When I was in my late teens, I used to read Punch magazine, and one of my favorite writers was Alan Coren, who published a humor collection titled Golfing for Cats. It turned out that the book had nothing to do either with golfing or cats; but golfing and cats were the two hottest subjects on the bestseller list at that time. (Alan Coren’s book ended up doing quite well.)
As neither cats, goats, or Mahatma Gandhi are particularly hot on the bestseller list right now, this charming story only partly explains the title of my new book: The Mahatma, the Goats, and Young Cats, all of which do get mentioned in collection of humor and satire, but are not its main subjects: for how can you have a main subject in a diverse humor collection that ranges from Jesus Christ to Ronald Reagan, from Indian politics to American nukes and deficits, from a wild riff on the Adam and Eve story to modern puberty, from Gandhi to dead chicken jokes, and jokes about Indian stereotypes?
Still, I was delighted when the “Young Cats” portion of the title prompted a generous and hugely talented Phnom Penh artist, Stephane Delapree, to gift me the paintings of his blue cats for my book cover. This is probably one of my best covers ever, if not the best. Thank you, Stephane!