Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father’s dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down. Their parallel odysseys are enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing dramas. Cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghostlike pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbors soldiers apparently un-aged since WWII. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle.

Black Cats and Evil Eyes: A Book of Old-Fashioned Superstitions by Chloe Rhodes

Hundreds of beliefs passed down through the generations have their foundations in our ancestors’ efforts to ward off evil, which they blamed for hardship, illness, and injustice in times when life was, as often as not, “nasty, brutish and short.”¬†Black Cats & Evil Eyes¬†sets these superstitions in their historical and social context, explaining how fear of the Devil, demons, evil spirits, and witchcraft drove people to arm themselves with rituals and talismans to repel dark forces and allow them to live long and healthy lives. In examining many of our common superstitions, this book illuminates the customs, beliefs, and practices that link us to an ancient, and often darker, human past.