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10 Must-Read Books About Animals: From Memoirs to Mysteries and More!

Featuring dogs, horses, bears, cats and birds, these books are sure to please!

We just can’t get enough of animals — activities like spending time with our beloved pets, curling up on the couch to tune into Animal Planet and scrolling our social media feeds watching animal videos always bring us joy. Then there are the countless books about animals out there! To help you get your daily dose of cute in book form, we’ve rounded up must-read novels, memoirs, mysteries and love stories featuring an animal as a main character. And we’re not just talking dogs and cats! Keep reading for must-read books about animals, from the clever and charming octopus in Remarkably Bright Creatures to the mischievously big-hearted pup in Marley and Me and the magnificent stallion Lexington in Horse. Each unique and captivating read shares poignant and heartfelt stories of the incredible animals that live among us.

Lost, Found, & Forever by Victoria Schade

Lost, Found, & Forever by Victoria Schade
Berkley

Filled with sweet charm and humor, this heartwarming novel follows Justine Becker and her rescue dog, Spencer. When Justine discovers a social media post of a man trying to locate a dog that looks suspiciously like her pup, she’s shocked. She makes plans to meet up with Spencer’s suspected previous owner, Griffin McCabe. What follows is a heated custody battle. But things start to shift as feelings arise and they realize Spencer might really need them both.

What readers are saying: “Other than when I was a child, I’ve never lived with a dog, but this story grabbed me from the beginning because of the dog’s character and his supporting cast. I am certain many will enjoy this book at least as much as I did.”

Bear by Julia Phillips

Bear by Julia Phillips (books with animals)
Hogarth

From bestselling author Julia Phillips comes another page-turning tale. Sisters Sam and Elena have always dreamed of leaving their small island off of the Washington coast. Then one night, Sam spots a bear swimming in the water. It later shows up near their home, scaring Sam, who is convinced now is the time to finally leave. But Elena is enchanted by the giant animal and starts reconsidering their escape, causing everything to change for the sisters. What follows is a beautiful and haunting tale about the bonds of sisterhood and the mysteries of the animals around us.

What readers are saying: “The writing is just lovely, haunting and restrained with themes of sisterhood, ambition, desire and class woven throughout. Highly recommend.”

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
Ecco

A story about rediscovering love after loss with the help of a giant octopus? Yes, please! Debut author Shelby Van Pelt serves up a charming novel about an older woman’s quest to solve a mystery from her past with the help of Marcellus, a misanthropic eight-legged creature who also serves as a first-person narrator. Creative, entertaining and inspiring — you won’t want to put it down!

What readers are saying: “I absolutely adored Marcellus the octopus,” raves Carissa Mosness, Woman’s World Assistant Digital Editor. “His relationship with Tova and the world was so sweet and pure.”

Pup Fiction by Laurien Berenson

Pup Fiction by Laurien Berenson (books with animals)
Kensington

In this fun and quirky canine mystery, dog show champ and amateur sleuth Melanie Travis sends her sons off to the Graceland School summer camp. But the camp’s owner, Emily Grace, a trusted friend of Melanie’s, starts acting weird when three Dalmatian puppies show up at her door. When Emily’s estranged ex is found dead in the woods, Melanie decides to use the clues to find the culprit and prove Emily’s innocence!

What readers are saying: “I love the Melanie Travis series, and not just because it includes dogs. The story in Pup Fiction was well-written, with just enough false clues to keep you guessing until the very end.”

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
Berkley

This captivating and charming tale follows Nana the inquisitive cat as he travels around Japan with his owner, Satoru, who finds himself on a quest to find his feline friend a new home. Along the way, Nana learns about his human companion’s past and the bond he has shared with three friends. A heartwarming blend of friendship and new beginnings.

What readers are saying: “I start to get a bit stir-crazy during this time of year,” says Shay Trotter, Woman’s World Associate Editor. “I felt like I was taken along on the journey as I read. The story reminded me of how powerful friendship can be.”

Crow Talk by Eileen Garvin

Crow Talk by Eileen Garvin (books with animals)
Dutton

Bestselling author of The Music of Bees Eileen Garvin has penned a poignant novel that centers on two women,a boy and a crow family. Frankie O’Neill is a lonely ornithologist working on her thesis, and Anne Ryan is an Irish musician, far from home, raising her son, Aiden, who refuses to speak. They all wind up in Beauty Bay, a stunning community of summer homes on the shores of June Lake in the Pacific Northwest. Then, when Frankie finds an injured baby crow, a journey toward hope and healing for herself, Anne and Aiden begins.

What readers are saying: “There is no real romance in the novel, yet it is a perfect love story. There are engaging characters and well-developed relationships between parents and children, friends, neighbors and partners. The environment shapes the characters as both a healing force and something to be reckoned with. Delightful!”

A Case of Cat and Mouse by Sofie Kelly

A Case of Cat and Mouse by Sofie Kelly
Berkley

Bestselling author Sofie Kelly returns with the 12th installment in her Magical Cats series. In Mayville Heights, a reboot of a popular baking show is being filmed, and librarian Kathleen Paulson is working as an advisor on historical facts for the show. But when Kathleen finds one of the judges dead, she and her furry friends, Hercules and Owen, must put all paws on deck to find the killer — and fast!

What readers are saying: “This is one of my favorite series and this book is a prime example of why. The author keeps the series fresh and you’ll be drawn into the book from the beginning. This book is well-written with wonderful characters.”

Horse by Geraldine Brooks

Horse by Geraldine Brooks (books with animals)
Viking

This Pulitzer Prize winning novel follows Jarret, an enslaved man in 1850 Kentucky; Martha Jackson, a gallery owner in 1954 New York City; and Jess, a Smithsonian scientist in 2019 in Washington D.C. The three might seem wildly different, but what connects them is the amazing story of the record-breaking thoroughbred horse, Lexington. An astonishing, mind-bending tale.

What readers are saying: “It took me some pages to get into it but then it was WOW. I really enjoyed the story line and history of this book. We can see that it was based on real characters and a true story but the twists and turns kept me hooked.”

Marley & Me by John Grogan

Marley and Me by John Grogan
William Morrow

This touching autobiographical story follows newspaper columnist John and his wife, Jenny, as they navigate their new marriage and life. They soon bring home a mischievous yellow lab puppy named Marley. Despite being expelled from obedience school and wreaking havoc, the pup finds a place in their hearts. What they don’t expect is for the 97-pound Labrador Retriever to also teach them unforgettable lessons about devotion, loyalty and unconditional love.

What readers are saying: “If I’m feeling lonely or missing my far-away family, I love rereading some of my favorite books,” says Shay Trotter, Woman’s World Associate Editor. “The story was just as hysterical and full of heart the second time around. It reminded me that even if life brings you down at times, those sweet, small moments with loved ones lift you up.”

Lucky Leap Day by Ann Marie Walker

Lucky Leap Day by Ann Marie Walker
Sourcebooks Casablanca

This swoon-worthy love story follows Cara Kennedy, a screenwriter who wakes up one day married to man she just met. Now, she has no choice but to travel with her husband, Finn, and his dog, Oscar, from Ireland to L.A. for the most important meeting of her life. The story that follows sends readers on a hilarious, sweet journey.

What readers are saying: “I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with Cara and Finn (not to forget Oscar!)! They were a great couple, charming and funny! I read this book in less than a day, and I laughed and loved and even shed a couple of tears.”


For more book recommendations and author interviews, check out these stories:

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