100 books like This Animal Body

By Meredith Walters,

Here are 100 books that This Animal Body fans have personally recommended if you like This Animal Body. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Maisie Dobbs

Ellen Barker Author Of East of Troost

From my list on magical books for realists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write and read realistic fiction. I’m not a fan of fantasy, sci-fi, ghost stories, or magical (other than, you know, Tolkien). I don’t want to have to suspend a lot of belief and buy into an alternate reality. And yet, and yet. . . . All these books have a little element of something going on, and they each grabbed me and kept my attention, and I didn’t roll my eyes once. The supernatural is just a little extra kick and, in every case, as believable as it can possibly be. 

Ellen's book list on magical books for realists

Ellen Barker Why did Ellen love this book?

This book is about a private investigator in London in the early 1900s. It is the first of a long series about Maisie’s cases and the people who are dear to her.

This first book gives us an introduction to Maisie and her working-class background, the people who influenced her, and the way she uses her own version of second sight to understand both clients and criminals. Her description of Maisie mimicking someone’s body movements to figure out their motives actually made me try it out.

I also got a strong sense of London during the difficult years of wars and depression and a bedraggled peace. If you enjoy this one, you’ll have a nice backlog to return to whenever you need more.

By Jacqueline Winspear,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Maisie Dobbs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A favorite mystery series of Hillary Clinton (as mentioned in What Happened, The New York Times Book Review, and New York Magazine)
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Agatha Award Winner for Best First Novel
Macavity Award Winner for Best First Novel
Alex Award Winner

Fiercely independent Maisie Dobbs has recently set herself up as a private detective. Such a move may not seem especially startling. But this is 1929, and Maisie is exceptional in many ways.

Having started as a maid to the London aristocracy, studied her way to Cambridge and served as a nurse in…


Book cover of The Sentence

Ellen Barker Author Of East of Troost

From my list on magical books for realists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write and read realistic fiction. I’m not a fan of fantasy, sci-fi, ghost stories, or magical (other than, you know, Tolkien). I don’t want to have to suspend a lot of belief and buy into an alternate reality. And yet, and yet. . . . All these books have a little element of something going on, and they each grabbed me and kept my attention, and I didn’t roll my eyes once. The supernatural is just a little extra kick and, in every case, as believable as it can possibly be. 

Ellen's book list on magical books for realists

Ellen Barker Why did Ellen love this book?

I love so many things about this book, starting with the title (double-entendre!) and the setting (bookstore!).

I love the snippets of real life (e.g., it’s the author’s bookstore). And then there’s the ghost, Flora. Erdrich does such a good job with Flora. This is not the movie Ghostbusters and it’s not the TV show Ghosts. Flora is just an unseen character, a former customer who keeps hanging out in the bookstore in the time of Covid. Erdrich weaves both Covid and the ghost into the story so smoothly—the book is not about either one of them, but they are both in the background and color everything going on, leaving me with the impression that the ghost is just one more part of the fever dream that was 2020.

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Sentence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2022
PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR OF THE NIGHT WATCHMAN

-----------------------------------------------------

In this stunning and timely novel, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich creates a wickedly funny ghost story, a tale of passion, of a complex marriage and of a woman's relentless errors.

Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store's most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls' Day, but…


Book cover of Merchants Bridge

Ellen Barker Author Of East of Troost

From my list on magical books for realists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write and read realistic fiction. I’m not a fan of fantasy, sci-fi, ghost stories, or magical (other than, you know, Tolkien). I don’t want to have to suspend a lot of belief and buy into an alternate reality. And yet, and yet. . . . All these books have a little element of something going on, and they each grabbed me and kept my attention, and I didn’t roll my eyes once. The supernatural is just a little extra kick and, in every case, as believable as it can possibly be. 

Ellen's book list on magical books for realists

Ellen Barker Why did Ellen love this book?

This one gets all the way to the end before the mysterious creeps in, where it felt completely natural.

I find Trafford’s novels both engrossing and enlightening—genre-merging legal/psychological thrillers that are also thoughtful and literary. I loved the books prior to this one, but this is the one that first introduces a little supernatural healing that was surprising and then . . . good. Intriguing. He carries it forward into the second book of the Dark River series.

