As my dreams for the future mostly consist of living in a tiny apartment overrun by animals and having enough books that I can make furniture out of them, these two things play a major role in my life. Who would have guessed?
But recently, I’ve found a way that I can combine these to loves of mine into one. No, I’m not talking about wielding my dark magic and transfiguring cats into novels or anything. I’m taking about animals playing somewhat of a major role in the books I read. After all, why would anyone settle for reading a book with boring old humans when there are puppies, and kittens, and turtles, and guinea pigs to be written about?
Why books with animals are 157% better than books with only humans:
- I would be quite happy to only speak to animals for the rest of my life, thank you very much. First of all, do you know how RUDE humans can be? I work in a bookshop and a cinema, and WOW. PEOPLE CAN BE AWFUL. Like yes, I know you had to wait five minutes in line, but was that my fault? No. Go curse at the woman in front of you who couldn’t decide to get salted or unsalted popcorn, Karen. So naturally, I want to spend the least amount of time around humans in my leisure time as possible. Including in books. (Aliens and monstrous beings are okay though.)
- Animals in books are SO MUCH SMARTER than their human counterparts. Did you ever see Hedwig get into a love triangle, or become the Chosen One, or have to kill this dude that had an unhealthy obsession with her? NO. And that’s simply because animals have intuition for this sort of thing, unlike humans that just blunder about this planet with little idea of what they’re doing, or who they really love, or why everything is just so hard as a teenager when no one understands you. I just really want a Harry Potter retelling with just Hedwig, Scabbers, Crookshanks, and Trevor.
- My trust issues don’t extend to animals. Here, let me pet that random, slightly mangled cat sitting on the sidewalk! Who cares if it has rabies! Animals are just so much easier to love than humans. You don’t have to worry about whether or not they’re plotting your murder (though my own cat looks like she is 99% of the time), and they probably won’t betray you. But, I mean, if that dog goes to roll over for a belly rub in front of someone who isn’t me, that’s betrayal right there. Although when it comes to reading about animals in books… JUST LET ME LOVE YOU. I WILL PROTECT YOU NO MATTER WHAT.
Six of my favourite (and most iconic) books with animals:
As I mentioned earlier, HARRY POTTER TOLD THROUGH THE EYES OF THE ANIMALS. This is solid gold, people, I’m telling you. I’m going to tweet at my bae J.K. right now. BUT REGARDLESS, the animals in Harry Potter have major roles. I know someone on the internet will want to stab me while screeching #SPOILERS! if I say too much, but those of you who have used the past 20 years to their advantage and have read and / or watched Harry Potter — you’ll know what I’m thinking of. And even just the concept of having either an owl, a cat, or a toad! Genius! I’ll take all three, thanks.
Let’s not forget our favourite grumpy, somewhat diseased cat from The Hunger Games — Buttercup! This cat made an impression on me from the moment I first read about it, probably because it reminds me of my own cat when she gets out of the wrong side of her cat bed in the morning. As the series progressed, I grew to love Buttercup like a cat I never had, so much so that I probably cried more in the scene between Katniss and Buttercup in Mockingjay than when we learned of The Death.
This book honestly made me want to stop everything and become a dog walker. Funnily enough, after reading The Unexpected Everything I actually did do dog walking for a few months, but I never got to experience the thrilling chaos of walking more than one dog at once. Nevertheless, I stand by my previous statements that this book is PERFECT for everyone who loves dogs. I mean, just look at how adorable that cover is!
I know I might be cheating a little bit by including Heartstopper as it’s a webcomic, but IT DESERVES TO BE ON THIS LIST BECAUSE NELLIE IS MY FAVOURITE DOG EVER. I kid you not. Although Nellie doesn’t star in Heartstopper as much as I’d like, the presence of this glorious creature never fails to warm my heart. THIS WEBCOMIC IN GENERAL IS JUST BEAUTIFUL BEYOND WORDS.
Look! Another dog on the cover! I wasn’t expecting Tito to be featured as much as he was, but it just added another dimension to the book that meant it wouldn’t be as amazing without it. Tito was like one of the supporting pillars in this great mansion of a novel, and I was thrilled that he got more of a look-in than I thought he would. I JUST LOVED TITO SO MUCH. And the rest of the book was pretty great too. You should read it.
Let’s end this list by the book that got me hyped for reading about turtles ALL YEAR and then just let me down. As I yelled about previously, THIS BOOK IS ABOUT A FREAKING LIZARD. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, and I do think this book would have benefited from a few chapter POVs from the lizard. I just think that would have been exceptionally cool. Nevertheless, although I was disappointed by the lack of turtles, the lizard did suffice. *grumbles* A turtle would have been better though.
Do you also share a vague disliking towards humankind like I do sometimes? Have you read any of the books that I’ve mentioned? Do you have any other recommendations for books featuring animals? I’d love to know!