let’s make ‘rest’ the new ‘busy’


As we head into a new year, do you envision your deliciously blank calendar as an opportunity to do more?


If you’re looking at the upcoming year and thinking about how much you want to accomplish or how many books you intend to read, I’d like to offer this (by my friend and mentor J. Nichole Smith). Think of it as either corollary or antidote to your dreams of being super busy …


“I believe rest isn’t actually about not doing (although, damn, that’s important): it’s about actively being restful. It’s about space, more than anything. Spaciousness.





Quiet contemplation.


A total lack of urgency.

Being restful has become something not fluffy or nice to have – it’s essential to my sanity.

So what do you say – can rest be the new busy?

Can we glorify calm, peaceful stillness over go, go, go?”



In the best circumstances, of course, sitting down to read a book is restful.


But not when your goal is to rush through your precious reading time merely to check another book off your to-read list.


Reading is not just about getting through a larger stack of books than you did last year; it’s also about reveling in quiet time, in comfort, and in stillness.


And in the ritual of it all: cozy spot, cat on your lap, mug of freshly steeped tea sitting nearby.


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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