Animals – Fiction Starring Animals!

Focus on: Animals
A Dog’s Purpose
by W. Bruce Cameron

The dog at the heart of this touching novel narrates his search for purpose over the course of multiple canine lives. Though his first life as a stray is short and none too sweet, his second, as a golden retriever owned by eight-year-old Ethan, seems to be the pinnacle of a dog’s existence. After a long life as Bailey, he is born again, this time as a female German shepherd who becomes a star Search and Rescue dog, but it’s not until his rebirth as Buddy, a black Lab, that his true purpose becomes clear. This “tail-wagging three hanky boo-hooer” (Publishers Weekly) is sure to delight fans of books from Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain to Mitch Albom’sTuesdays with Morrie.

Only the Animals: Stories
by Ceridwen Dovey

All of the interconnected short stories in this unusual collection are told from the point of view of animals who have encountered the worst of human history. There’s a chimpanzee in Germany in 1917, a pair of bears in 1992’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a parrot in Lebanon in 2006. The animals are self-aware and insightful — some of them can even communicate with humans in one way or another — and despite the creatures’ sometimes-dire situations, the stories themselves are often warm and compassionate. “Wonderfully weird and profoundly witty,” says Kirkus Reviews.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
by Karen Joy Fowler

At its core a story of heartbreaking family dysfunction, this novel is narrated by Rosemary, whose family fell apart in the wake of her sister Fern’s disappearance when they were five years old. Several years later, her brother also left the family. Claiming not to remember what led to Fern’s disappearance, Rosemary is eventually forced to confront the role she played. Spoilers abound when it comes to this family’s story, so we’ll say nothing more, but chances are your understanding of family may be redefined.

The Sage of Waterloo: A Tale
by Leona Francombe

Narrated by William, a white rabbit living at the historic Hougoumont farm, a focal point of the Battle of Waterloo, this quirky debut novel offers an oral history of Napoleon and Wellington’s clash from the point of view of the rabbits who lived there, passed down through the generations. Extremely detailed, the historical lessons the rabbits present also reflect on the cost of war. “Inventive [and] beautifully written”, says the San Francisco Chronicle.

Boleto: A Novel
by Alyson Hagy

Will Testerman, a restless but careful young man from a ranch in Wyoming, wants to become a horse trainer. After a period in Texas, he returns home and puts his savings into a beautiful young quarter horse he raises and trains himself. Finding some success in Wyoming, he works at a guest ranch in the Absaroka Mountains before going to Southern California, where his dreams of becoming a polo pony trainer are challenged by what he finds there. Depicted in beautifully detailed prose, horses and the western landscape alike are fully realized.

The Bees
by Laline Paull

The rules are simple: “Accept, Obey, and Serve.” But Flora 717, a worker bee whose “exceedingly large and ugly” appearance distinguishes her from the rest of her caste, is destined to put that motto to the test. Flora observes, questions, and challenges the hive’s strict laws as all the while she rises through the colony’s ranks — from sanitation worker to Queen’s handmaid — undeterred by the brainwashing effects of honey and the all-consuming pheromonal power of Queen’s Love. But honeybee colonies are super-organisms whose survival depends on the suppression of individual desires in service of the common good. Will Flora prove to be the savior of her hive, or the agent of its destruction?

List created 3/23/16 – James Hartmann

Adapted from Nextreads.

Posted in Adult Staff Picks, Reading Lists and tagged , .