Skip to main content

Booking through Thursday: Dogs and Pets

Today's subject on Booking Through Thursday is dogs and other pets:

My dog just had his birthday (12 years old, thanks), so … how do you feel about books about dogs or pets? Fluffy stories of fluffy family members? Solid books on training them or taking care of them? Touching reminiscences of trouble and the way a person’s dog (or pet) has helped get them through?
(Mind you, almost all the pet-related books on my shelf are about dogs, but I’m well aware that people love their cats, horses, ferrets, rabbits, fish, etc. just as much, so … any species is fine!)
Any favorite books to recommend?

I used to love animal books and still read them occasionally. My favourite books featuring pets specifically are by Gerald Durrell, who kept a varied and exotic menagerie of pets throughout his life and ended up running a zoo, and the books by Yorkshire veterinarian Alf Wight, writing as James Herriot, about the animals he treated through his years in practice.

I have also enjoyed pet biographies, i.e. books that follow one particular animal through its life, although I have come to dread the inevitable final chapter about all the things the (by that time inevitably dead) pet taught its owners. Marley and Me is a good example. It was a fine pet biography without the author having to feel he needed to expound on all the things Marley taught him about life, love, etc. That particular chapter lost the book a whole star when I reviewed it.

Books about pets or featuring pets I would recommend are:

  • Books by James Herriot. I have linked to his bibliography on Wikipedia because they were published under different titles in the USA and the UK and there are a number of them.
  • My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. It's not about any particular pet or indeed only about pets, but they make up an important feature of the book. Most of the rest of his books feature animals as well, but mostly wild animals, which is outside the scope of this meme.
  • The Cat Who Covered the World: The Adventures Of Henrietta And Her Foreign Correspondent by Christopher S. Wren. This book covers the adventurous life of the eponymous cat who travelled all over the world with Wren and his family, including stints in Moscow, Beijing and Johannesburg. She roamed free in all those places, and even put in a stint as a stray in Cairo when she got lost for several weeks.
  • I also have to mention Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand. Although Seabiscuit was a racehorse, he was a domestic animal and became his owner's pet after he was retired from racing. The book is an amazing portrait of American society at the time, with the horse binding all the different strands of the story together.


Vilia said…
I loved Gerald Durrell books when I was growing up, especially the ones where he was in exotic locations catching the animals. Here's my post Backchatting Books BTT
I haven't read the books you mentioned, but here's MY BTT POST
Unknown said…
Seabiscuit has been on my list for awhile. I also think the The Cat Who Covered the World: The Adventures Of Henrietta And Her Foreign Correspondent sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing. Here's mine
Anonymous said…
Thanks for your book suggestions!

Popular posts from this blog

How to make a simple origami bookmark

Here are some instructions on how to make a simple origami (paper folding) bookmark: Take a square of paper. It can be patterned origami paper, gift paper or even office paper, just as long as it’s easy to fold. The square should not be much bigger than 10 cm/4 inches across, unless you intend to use the mark for a big book. The images show what the paper should look like after you follow each step of the instructions. The two sides of the paper are shown in different colours to make things easier, and the edges and fold lines are shown as black lines. Fold the paper in half diagonally (corner to corner), and then unfold. Repeat with the other two corners. This is to find the middle and to make the rest of the folding easier. If the paper is thick or stiff it can help to reverse the folds. Fold three of the corners in so that they meet in the middle. You now have a piece of paper resembling an open envelope. For the next two steps, ignore the flap. Fold the square diagonally

List love: 10 recommended stories with cross-dressing characters

This trope is almost as old as literature, what with Achilles, Hercules and Athena all cross-dressing in the Greek myths, Thor and Odin disguising themselves as women in the Norse myths, and Arjuna doing the same in the Mahabaratha. In modern times it is most common in romance novels, especially historicals in which a heroine often spends part of the book disguised as a boy, the hero sometimes falling for her while thinking she is a boy. Occasionally a hero will cross-dress, using a female disguise to avoid recognition or to gain access to someplace where he would never be able to go as a man. However, the trope isn’t just found in romances, as may be seen in the list below, in which I recommend stories with a variety of cross-dressing characters. Unfortunately I was only able to dredge up from the depths of my memory two book-length stories I had read in which men cross-dress, so this is mostly a list of women dressed as men. Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb. One of the interwove

List love: A growing list of recommended books with elderly protagonists or significant elderly characters

I think it's about time I posted this, as I have been working on it for a couple of months. I feel there isn’t enough fiction written about the elderly, or at least about the elderly as protagonists. The elderly in fiction tend to be supporting characters, often wise elders (such as  Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books) or cranky old neighbour types (e.g. the faculty of Unseen University in the Discworld series) or helpless oldsters (any number of books, especially children’s books) for the protagonist to either help or abuse (depending on whether they’re a hero or not). Terry Pratchett has written several of my favourite elderly protagonists and they always kick ass in one way or another, so you will see several of his books on this list, either as listed items or ‘also’ mentions. Without further ado: Here is a list of books with elderly protagonists or significant, important elderly characters. I leave it up to you to decide if you’re interested or not, but I certai