10 Books Every Animal Lover Must Read
If you’re someone who loves animals and also enjoys reading, then here’s our recommendation of ten books you must definitely add to your reading list.
Black Beauty: Anna Sewell
An 1877 classic by Anna Sewell, the book is the story of a horse named Black Beauty. Narrated in the first person, this is an autobiographical memoir as recounted by the horse. The book starts with the early life of Black Beauty as a foal with his mother on an English farm, and gradually moves onto his laborious life pulling cabs in London. Through the book we are given glimpses of some of the cruel people and misfortunes the horse encounters, ending happily with his retirement in the countryside. Black Beauty is essentially a book about kindness and empathy and is still a popular book enjoyed by children and adults worldwide.
It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet: James Herriot
A veterinary surgeon, James Herriot spent most of his working life in rural Yorkshire, England during the 1930s tending to farm animals. It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet is a hilarious memoir of a young country vet who more often than not finds himself in awkward and hilarious situations involving both animals and humans. Filled with entertaining anecdotes from his practice, this warm, witty and laugh out loud book is a must read.
The Book of Dog: Edited by Hemali Sodhi
It is often said that dogs choose us rather than the other way around. This beautiful anthology contains forty-five heart-warming pieces by some of India’s best loved writers on the deep relationship they share or have shared with their beloved furry friends. Equal parts funny, joyful, and moving, The Book of Dog is brimming with love, honesty and warmth celebrating all the wonderful times a dog has walked into our lives and changed it for the better. The best part about the book? All royalties from book sales will go to registered animal welfare charities.
My Family and Other Animals: Gerald Durrell
Soaked in the sunshine of the Greek island of Corfu where Durrell lived with his family as a young child, My Family and Other Animals is a hilarious autobiographical account of the Durrell family’s life in their new home that they soon discover they share with some unusual neighbours including, but not limited to toads, scorpions, geckoes, ladybugs, octopuses, bats, butterflies, and the occasional puppy. Durrell’s humous is natural and unforced and you will find yourself laughing out loud as you read along.
Marley and Me-Life and Love with The World’s Worst Dog: John Grogan
Based on John Grogan’s Labrador Retriever, Marley, this book begins with John and his wife Jenny who as newlyweds bring home Marley, a tiny puppy, who eventually turns their lives upside down with his antics. Marley, an easily excitable dog was prone to accidents and was constantly getting into trouble for eating everything in sight (including, but not limited to furniture!), breaking through screen doors, and drooling over guests. Obedience school, and tranquilisers prescribed by the vet do nothing for Marley. Despite all his escapades, Marley’s heart is full of love for John and Jenny, and over the years as the Grogan family grows, Marley stands by them loyally right till the end. Equal parts hilarious and heart-warming, if you are someone who has loved and lost a pet, this book will definitely pull at your heartstrings.
The Guest Cat: Takashi Hiraide
Set in Tokyo during the 1980s, The Guest Cat is the story of a Japanese couple in their thirties living in a quiet neighbourhood of the city. Both of them work from home on solitary projects, and over the course of their marriage have nothing much to talk to each other about. One day a beautiful white cat enters their kitchen, it leaves, only to come back the following day, and over time becomes a frequent guest. The couple take an instant liking to the cat and name it Chibi, they buy it treats and soon their days take on a different dimension. They bond over the cat and talk about its little quirks. Spending time with Chibi brings light and colour into their otherwise quiet life. The book is filled with the beauty of small joys, and the transient nature of life, and the passage of time.
H is for Hawk: Helen Macdonald
Devastated by the sudden death of her father, Helen Macdonald decided to channel her grief into training hawks, and not just any ordinary hawk, but the most vicious of them all-the Goshawk. Macdonald had been fascinated by hawks since childhood and was an experienced falconer. The author purchases and begins to train a Goshawk she names Mabel and while spending time with the bird she realises that much like Mabel, she too is fierce and strong. Harrowing and hilarious, H is for Hawk is an honest and courageous memoir on grief, and how humans derive comfort during some of the most heart-breaking time of their lives in the company of animals, or in this case (ironically) a predatory bird.
Cat People: Edited by Devapriya Roy
It is a truth universally acknowledged that it is the cat that owns you (and then eventually enslaves you), and not the other way around, and the sooner you accept this, the happier you will be. If you are a cat parent, or a crazy cat person then this book is an absolute must read! A compilation of all things cat-short stories, essays, photo stories, and original artwork, Cat People will have you laughing, crying, and nodding along in agreement. From Karachi, to San Francisco, via Mumbai this book captures the many moods of cats and the humans they own. Sounds just about purrfect!
The Art of Racing in the Rain: Garth Stein
Narrated by Enzo the dog, The Art of Racing in the Rain is the story of Denny, an aspiring race car driver, his wife Eve and their baby daughter Zoe. The book draws you in from the get-go as we learn that Enzo is tired of being limited to gestures to communicate and wants to come back as a human in his next life. But having said that, Enzo’s steadfast loyalty remains with his human family as they go through a series of challenges reinforcing the notion that a dog is truly man’s best friend. This book is a celebration of the special bond humans share with their four-legged companions and how they make our lives richer and more beautiful.
A Street Cat Named Bob: James Bowen
This is a heart-warming true story about James Bowen, a homeless addict living on the streets of London, who finds an injured ginger cat in his hallway one day. James nurses the cat back to health and names him Bob. Soon the two of them become an inseparable pair. Bob accompanies James as he goes around London busking, and sits in his guitar case as people drop in money. This book is a testament of the genuine love that exists between humans and their pets, and as you read you will realise that how James and Bob, both with a troubled past, eventually save each other. An uplifting, feel-good book, the story of James and Bob will make you believe in the power of second chances.
While these books are available for sale online, we would encourage you to support your local bookstores by purchasing books from them.