According to the Animals

Well, folks, we are definitely into the dog days of summer, when the heat makes us a little loopy. It’s a great time to find reasons to stay out of the heat and do something that doesn’t involve a ton of energy. Reading is perfect – a book is mobile and easy to read in the shade of a tree or beside a fan, and a good one will distract you from feeling the heat.

In honor of the dog days, here are a few titles narrated from an animal’s point of view (note: they’re not all dogs). Told by narrators of different species, these titles offer a unique perspective. Reading a few of these will help while away the lazy hours – but if your pet starts to talk to you, you can still blame the heat and not the novel. (All annotations are from NoveList Plus; check it out for recommendations and more.)

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

  • Nearing the end of his life, Enzo, a dog with a philosopher’s soul, tries to bring together the family, pulled apart by a three year custody battle between daughter Zoe’s maternal grandparents and her father Denny, a race car driver.

Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

  • In a cozy Irish village, when their beloved shepherd, George, is found struck down by a spade, his flock of clever sheep, led by Miss Maple, the smartest sheep in Glennkill, launches its own investigation to find George’s killer among the local village inhabitants.

The Labrador Pact by Matt Haig

  • Struggling with the typical throes of human life with the help of their loyal black Labrador, Prince, the Hunter family is aided in unusual ways by their canine friend when he perceives that they are becoming their own worst enemies.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

  • A satire on totalitarianism in which farm animals overthrow their human owner and set up their own government.

Anonymous Rex by Eric Garcia

  • A down-on-his-luck L.A. private investigator–who also happens to be a dinosaur–explains how the dinosaurs faked their extinction millions of years ago and roam the earth in disguise, while he struggles to uncover the mystery of his partner’s death and overcome his dangerous basil addiction.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

  • In a constant struggle against oppression, a group of rabbits search for peaceful co-existence. Chronicles the adventures of a group of rabbits searching for a safe place to establish a new warren where they can live in peace.

A Dog’s Life by Peter Mayle

  • The author chronicles the exploits of Boy, his clever canine companion, from the dog’s perspective, from his humble beginnings to joining the Mayle household to his adventures throughout France.

The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy

  • A novel told entirely from the perspective of African elephants follows young Mud and her family as they desperately struggle to survive the harsh drought and ivory hunters that threaten their lives.

The Bear Comes Home by Rafi Zabor

  • A saxophone playing bear breaks out of a novelty act and starts a serious jazz career, which alternately lands him in jail, with a recording contract, and in love with a beautiful woman named Iris.

Raptor Red by Robert Bakker

  • After her mate is killed in an attack on a brontosaurus, a female raptor embarks on a perilous year-long odyssey as she copes with a flash flood, migrates to the ocean, finds a new mate, and produces a family of chicks, in a novel set against the exotic prehistoric background of the early Cretaceous.

The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams

  • A large black mongrel named Rowf and a white terrier named Snitter escape from an animal experiment center in England’s Lake District and may be carriers of bubonic plague.

Dog On It by Spencer Quinn

  • Intrepid canine detective Chet accompanies his human police officer partner, Bernie, on a first assignment involving the disappearance of a teenage girl who ran with the wrong crowd, a case that is complicated by Bernie’s dysfunctional personal life.

Frisco Pigeon Mambo by C. D. Payne

  • After a flock of alcohol and tobacco addicted laboratory pigeons who think they are human are set loose in San Francisco by animal rights activists, they search for Sam Spade, hoping that he will return them to their caretaker.

Felidae by Akif Pirncci

  • When Francis, the cynical feline narrator of this sensuous mystery, and his owner Gustav, a hack romance writer, move into the dilapidated house Gustav plans to renovate, Francis detects a strong odor of chemicals and a lingering sense of disaster.

Winkie by Clifford Chase

  • In this debut novel, a mild-mannered teddy bear named Winkie finds himself on the wrong side of America’s war on terror.–From publisher description.

Song of the Crow by Layne Maheu

  • From the moment that he looks down on the ancient gray head of Noah, who is swinging his stone axe, the narrating crow in this epic knows that these creatures called Man are trouble. He senses, too, that the natural order of things is about to change.–From publisher description.

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