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I blame Dr Doolittle!

August 7, 2013

cats are reading a book What does #furread mean to me?

My first thoughts are of paranormal romance, fantasy and animal stories (look cute photo of cat reading. Perfect #furread image!)

Now you may be thinking what am I blaming Dr Doolittle for?

I confess I am a paranormal romance and urban fantasy addict(!) and I blame Dr Doolittle for my love affair with paranormal themes and fantasy reading.

This is my (slightly twisted) logic – growing up I read all of the Dr Doolittle books by Hugh Lofting and loved them – the animals talked and behaved exactly like people and the drawings are so cute and memorable

I became fascinated with talking animals and ones that acted like people and read whatever I could find – I remember Harry’s Mad by Dick King-Smith (of Babe fame) was one of the funniest books ever.

Imagining what animals may be thinking about humans and what they talk about with other animals was intriguing and opened up a whole new world.  I then wanted to learn more about animals in general so I started to branch out.

James Herriot in FryslânI loved animal stories that featured unusual situations/locations and anthropomorphic animals, my favourite authors were James Herriot (All creatures great and small and others), Gerald Durrell (Catch me a Colobus – one of the first books to make me laugh out loud in public!) and Willard Price (the Adventure books). – all amazing Furreads, best of all there are now film versions of Herriot and Durrell books.

Animal stories either fictionalised or not offer insights into the Animal Kingdom, but don’t forget that David Attenborough and others have made some amazing documentaries – for light relief there is always the Eddie Murphy Dr Doolittle movies. The play aspect of Read Watch Play may be a little more difficult but there is always Hungry Hippo and Angry Birds!

Figwok Figwok Fig Fig FigwokEventually my taste in subject matter changed and I started to think about the other side of Dr Doolittle books – animals that talk and act like us are not your typical definition of paranormal but it is not exactly “normal” either. This led to starting to read more books with ‘different’ (fantastical) themes and watching sci-fi movies, who doesn’t love the original Star Wars movies – Ewoks and Chewbacca!!

Mercedes Lackey writes many wonderful fantasy books, there is even a whole series that feature ‘Companions’ magical telepathic beings that look exactly like blue-eyed white horses, very appropriate for Furreads.  Anne McCaffrey, another great author, is most known for her fantastic ‘Dragonriders of Pern’ books but she also has written ‘furry’ reads, ‘Doona’, ‘Catteni’, ‘Petaybee’ and ‘Barque cats’. Fantasy and science fiction lends itself so well to games that there is no point trying to list them, it would be endless – Dungeons and Dragons and World of Warcraft come to mind.

Werewolf awakeningAlong came boys and I started reading romance books and discovered the best of both worlds – paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

Now vampires are OK (hard to get past the whole dead and needing blood thing) but shape shifters are so much more diverse and interesting, werewolves, leopard and lion shifters to name just a few.

My favourite authors that write paranormal romance and urban fantasy are Ilona Andrews (all kinds of shifters – would not recommend dating these vampires though), Christine Feehan (vampires and shifters), Gail Carriger (werewolves and steampunk – amazing characters and stories) and Sherrilyn Kenyon (vampires and shifters who protect against rogue vampires).

So as you can see it all started with Dr Doolittle…well maybe! Regardless, if you want to explore Furreads, there are all sorts of stories to consider – not everything has to be paranormal in nature.  The spectrum of reads is as diverse as we (and other animals) are – the only limit is our imagination.

Suzanne Micallef

Information Access Librarian – Parramatta City Library

One Comment leave one →
  1. Christina Steiner permalink
    September 26, 2013 2:45 pm

    It’s amazing list of good reading materials. Thanks! CS

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