Confession: I will read pretty much any book with an animal on the cover. Luckily, I do most of my reading on an iPad, which allows me to save face on the train. (My latest reads have ranged from Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World to Cat Daddy to Love, Life, and Elephants.) Picking only 10 animal books was a pretty tough challenge, so I may have cheated a little and picked 13 titles instead. As usual, I’m also looking for my next read, so definitely let me know if I’ve left your fave off the list. — Amy Azzarito
See my favorite animal books after the jump . . .
1. Born to Run — This limited-edition book (there are only 200) showcases the dogs who run the Iditarod sled race each year. | 2. Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls — I haven’t really been reading fiction lately, but a story about a girl who gets sent to a horse camp during the Depression sounded like it was well within my wheelhouse. I couldn’t stop raving about this book, so now Max is reading it. (Unfortunately, this one isn’t out until June 4th, but you should definitely pre-order, and it will arrive just in time for beach reading.) | 3. Horse Sanctuary — Not only is this book (with a foreword by Temple Grandin) filled with beautiful images of horses, but it also tells the stories of 13 horse sanctuaries across the U.S. Each has its own individual mission, but there’s a shared passion for rescuing horses. This is not your average “horse coffee table book”; this book is something special. (Note: This book will be released on March 26.) | 4. Underwater Dogs — Having a bad day? This one will cheer you up. | 5. Shelter Dogs — photographer Traer Scott took portraits of 50 shelter dogs to raise awareness of animal rescues. This book makes me wish I were a better photographer — what an amazing way to help out shelters. | 6. Charley Harper’s Animal Kingdom — Todd Oldham digs deeper into the Charley Harper archives to bring together illustrations of animals as diverse as bugs, birds and land and sea creatures. The book features more than 300 previously unseen illustrations and spans 60 years of Charley Harper’s work.
Image above: 1. Grace Coddington & Didier Malige: The Catwalk Cats — Grace Coddington and Didier Malige have lived together with a rotating menagerie of cats. This books records that relationship through photographs (Malige’s) and drawings (Coddington’s). (This book is currently out of stock, but there are used copies for sale on Amazon and elsewhere.) | 2. Horses — Known for her portraits of monkeys and bears, this new book from photographer Jill Greenberg is devoted to horses. | 3. Kitty Crafts: Beautifully Designed Projects for a Cat-Friendly Home — Perfect for the cat lover and DIYer, this book has projects ranging from catnip toys and scratching pads to cardboard kitty houses. | 4. Cat Lady Chronicles — Written by a museum curator, this book pairs the memoir of a life with cats with great images of cats in art and in vintage photographs. | 5. Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories for the Animal Kingdom — Interspecies friendships. This book is the definition of cute overload. There’s the African elephant and the sheep, the Asiatic black bear and the black cat and the hippopotamus and the pygmy goat. Each story is guaranteed to tug at your heart strings and make you think about animals’ capacity for empathy. | 6. Julia’s Cats: Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats — I shouldn’t even need to talk you into this one. It’s Julia Child and cats. Done.
Dogs — William Wegman is known for his portraits of dogs. In this book, along with Catherine Johnson, he assumes the role of curator, presenting a collection of more than 400 vintage images of dogs in every setting, from under the Christmas tree to a tiny Chihuahua in a tea cup.