12 Must Read Books That Feature Animals
There are so many great books about animals or that have a strong animal character and we want to share some of our favorites with you. Donna and I put our heads together and came up with this selection of excellent books.
On this and all our upcoming lists, we'll be featuring books we've actually read so we recommend them wholeheartedly. We've noticed that many Must Read book lists feature LOTS of new releases. That's great - it's fun to get excited about the shiny new book from a favorite author or one that's receiving lots of buzz. BUT, there's a place for those gems of back list titles as well - and that's what our lists will consist of..... many back list books that you can easily find at the library without a long wait or that won't break the bank to buy (you may even readily find them on thrift shelves). The following list is alphabetical by author.
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Genre: Classic, Fantasy
Published 1972, 476 pages
Synopsis: Imminently readable and a classic about rabbits who are forced to leave their warren and find another; there are challenges along the way and some interesting societal corollaries. I'm telling you, it's better than you think!
The Dogs of Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron
Genre: General Fiction
Published 2013, 233 pages
Synopsis: A man who has never wanted a dog finds an abandoned pregnant dog and rescues her. Once the puppies arrive, he asks for help at the local shelter where he meets a woman and falls in love - just as he's falling in love with the puppies that have changed his life. Wonderful depiction of the playfulness of puppies. (DW)
The Dog Master: A Novel of the First Dog by W. Bruce Cameron
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published 2015, 416 pages
Synopsis: Reviewed here. Early tribal man, interactions with a sacred wolf, tribal strife and challenges was SO interesting, developing friendship with wolf well told.
Amazing Gracie: A Dog's Tale by Dan Dye & Mark Beckloff
Published 2003, 256 pages
Synopsis: Dye adopts a Great Dane puppy that is deaf and blind in one eye and it changes his life forever; a humorous, touching, inspiring story from the founders of Three Dog Bakery. (DW)
The Lion is In by Delia Ephron
Genre: General Fiction
Published 2012, 304 pages
Synopsis: Two girlfriends who pick up an older woman hitchhiking and they all end up stranded in a small town with a circus lion. I absolutely loved Marcel, the lion! (DW)
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher
Published 2019, 365 pages
Synopsis: Reviewed here. The tale of a boy chasing the man who stole his dog through a dystopian wasteland and he's led further from home than he's ever been - fear and bravery, perseverance and love, excitement and action.
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
Published 1999, 457 pages
Synopsis: Whether or not you "like" horses or racing, you should pick up this book. All about the details of Seabiscuit and the remarkable winning journey of this underdog horse; it reads like a novel.
A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog by Dean Koontz
Published 2009, 288 pages
Synopsis: Reviewed here. A heartwarming story of Trixie, Koontz's beloved golden retriever filled with loving tales of all the ways she brightened and changed the lives of him and his family. Keep the tissues handy for those touching tears.
Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen
Published 1995, 272 pages
Synopsis: A fascinating story of a man who decided to run the Iditarod on a whim - starting from the beginning and choosing and training his dogs (whatever could go wrong, did) and then the hardship of the actual race. A quick read that is unputdownable!
Dogtripping by David Rosenfelt
Published 2013, 278 pages
Synopsis: Rosenfelt (author of the Andy Carpenter series) writes the story of the trip he and his wife take moving from California to Maine with a mere 25 rescue dogs, 11 volunteers, and 3 RVs. Humor and warmth pervade this inspiring story.
Play Dead (#6 Carpenter) by David Rosenfelt
Published 2007, 308 pages
Synopsis: Carpenter saves a dog's life in court then realizes he holds the answer to a murder and he must convince the jury to believe the dog's testimony. As with most Carpenter mysteries, the dog plays a pivotal role.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Genre: General Fiction
Published 2008, 321 pages
As he nears death, a dog reflects back on his life with his owner, a racecar driver - a life of fun, loyalty, hope and ups and downs. (warning, you'll have a good cry with the ending)
We really hope you find some old favorites and some new possibilities in this list. What book would you add to this list? Let us know your thoughts - did any make it to your TBR? Let's Talk Books!