In a recent conversation, the topic of "animal books" came up. So many of us love a good story about a beloved animal even if, given the shorter life span of pets, there is also an element of sadness.
I'm reading The Art of Racing in the Rain, which is beautifully written and so moving, but I can read only a little at a time because so many emotions keep arising.
Enzo is a dog who feels he should be a man and fully expects another lifetime as a man with the gift of a manageable tongue for speech and opposable thumbs. He sees himself as training for his reincarnation, but truthfully, he is already far more human than most people. I could wish that Stein had included fewer elements of sadness and more of the joy, but there is so much to think about in this novel that although I resent having to put it aside frequently because of being so emotional, I simply must have more Enzo philosophy, more Enzo world vision, more Enzo. Remember Old Yeller, another wonderful, loving, and devoted dog? Just imagine the story told from Old Yeller's perspective. (Kailana mentioned in a previous comment that she liked this one, too.) I don't have much time for reading right now and can't read it for very long at a time, but I hope to finish it soon.
Of course, if you enjoy stories about animals in general, nothing beats James Herriot's books! All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful are my all-time favorites in animal stories. A veterinarian in Yorkshire, Herriot's many books about his experiences are hilarious and moving. These remain some of my most beloved comfort reads; just thinking about some of his experiences, some of the animals and their owners, some of the events with Siegfried and Tristan make me smile.
I loved the three memoirs of Peter Gethers (televison and film script writer, editor, founder of Villard Books, editor-at-large for Random House, etc.) about his life with Norton, the Perfect Cat. The first one is The Cat Who Went to Paris, and all three of them are wonderful! Gethers' was a cat-hater until his life tangled up with Norton.
I still have Dewey, the Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World on my TBR list and there is another version specifically for children.
Somewhere I read about Gobbolino, the Witch's Cat by Ursula Moray Williams, first published in the 1940's and still a children's classic. Gobbolino, born into a witchy family, wants to be a hearth cat, a kitchen cat. Unfortunately, his reputation as a witch's cat follows him.... The book has been on my TBR list for a while; maybe I'll begin a Reading Trail on either animal books or children's books.
Diane Ackerman's The Moon by Whale Light is a delightful adventure. Ackerman's essays are a wonderfully poetic scientific look at penguins, bats, whales, and alligators and the importance of these creatures in nature. Great scientific story-telling and encouragement for conservation.
Robin, at A Fondness for Reading, has also contributed to my TBR list with her post about Irene Pepperberg's book Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Uncovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process.
Ooops, out of time for this post and so many good books about animals unmentioned!
What are some of your favorite animal books --for children or adults, fiction or nonfiction?