bookstore cats


We recently spent a day and a half on a road trip through southern Indiana. And one of our first stops was our favorite Madison bookstore to meet the Village Lights cats.


Trudy (Gerrtrude Stein to you and me) was feeling a little shy, so we only saw her briefly as she dashed through the Twain Room on her way to the employees-only room at the back of the building.


But hanging out in the Twain Room, grudgingly saying hello to admirers? Oscar Wilde, the original Village Lights cat.


[Sadly, Oscar Wilde, shown below, and Alistair Toklas, introduced below that, have both since passed away. 😿]




And we also met green-eyed Alistair B. Toklas, who was definitely ready to enjoy ear rubs, but was definitely not willing to stray very far from the heater vent under the bookcases.





When you’re in or near Madison, stop in to meet the cats and buy a book or two.


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Welcome to the online home of The Novel Cat, where reading, relaxing, and snuggling with cats are a way of life. I’m Jennifer, and I help former and aspiring readers maximize life’s simple pleasures — like the joy of savoring a good book — by helping them create quiet spaces (both mental and physical) inspired by the habits of cats, who are masters at finding joy in life’s small details.

“The only important thing in a book is the meaning it has for you.”

W. Somerset Maugham

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”


“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.”

Marcel Proust

“Standing there, staring at the long shelves crammed with books, I felt myself relax and was suddenly at peace.”

Helene Hanff

“What a happy woman I am, living in a garden, with books … birds, and flowers, and plenty of leisure to enjoy them!”

Elizabeth von Arnim

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”

Neil Gaiman

“The art of reading is … an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us; when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind.”

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

“When I … looked round at the familiar bookshelves, and could hear no sounds but sounds of peace, and knew that here I might read or dream or idle exactly as I chose with never a creature to disturb me, how grateful I felt to the kindly Fate that has brought me here and given me a heart to understand my own blessedness.”

Elizabeth von Arnim