. *hangs head* Ah well, there’s always next year. And meanwhile, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor continues to advance in Young Adult Fantasy! Booyah!

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