Tea or Books? #27: cats vs dogs in literature, and Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward vs The Dover Road by A.A. Milne

Cats! Dogs! Noel Coward! A.A. Milne! I always start off these descriptions with exclamation marks, but seldom has it been more justified…

Tea or Books logoIn this episode, we pit literary cats against literary dogs, and almost instantly regret it (while also having plenty of fun, of course) – and, on more secure ground, discuss Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward and The Dover Road by A.A. Milne, especially as we had the good fortune to see the latter together recently. (The text is available online here.)

Sorry this episode has been a while in coming – the 1947 Club took over instead – but we’ll be back on track now hopefully! Listen above, download via a podcast app, or visit our iTunes page.

As usual, here are the books and authors we discuss:

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Jennie by Paul Gallico
Love of Seven Dolls by Paul Gallico
Mrs Harris series by Paul Gallico
The Fur Person by May Sarton
As We Were by May Sarton
The Magnificent Spinster by May Sarton
The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith
The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann
Famous Five series by Enid Blyton
The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiradie
Mother and Son by Ivy Compton-Burnett
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burford
Marley & Me by John Grogan
Queen Camilla by Sue Townsend
The Queen and I by Sue Townsend
Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Dover Road by A.A. Milne
Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward
Private Lives by Noel Coward
Mr Pim Passes By by A.A. Milne
It’s Too Late Now by A.A. Milne
Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
Hayfever by Noel Coward
Design for Living by Noel Coward
Still Life by Noel Coward
Miss Elizabeth Bennet by A.A. Milne
Success by A.A. Milne
The Great Broxopp by A.A. Milne
Three Plays by A.A. Milne
Four Plays by A.A. Milne
Mr Pim by A.A. Milne
Toad of Toad Hall by A.A. Milne
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne
The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski

7 thoughts on “Tea or Books? #27: cats vs dogs in literature, and Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward vs The Dover Road by A.A. Milne

  • October 20, 2016 at 12:59 am

    I’m so jealous of Rachel seeing Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit! What a brilliant thing! That seems like the perfect part for her — ugh I would love to see this performed. I know there’s a movie but ridiculously enough, I’ve never seen it because my library’s copy is badly scratched and won’t play in my DVD player.

  • October 21, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    As a lifelong dog person who has recently been privileged to host a lovely cat’s retirement years, I no longer feel any need to choose. I agree, isn’t it odd how much more emotional we often are about the death of an animal in a book. I sometimes feel that the author is cheating, feeling perhaps that there needs to be some sort of terrible crisis but not wanting to work out all the more complex ramifications for tragedy among human characters. Bah – life is often quite sad enough, novelists, and it’s fiction after all. Leave the pets alone! I will not name names, except for a good counterexample: Lynn Johnston wrote a long running and much loved Canadian comic strip, sometimes bordering on serial graphic novel, called ‘For Better or For Worse’ (still online, still funny), in which all the more or less autobiographical characters aged in pretty much real time except the family dog, who was allowed a truly unfeasibly long life before eventually she felt he had to go. There was national mourning!

    Thanks for another delightful and informative episode of TorB!

  • October 21, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    Very enjoyable but you didn’t mention the dog I was expecting:Virginia Woolf’s Flush or my favourite literary cat: Saki’s Governor!

  • October 31, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Simon,

    I just wanted to let you know that I’ve downloaded all your podcasts and I’m enjoying them so much! (I finally figured out how to subscribe through my phone). My only complaint is that I’m adding FAR too many books to my TBR list! Cheers and I look forward to listening to more.

  • December 13, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Listened belatedly to this hilarious-but-erudite cat-dog episode! I was just the same as you Simon: when Hotrod (my tabby cat) died I was grief stricken. Cried buckets.

    I’m working my way through the James Herriot stories with my two children – Herriot it seems was both a cat and dog man! Merenia x

    • December 15, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it, Merenia – and sorry about Hotrod. It is totally heartrending, isn’t it?
      I never read Herriot, but Col loved them.


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