The bridge in this book is an actual bridge over an actual river (the Mississippi) connecting Missouri and Illinois at St. Louis. The story is fiction, involving a body that washed up on the Missouri side of the river, which sets the stage for all that follows.

Book cover of If I Could Die

Ellen Barker Author Of East of Troost

From my list on magical books for realists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write and read realistic fiction. I’m not a fan of fantasy, sci-fi, ghost stories, or magical (other than, you know, Tolkien). I don’t want to have to suspend a lot of belief and buy into an alternate reality. And yet, and yet. . . . All these books have a little element of something going on, and they each grabbed me and kept my attention, and I didn’t roll my eyes once. The supernatural is just a little extra kick and, in every case, as believable as it can possibly be. 

Ellen's book list on magical books for realists

Ellen Barker Why did Ellen love this book?

The most supernatural of this list, this book has occasional short chapters (usually just a paragraph or two) by the angel who is shepherding a dying man toward death.

These little interludes give the reader flickers of insight into the author’s vision of dying without anything like proselytizing. The engrossing overarching story is one of friends and family in a small Southern town and one woman’s struggle with her identity and her religion, again without judgment.

There are no easy answers – this book is real and heartwarming at the same time that it is heartbreaking. 

By K S Dunigan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If I Could Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"There's a set time, a season, for everything under the heavens," Tobiel said. "You can ask God to do something numerous times. Get others to ask for you. And He still will not move until the set time, when everything is beautiful. Including you." --from IF I COULD DIE

John "Dusty" Wilson's life is falling apart. His wife Lisa has left him, and he's having a hard time convincing her to come back home. When his alcoholic uncle's health fails and he's faced with more difficulties, Dusty wonders if God is the refuge that he needs or the source of…


Book cover of The Genius of Birds

Anders Gyllenhaal Author Of A Wing and a Prayer: The Race to Save Our Vanishing Birds

From my list on what’s happening to our birds.

Why am I passionate about this?

A decade ago, we were living in Washington, D.C., wrapped up as journalists in the daily news cycle. We began camping to get out of the city and quickly became fascinated with birds. We’ve been writing about birds ever since, on our website, FlyingLessons.US: What we’re learning from the birds,” and now with a book about the extraordinary work across the hemisphere to save birds. There’s a storehouse of books, articles and guides on birdwatching, but very little on what’s happening to bird populations overall. We believe the story of birds is one of the best ways to open a window on the environmental issues that are among the pivotal topics of our time.

Anders' book list on what’s happening to our birds

Anders Gyllenhaal Why did Anders love this book?

Each of the five books on my list come at what’s happening to birds from a very different angle.

The Genius of Birds, a blockbuster by one of the world’s leading nature writers, tells a string of stories that help us understand why birds are both so remarkable and so crucial to the globe.

The thrust of the book is that birds are far smarter than once thought. But these chapters go much deeper than that into how birds are crafty, have tremendous memories, and are even capable of deceit.

Ackerman followed up The Genuis of Birds with an equally fascinating book, The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent and Think, that digs into the daily lives of birds.

By Jennifer Ackerman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Genius of Birds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Lovely, celebratory. For all the belittling of ‘bird brains,’ [Ackerman] shows them to be uniquely impressive machines . . .” —New York Times Book Review 

“A lyrical testimony to the wonders of avian intelligence.” —Scientific American

An award-winning science writer tours the globe to reveal what makes birds capable of such extraordinary feats of mental prowess
 
Birds are astonishingly intelligent creatures. According to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence. In The Genius of Birds, acclaimed author Jennifer Ackerman explores their newly discovered brilliance and how it came about.

As she…


Book cover of Fifteen Dogs

Sharon Ledwith Author Of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

From my list on immersing you into another time and place.

Why am I passionate about this?

Escape to the past and have a blast is definitely my motto as a Canadian young adult author. With a penchant for escapism fiction, I’ve always loved books that pull me into different places and adverse time periods. Enter time traveling and original storytelling. Legends, myths, and mysteries of the unexplained thrill me. A lover of anything arcane and ancient mysteries, I delve into our written past to give my fiction the facts I need to immerse readers into my imaginary universe—one book at a time.

