When you don’t know what gift to buy, a book is often the perfect answer
By Kim Campbell Thornton
Andrews McMeel Syndication
It’s that time of year again — the season of gift giving. We gave up long ago trying to find just the right trinket for family and friends; we just give books instead. There is always something to suit anyone’s interests. If you’re buying for pet lovers this year — or for yourself — there’s a “bone-anza” of books from which to choose.
Raise a glass to working-class cats employed in security, brand management and customer relations at breweries, distilleries and wineries. You’ll giggle your way through Brad Thomas Parsons’ “Distillery Cats,” profiles of 36 feline members of the organic pest control brigade. With its charming illustrations, quotes from cat lovers and drink recipes, it’s a spirited choice for anyone who appreciates cats and cocktails.
Does your cat have mojo? He will if Jackson Galaxy, star of “My Cat From Hell,” has anything to say about it. Cat mojo is all about confidence, Galaxy says, in his new book “Total Cat Mojo: The Ultimate Guide To Life With Your Cat.” Filled with Cat Daddy Facts about feline genetics, anatomy, habits and history, the crash course in cats, co-authored with animal behavior expert Mikel Delgado, Ph.D., covers the whys and wherefores of cat behavior, physical and emotional needs, and how to troubleshoot tabby tizzies.
First-time dog owners will benefit from “Modern Dog Parenting” by trainer and behavior consultant Sarah Hodgson. There’s advice on understanding canine behavior, dealing with dog dramas; recognizing fears; providing good grooming, first aid and nutrition; and, of course, having fun together.
John Shivik didn’t like cats. Then Pinguino entered his life. The relationship they developed led to the wildlife biologist’s study of animal personalities, presented in his book “Mousy Cats and Sheepish Coyotes.” With humor, heart and science, he explores the bonds between humans and animals. “All of us would do better if we learned to accept individual personality in all animals, even when it means giving up a little of our own individuality,” he writes.
Here’s one for the murder-mystery fans. At a Christmas tree farm, Melanie Travis finds a surprise beneath one of the trees — a dead body guarded by a shivering Maltese. Travis finds herself plunged into a mystery as she seeks to identify the man and notify his family. In “Wagging Through the Snow,” the 21st of the series, author Laurien Berenson weaves together mystery, humor, dogs (of course!) and the effects of alcoholism and homelessness on families to create a short but sweet holiday tale.
Readers with a strong interest in the science behind the workings of the brain will appreciate “What It’s Like to Be a Dog: And Other Adventures in Animal Neuroscience.” Author Gregory Berns, who trained dogs to willingly enter (and lie quietly in) an MRI scanner so he could better understand how they thought, follows up by addressing the complexity of animal intelligence and emotions.
Remember ultramarathoner Dion Leonard, who unexpectedly acquired a canine teammate during a 155-mile race through China’s Gobi Desert last year? His book “Finding Gobi” chronicles the story of how the little stray dog attached herself to him during the race, determined not to fall behind, and how he grew to love her. But love is never easy, and Leonard encountered numerous obstacles to bringing Gobi home to Edinburgh, not least of which was her mysterious disappearance after the race, miraculous recovery and a four-month quarantine in China before they could go home together. He writes: “… from the moment I said yes to Gobi, my life has been different. She has added to all the good things in my life and brought healing to some of the bad.”