On Cats I've Known
"Readers are sure to find at least one cat among those featured whose story and antics appeal or bring back memories of their own feline encounters. The conversational narrative fits well with the relaxed mood of the stories." —Library Journal
"Writer and zine maker Haegele muses on 44 cats she’s lived with, met, or heard about in brief, sweet essays charmingly illustrated by Trista Vercher....The best entry centers on Trixie, a “little black cat” who lived with the author for 14 years; Haegele offers a loving personality sketch and tribute to her longtime feline companion filled with quirky details such as how she used to tape bird photo “pin-ups” near Trixie’s favorite lounging spot." —Publishers Weekly
"Sometimes, the cats are the stars, and sometimes, they're just bit players. Through them we meet Haegele's friends and family, her Philly neighborhoods (wonderful evocations here of life on the block), and her world of DIY bookmaking, 'zine conventions, reading tours, essays, poetry, funky bookstores, bars, and rock shows. ... Haegele has a humorous, self-deprecating voice ("I walked quietly, my mind full of nonsense as always"), conversational, then - blam! - the arresting image (one house is "loud with silence") or clause ("that dirty kind of longing you feel when you don't get to make peace with something"). ... Cats teach us about death, grief, longing, the solitary life, and the fugitive nature of contentment. Cats are connected to love, disappointment, loss, and frustration. ... This book liberally shares her pleasure and gratitude for them." —Philadelphia Inquirer
"Have you ever known a cat who mattered so much to you, or who was so ubiquitous, you couldn’t imagine a life without them? Katie Haegele has known dozens. In Cats I’ve Known, she offers engaging, humorous and touching chronicles about them, with a rich illustration of the subject accompanying each of the accounts. ... The book is accessible and reads as though it were a personal journal. ... she uses the animals as a gateway into observing the people around her, from family ... to friends and, perhaps most intriguingly, strangers. The book’s strongest moment is when it asks a question many readers may have asked themselves: 'How do you characterize the relationships people have with animals?' For Haegele’s, they’re similar to the relationships she has with people, but 'simpler.' A book about cats could seem banal and hackneyed, especially since the antics of countless fleet-footed felines are just a quick internet search away. But in Cats I’ve Known, Haegele injects enough of herself — and other characters in her life — to make it well worth the read." —Broken Pencil
On Slip of the Tongue
"...honest and generous, & alive to the transcendent possibilities of language."—Marilyn Johnson, author of This Book is Overdue!
The poet Lynn Levin reviewed Slip warmly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In 2018 Steven and Sara interviewed me about Cats I've Known for their absolutely charming podcast, The Purrrcast: "Talking to cat people because we can't talk to their cats."
I was also interviewed for the podcast Collecting Culture by journalist Liz Logan, who despite being a smart and engaging interviewer wanted to listen to me talk about my crappy old junk! Her podcast is a fascinating study of objects and the people who love (and love to collect) them. On my episode, we talk about the difference between yard sales and thrift stores and the meaning of secondhand things. Listen to it here.
Selected articles and interviews
On White Elephants
"Katie Haegele's writing is a miracle. No matter how grumpy you've gotten, White Elephants will inspire you to turn your days into adventures again—whether or not that includes looking through weird shit on other people's lawns."
—Ariel Gore, author of Atlas of the Human Heart and The End of Eve
"This charmingly curious book...will have you thinking you are listening to a soothing friend. Perhaps Katie Haegele might be a unique, American version of Sylvia Smith."
—Tama Janowitz, author of Slaves of New York
National Book Award nominee Beth Kephart wrote about White Elephants, too.