Sharon's book list on immersing you into another time and place

Sharon Ledwith Why did Sharon love this book?

Imagine a bet between the Greek gods Hermes and Apollo who both agree to grant human intelligence to a group of dogs staying overnight in a veterinary clinic. The wager? If the dogs end up more unhappy than humans with their newfound consciousness, then Hermes must bow to a year of servitude to Apollo. The catch? When the dogs find they’re more capable of complex thought, the pack is split between the old ‘dog’ ways, and those who embrace the change. Not used to human thoughts and feelings, the dogs become divided while struggling between their old familiar world and a strange new one. Though I found this fantasy novel disturbing at times, Alexis proves that you can indeed teach an old genre new tricks.

By André Alexis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fifteen Dogs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Finalist for the 2015 Toronto Book Awards

Winner of the 2015 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize

"[Alexis] devises an inventive romp through the nature of humanity in this beautiful, entertaining read ... A clever exploration of our essence, communication, and how our societies are organized." - Kirkus Reviews

"This might be the best set-up of the spring." - The Globe & Mail

"Andre Alexis has established himself as one of our preeminent voices." - Toronto Star

- I wonder, said Hermes, what it would be like if animals had human intelligence.
- I'll…


Book cover of The Mind of the Horse: An Introduction to Equine Cognition

Janet Jones Author Of Horse Brain, Human Brain: The Neuroscience of Horsemanship

From my list on horse-and-human teams.

Why am I passionate about this?

Horses have helped me negotiate the world since early childhood. I’ve worked as a horse trainer, show competitor, catch rider, barn grunt, and riding instructor. As a UCLA-trained brain scientist and full professor, I also taught human perception, language, memory, and thought for almost 25 years. Combining these interests produced an “aha” moment, leading to my development of brain-based horsemanship. Successful horse-and-human teams require an understanding of how prey and predator brains interact. With that understanding, both species learn to communicate mutually via body language. We humans cooperate in this fashion and degree with no other species of prey animal—it’s a rare and special bond! 

Janet's book list on horse-and-human teams

Janet Jones Why did Janet love this book?

This book surveys and explores the facts behind how horses perceive and think. Leblanc was the first to collect equine research that explores the horse’s mentality. It’s one of the academic references that helped me create, test, and apply my ideas for my own book. I like the way he pulls research together and presents it with care and accuracy. 

By Michel-Antoine Leblanc, Giselle Weiss (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mind of the Horse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Horses were first domesticated about 6,000 years ago on the vast Eurasian steppe extending from Mongolia to the Carpathian Mountains. Yet only in the last two decades have scientists begun to explore the specific mental capacities of these animals. Responding to a surge of interest in fields from ethology to comparative psychology and evolutionary biology, Michel-Antoine Leblanc presents an encyclopedic synthesis of scientific knowledge about equine behavior and cognition. The Mind of the Horse provides experts and enthusiasts alike with an up-to-date understanding of how horses perceive, think about, and adapt to their physical and social worlds.

Much of what…


Book cover of Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet

Michelle Waitzman Author Of Be as Happy as Your Dog: 16 Dog-Tested Ways to Be Happier Using Pawsitive Psychology

From my list on understanding what your dog is thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a lifelong dog lover and the author of four nonfiction books. I currently live with two rescue dogs, Marlowe and Nuka (the unofficial co-authors of my book). I decided to write a self-help book after noticing two trends during the recent pandemic: people were struggling to feel happy and optimistic, and people were adding a dog to their household, many for the first time. We all marvel at how our dogs find it so easy to enjoy life, and I was determined to find out what we could learn from them! During my research, I learned so much about how dogs think and feel, and I love sharing this information with other dog lovers.

Michelle's book list on understanding what your dog is thinking

Michelle Waitzman Why did Michelle love this book?

Dr. John Bradshaw is a (now retired) anthrozoologist. That means he spent his career studying animal-human interaction.

