I'm just starting to think properly about a new paper that I'll be giving at a conference on Book Destruction, to be held in London on April 16th - I'll be talking about the aesthetics of book destruction (everything from the inappropriate beauty of photographs books wedged in post-Katrina mud, to deliberately mutilated volumes, cut into swirls of printed paper). So I'm always, these days, on the look out for examples, and was absolutely delighted to find, in Rice University Library, a whole collection of book sculptures ranged round the building. They compose a permanent exhibit by Mike Stilkey, "When the Animals Rebel" - and there are, in addition to this cat, far taller pieces that include a giraffe, and some rats, and opossums on flowery trees. I didn't spot any owls, which is strange, given that their simulacra appear all over the campus. We were trying to think at dinner if Dickens wrote significantly about owls, and couldn't come up with any examples - though I've subsequently found that he did refer to himself, rather endearing, as having an "owl mind." At least, it would be endearing, if Bob Patten hadn't told me, earlier in the day, that apparently owls are not - in the avian world - in possession of the brightest of minds.