It’s time for the third update in my year-long experiment in living (actually reading) fictionally. For those of you keeping score at home, the first book I tackled was Oscar Wilde’s fascinating 19th century novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Next was Ernest Hemingway’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1952 novel The Old Man and the Sea. Now I have switched gears, turning to a book my wife suggested, Lillian Jackson Braun’s 1988 novel The Cat Who Played Post Office.
I will be the first to admit I never thought I would read a mystery series, let alone one whose main mystery-solvers are a pair of Siamese cats and their owner, Jim Qwilleran. But part of my learning experience over the past year has been opening myself up to new concepts, one of which was trying to understand various niches and where my own writing might fit in among them. As usual, I won’t get too much into the plot or give away the ending, but I will say that this was a very engaging novel and Braun creates a world, albeit a few books into the series (which originally started in the Sixties) that I enjoyed jumping into each time I sat with the work. This leads to the first point about writing I wanted to observe.
These are the three main writing lessons I’ve come away with after reading The Cat Who Played Post Office. And yes, I would recommend this book (or series) to anyone looking to get some enjoyment out of their reading. While it probably won’t cause you to make a deep reappraisal of your world and society, it still should give you some good ideas for how to become a more popular author.
Up next in this experiment I turn to an author who I have sorely neglected for some time, and hope to begin rectifying this by reading what is considered his best work: Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. Stay tuned for the next exciting installment in my year of living (actually reading) fictionally.
John Abraham is a published author and freelance journalist who lives in the Twin Cities with his wife Mary and their cats. He is writing a speculative dystopian novel and is seeking representation and a publisher.