Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Of Cats And Dogs

Colette is my favorite French author, and Benjy can't stop reading over and over again her short Dialogues de Bêtes, whose title was smartly translated Barks And Purrs in English. I recently bought the English language edition of the book as a present, and was also delighted by its lovely illustrations.
In Dialogues de Bêtes, animal lover and poignant explorer of the heart Colette transcribes the conversations between Toby Chien, an artless, spontaneous Boston terrier, and Kiki La Doucette, a sarcastic and wisecracking cat, as they go about their pet business and argue about their masters (the "two-paws") or other philosophical issues.

And since we're on the subject of cats and dogs, I thought I'd introduce two creatures I met recently: a happy Jack Russell terrier Benjy and I met on the beach, as well as GoGo Boots, Los Angeles's prettiest kitten.
Can't get enough about animals? Check out the Los Angeles Times's Unleashed blog for fun and/or informative posts.

27 comments:

Joie de vivre said...

That book sounds worthy of a read! Thanks for introducing it.

sealaura said...

Thanks for sharing. I love Jean-Jacques Sempé for le petit Nicolas but also for his cute posters. Glad to see Benjy is making friends.

mansuetude said...

sounds interesting, and i am stopped by that cat photo--the eyes! Thank You.

Mary-Laure said...

JOIE DE VIVRE - do give the book a try, it's just wonderful!

SEALAURA - who doesn't love Sempé? He also regularly contributes cartoons or covers for The New Yorker that are always exquisite.

MANSUETUDE - I'll relay the compliment to the owner of the cat, who will swell with pride (the owner, not the cat; the latter couldn't care less...)

Gabbi said...

I need to find her too now...you're increasing my 'must-read' list Mary-Laure! :)

Jack Russells are so cute and Go-Go Boots is adorable...I wonder if she's single? Perfect for my George!

michiko said...

Thanks for introducing me to this book, I'll try to find a japanese version. The illustrations are adorable! Thanks also for the cute photos of Jack russell and GoGo Boots :)

Laura Neulat said...

That little kitty is beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Oh I should find the book....I have never read any Colette. And yes these furry friends are totally cute...
I was playing some videos with cats on Youtube...you should have seen my feline's face...;)

Oh and just a question...off topic...have you read Francis Ponge's poems??

nancyxx

Esti said...

A great book!

Kwana said...

Now I want that book. Thanks for introducing your new friends.

chicknamedhermia said...

That sounds like such a cute book! The drawing are lovely!

LENORENEVERMORE said...

Love collecting interesting books...Thanks for sharing with us dear!

High Desert Diva said...

GoGo Boots...love the name!

I'll look for this book!

Mary-Laure said...

GABBI - is GoGo Boots single? Hmmmmm, could be... She's so pretty I can't imagine her not being wooed.

MICHICKO - inu to neko wa, kawaii desu nee...

LAURA - and usually you don't even LIKE cats!

NANCY - really, your kitty was aware that he was watching cats? Did you also show him some non-cat videos to see if he was as interested?
RE Ponge: Yes, I've read collections of his poems and just love his work, the lyrical and sensuous way he describes everyday objects such as a water jug.
Do you like him?

HIGH DESERT DIVA - yes, it's a great name! She does look like she's wearing high white boots on her hind legs (and ankle socks on her front legs...)

Solange said...

How Cute they are, jack russels are funny looking :-)
Just read your previous post, since I missed it, about your dreams, I hope this helps your nightmares, I have them sometimes and it's awful... let us know if the dreamcatcher helped!

take care,
Solange

The Geyser said...

As GoGo Boots unofficial impresario, I must insist that you first send me all media material for prior vetting. We do not want another Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus situation on our hands. Also, if this blog is going to allow perverts such as Gabbi to spew filth about UNDERAGED kittens, I shall be filing a restraining order.

Mary-Laure said...

THE GEYSER - I'm afraid the owner of Boots may file a restraining order against YOU, creepy Geyser...!

Anonymous said...

Oh I don't know how much the kitty-voyou can make out, visually speaking...but sound-wise...if a cat is crying etc...he absolutely reacts...and get this curious expression on his face..really cute...;) does benjy do that?

and re: Ponge...a French friend of a friend who I recently met at a dinner party suggested I read Ponge. So the next day I went down to Gallimard...and got "Le parti pris des choses" (this is his most known??) I am looking froward to reading it....
xxnancy

Gabbi said...

I'm not a pervert Geyser, I was just trying to find a soul-mate for my gorgeous George! Besides, how was I supposed to know she was underage?...

Also, he's neutered so it would have been purely a platonic relationship between he and Ms. Go-Go. :)

Mary-Laure said...

NANCY - I think the sound frequencies on TV, through phones and computers are different than in real life, as far as dogs are concerned. Benjy won't recognize voices he usually knows if they're spoken on the phone, for instance. But when I'm on Skype with my sister and her dog moans (he's The moaner...), he will start tilting his head left and right in a way that's beyond adorable. Sounds of birds on TV will also get his attention.
I'd love to see your Stevie watch You Tube, it must be cute and funny; do email me pictures, I haven't seen him in months!
Regarding Ponge: Le Parti Pris des Choses is his most famous work, and one I must confess I haven't read. I loved his Pieces, a slim Gallimard Poésie volume I love.
I studied Ponge in a French lit class about "fragmentary writing" that also focused on Henri Michaux (also great) and René Char, my favorite (and a WW2 Résistance hero at that).
Anyhow, once you've read Ponge, do share your thoughts with me.
Love to your petit voyou...
How cool that you have a Gallimard store in Montréal!

Elena said...

Benjy seems quite ready for anything! I think I might incorporate the "two-paws" phrase into my vocab.

Francesca Righi said...

oh those last two fotos are adorable! Kitty is the cutest..
ma che adorabile creatura!
x

jean-louis said...

Tu m'avais dit avoir oublie le japonais que tu as etudie a Harvard il y a qq annees..qu'en pense Michiko?

miss cavendish said...

Charming! I answered your query about stitchery chez moi--I do hope you'll begin some embroidery . . .

l'air du temps said...

oh i like your 2 friends you met on the beach. cuties!

as i am beginning to read in french (can't speak yet) i'll have a look at Colette's book you mentioned... looks good!

Mary-Laure said...

ELENA - yes, I love the expression "two-paws" too; it's even better than in French ("deux pattes").

MISS CAVENDISH - I'm flying to your blog this minute. I've been wanting to learn to embroider for some time.

L'AIR DU TEMPS - how GREAT that you're starting to read French, I'm thrilled! Don't hesitate to contact me if you want some reading recommendations.
Can't wait to hear how you like Colette.

Fifi Flowers said...

Benjy sure has made a lot of new friends frolicing on the beach... you two fit right in!
Great photos!