The Animal Reading List: Something for Everyone

“I want to read a good book about animals” could mean many things: a book about chimpanzees’ behavior in the wild, or how to raise kittens, or the debate over vivisection, or Winnie the Pooh. This summer reading list aims to satisfy that wide variety of interests with a range of books that share nothing but the subject matter of animals. Happy reading!



By Neil Abramson (Center Street/Hachette Book Group, 2011)

If you don’t hold with crying in public, save this novel for after you get home from the beach and for the love of all that is holy, do not read it on the train. I got sideswiped reading it on a step machine at the gym, and it wasn’t pretty.

Built on the strength of communication and relationships between humans and other animals, “Unsaid” tells the touching story of a mixed-species family grieving the loss of a beloved member, while examining thorny subjects like the legal treatment of animals as property, vivisection and euthanizing pets. This is a good story that may teach you something new in the course of carrying you through the emotional struggles of sympathetic and vulnerable characters struggling with regret, loss and love.


“Animal Impact: Secrets Proven to Achieve Results and Move the World”

By Caryn Ginsberg (Priority Ventures Group, 2011)

“Animal Impact” is a single-volume crash course on marketing for advocates. It’s written for animal advocates, but its principles would apply just as effectively to other causes.

Author Ginsberg has an MBA from Stanford and has taught marketing. She believes that everything you need to know to create and conduct a successful marketing campaign can be summed up in the acronym “ACHIEVE:”

Action and Audience

Create Benefits and Cut Barriers

How to Say Something to Someone Instead of Nothing to Everyone

I Am Not My Target Audience

Education Is Not Enough

Voice Matters

Evaluate, Don’t Guess

Each tactic gets its own chapter, complete with inspiring examples of other advocates, including individual activists, shelters, policy groups, and others, implementing it effectively.

If you’re an animal lover who wants to spend time outdoors this summer, read this book, plan your campaign, then get out there and move the world!

“Good News for Animals? Christian Approaches to Animal Well-Being”

Edited by Charles Pinches and Jay B. McDaniel (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2008)

Theologians and Christians can really sink their teeth into this exploration of Christianity’s stance on non-human animals. A collection of 14 essays, “Good News” considers whether there is a Christian obligation to treat animals well. The general trend among the authors is that there is a responsibility to improve conditions for animals, and some even endorse a reading of the Bible that describes the end of days as a harmonious paradise in which even the lions are vegan. On the other hand, most argue against any theory of animal rights. If your idea of summer fun is a strenuous wrestling bout with the angels, this is the book for you.


“Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet”

By Jack Norris & Virginia Messina (Da Capo Press/Lifelong Books, 2011)

This book is a densely-packed treasure chest of nutritional information for vegans and those who feed them. It includes all you need to know about plant-based nutrients: their effects, their sources, their suggested daily intake amounts, their interaction with other foods. The authors advocate veganism but address its shortcomings as a diet (while arguing that other diets are even more wanting), and they provide scientific back-up for their recommendations. For those feeding hungry vegans there are easy, tasty recipes, and for non-vegans considering taking the leap there are transition tips and nudges. For experienced vegans there is such a trove of information that you are bound to learn something new and important about eating right.

“Out of Breath”

By Blair Richmond (Ashland Creek Press, 2011)

Let’s end with an actual beach read. Technically a Young Adult novel, “Out of Breath” is just a good old page-turner that includes a love triangle among an animal-loving girl on the run, a sensitive vegan guy, and a suave, handsome…vampire. This age-old formula is familiar from recent phenoms “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games,” but that doesn’t make it any less fun for adults or teens.

The first volume of a planned trilogy, the book doesn’t tie up all of its loose ends and will leave you awaiting the next installment. There is a mysterious murder in our heroine’s past that remains unexplained, and even her reason for running is not entirely clear. Prepare for a fun read that will leave you hungry for more.

Related Stories:

“Dumb Dog” Nurses Abandoned Pups

Rhode Island May Provide Advocates for Animals in Court Cases

Speciesism and Veganism: Transcending Politics and Religion



Lynn D.
Lynn D6 years ago

I read almost a book a day and just love reading! thanks!

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson6 years ago

thanks for the reading ideas! I personally loved "The Art of Racing in the Rain"... amazing dog lover book

Gita Sasi Dharan
Gita Sasi Dharan6 years ago

Thank you very much. I really appreciate this post.

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Sheri D.
Sheri D6 years ago

Thanks for the list.

Jessica J.
Jessica J6 years ago

I've ordered Unsaid, and would recommend 'cats in the belfry' by Doreen Tovey. published in 1957 it is one of the funniest books about cats I know....

Carolanne Powell
Carolanne Powell6 years ago

A sample of my favourites: Animal Grace by Mary Lou Randour, Heart To Heart by Pea Horsley, Spoken in Whispers by Nicci Mackay, Cat Talk by Sonya Fitzpatrick, Angel by Donna Kelleher & Horses Talking by Magrit Coates. Happy reading fellow animal lovers Xx

Rebecca Simon
Rebecca Simon6 years ago

I'd recommend Disgrace and Elizabeth Costello, by J.M. Coetzee... Also, Zoontologies, edited by Cary Wolfe, and The Death of the Animal, ed Peter Singer (though by no means a Utilitarian approach)... all of these i'm currently using for my dissertation on the biopolitics of witnessing animal trauma.

rene davis
irene davis6 years ago

hope it helps groups.

Kathy K.
Kathy K6 years ago

Unsaid was a wonderful novel. I recommend it. Check out Redemption and Irreconcilable Differences by Nathan Winograd.