Whether you need a gift for a staunch dog- or cat-person, or someone who treasures all creatures, here are three perfect picks! Discover a cult poet's fondness for felines, rediscover the work of a famed dog portraitist or learn more about sharing space and interacting with animals.
It's likely that Charles Bukowski’s On Cats will prove surprising as well as captivating. After all, the late writer's fans admired his macho-hooligan persona as much as his poems and novels. But with this book of newly published work, the word is out: The man really loved cats. In poems and essays, he shares his admiration, frustration, inspiration and adoration of his cats; he and his wife lived with between four and nine, depending on how many strays they took in. He declares, "A cat is only ITSELF. . . .This is a representative of the strong forces of LIFE that won't let go." And, regarding his art: "Writing is also my cat. Writing lets me face it." Photos throughout show the author's delight in his pets—which just might inspire cat-lovers to become Bukowski fans, and vice versa. On Cats would be a meaningful gift for either, or both.
DARLING DOGS, REVISITED
A flip through Dogs As I See Them is all it will take to convince readers of Lucy Dawson's immense talent . . . and the introduction will inspire dismay when it reveals that Dawson is no longer with us. But as Ann Patchett admiringly notes in the foreword, this book marks the re-publication of a book of drawings "as timely and relevant today as they were when Dawson drew them in England in the 1930s." Dawson was known for her dog-portraits, sold in books; as playing and post cards; and as commissions (including a Christmas card for the Royal Family). It's easy to see why her work captivated then, and why it remains so vibrant today: She wholly captured her subjects in all of their sleepy, hyper, floppy, panting, bone-gnawing glory. The artist's brief stories about the dogs add context and fun. Indeed, there's "upsidedownish" Nanki Poo, "conscientious" George and regal Wanda, who "dislikes [music] of a jazzy nature." Dog-lovers and art aficionados will be thrilled at the chance to discover (or rediscover) Dawson's singular talent.
It's an animal-lover's fantasy: Author Tracey Stewart lives with four dogs, two pigs, three rabbits, a hamster, a parrot, two guinea pigs and two fish, plus her two kids and her husband Jon (yes, that Jon Stewart, former host of “The Daily Show”). Tracey, a former veterinary tech and newly minted proprietor of a rescued-farm-animal sanctuary, shares her wisdom and experience with our furry, scaly and feathered friends in Do Unto Animals. Her passionate belief in the value and power of caring for animals resonates through this super-smart, heartfelt book, beautifully illustrated by Lisel Ashlock, which combines memoir, education and advocacy. For example, "Dog-ese," "Cat-ese," and "The Real Pig Latin" help us speak their (body) language, and Stewart's take on backyard animals is healthy and helpful (she calls them "The Landscaping Team"). Her knowledge of farm animals is likewise helpful and impressive. Animal lovers of all stripes will find this an engaging, useful guide, and a source of boundless inspiration.