His bestselling book about dogs is a great overview of how dogs function. He delves into the ways in which dogs are like wolves, and the ways they are different. He talks about the unique ability of dogs to form strong bonds with both other dogs and humans—to essentially have two “packs” under the right circumstances.

I found his insights very helpful and his writing style easy to follow and engaging.

By John Bradshaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dog Sense as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dogs have been mankind's faithful companions for tens of thousands of years, yet today they are regularly treated as either pack-following wolves or furry humans. The truth is, dogs are neither- and our misunderstanding has put them in serious crisis. What dogs really need is a spokesperson, someone who will assert their specific needs. Renowned anthrozoologist Dr. John Bradshaw has made a career of studying human-animal interactions, and in Dog Sense he uses the latest scientific research to show how humans can live in harmony with- not just dominion over- their four-legged friends. From explaining why positive reinforcement is a…


Book cover of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

Lars Chittka Author Of The Mind of a Bee

From my list on animal intelligence – from aliens to octopuses.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Professor of Sensory and Behavioural Ecology at Queen Mary College of the University of London and also the founder of the Research Centre for Psychology at Queen Mary. I've been fascinated by the strange world of insects since childhood and after taking the first glance into a beehive, I was hooked – I instantly knew that I was looking into a form of alien civilization. Since becoming a scientist, I have explored their strange perceptual worlds as well as their intelligence, and most recently the question of their consciousness. I hope you find wonderful insights in the books that I have suggested and a new respect for the animal minds that surround us. 

Lars' book list on animal intelligence – from aliens to octopuses

Lars Chittka Why did Lars love this book?

This captivating book dismantles the prevalent notion that various facets of human intelligence are exclusive to our species.

Through a compelling array of examples spanning the animal kingdom, the author illuminates how skills like crafting tools, understanding mental perspectives, recognizing oneself, and even exhibiting cultural practices are not confined to humans and their nearest kin. Instead, these abilities have independently emerged in a diverse array of other creatures.

Consequently, the book serves as a stimulating challenge to the idea of human superiority, offering numerous indications that when an animal's environment demands it, evolution is inclined to yield intelligent behavior in a myriad of manifestations.

By Frans de Waal,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed as a classic, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? explores the oddities and complexities of animal cognition-in crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, chimpanzees, and bonobos-to reveal how smart animals really are, and how we've underestimated their abilities for too long. Did you know that octopuses use coconut shells as tools, that elephants classify humans by gender and language, and that there is a young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame? Fascinating, entertaining, and deeply informed, de Waal's landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you…


Book cover of What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins

Emma Marris Author Of Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World

From my list on what it is like to be a wild animal.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written about the environment as a journalist since 2005, for magazines and newspapers including National Geographic, The New York Times, and Outside. For my last book, I wanted to write about animals as individuals—not just as units in a species, the way they are often thought of by conservationists. Diving into research about animal selfhood was an amazing journey. It helped shape my book, but it also changed the way I see the world around me—and who and what I think of as “people”! 

Emma's book list on what it is like to be a wild animal

Emma Marris Why did Emma love this book?

To research my book I read lots of books about new findings in animal cognition.

Animals are smarter than science used to give them credit for, more emotional than science ever dared believe, and they even have personalities. But for me, the most mind-blowing of the many books I read on this topic was this book about the inner lives of fish.

Like so many others, I had assumed they were pretty dim-witted, and even believed they didn’t feel pain. Not so! This book explains the new science of what fish lives are like and it is truly amazing how much they are like us—and we like them.

By Jonathan Balcombe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked What a Fish Knows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

AS FEATURED IN SEASPIRACY

An Observer Book of the Year 2017

A Sunday Times must read

A New York Times Bestseller

Endorsed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama - 'Balcombe vividly shows that fish have feelings and deserve consideration and protection like other sentient beings'

What's the truth behind the old adage that goldfish have a three-second memory? Do fishes think? Can they recognize the humans who peer back at them from above the surface of the water? Myth-busting biologist and animal behaviour expert Jonathan Balcombe takes us under the sea, through streams and estuaries to the other side of…


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