Weekly Geeks 2009-15: It’s all about animals

This week’s Weekly Geeks: How many of us remember a favorite pet from our childhood? Or have enjoyed visiting the zoo? Or relish in walking in the woods and hearing birdsong, or seeing a deer leap away through the brush? How many of us have been thrilled by a soaring eagle? How often have we sought the comfort of a dog or cat, or wept tears of loss when forced to say good-bye to a furred friend?
We are surrounded by our fellow creatures and often our lives are enriched by their presence, whether it be sharing our homes with them or simply being blessed to see them in passing.
This week you are asked to share books (fiction or nonfiction) and/or movies which center around an animal or animals.

  • Which are your favorites?
  • Which touched your heart the most?
  • Which have found their way onto your wish lists or TBR stacks?
  • Is there a childhood favorite?
  • Have you ever named a pet after an animal from a book or movie?


Oh my, I’m not thrilled with this week’s topic. I have to out myself as someone who’s not too keen on animals or pets and I don’t like books with animals either. Whenever I read a blurb that tells me that an animal plays a key part I give the book a miss. That being said, I’m sure I can come up with a few books that have animals in them (I suppose werewolves or dragons don’t count, do they?).

How about:

How to travel with a salmon by Umberto Eco

Admittedly the salmon is dead and smoked (if I remember correctly), but it used to be a live animal once. I strongly recommend those essays, even if you think Eco is not to your liking.

Then there is…

Felidae by Akif Pirincci

This one is with cats as characters etc.

From amazon editorial reviews: A clever, offbeat thriller in which the sleuth and most of the other main characters are cats, this first novel by Turkish-born Pirincci, who lives in Bonn, won Germany’s prize for best crime novel of the year in 1990. As an allegory on Germany’s Nazi past, it is facile and ambivalent. The detective/narrator, Francis, an irrepressibly curious house cat, deduces that whoever is murdering the neighborhood tabbys has a warped mind and is attempting to breed a "super race" of felines. After discovering a fanatical cult of self-flagellating felines who worship a martyred cat, Claudandus, Francis is aided by Pascal, a cat who uses a computer, in unearthing another clue–the journal of a half-mad professor who performed sadistic laboratory experiments on cats. The corpses of countless feline victims are thrown into a catacomb guarded by the Persian cat Jesaja, a pathetic dupe who prays both to Yahweh (god of the Hebrews) and to "our blessed Prophet," the murderer, believing that he is doing the Lord’s will.

13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers
Walter Moers is extremely funny and this is one of the funniest books ever. Tears were streaming down my face half the time I was reading, I laughed so hard.

From amazon editorial reviews: This novel opens with the title character’s first memory: as a cub floating in the ocean with a nutshell for a life raft, he heads straight for a giant whirlpool threatening to suck him down. After he’s rescued by a boatload of Lilliputian pirates, Bluebear enters into a life (or 13½ lifetimes) filled with humor and adventure. Each life has a different challenge to overcome, pitting him against the likes of headless giants and storytelling contests. The book is one part Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth and two parts Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Each adventure mixes fantasy, science fiction, and fables in a satirical cocktail that readers can’t help but gulp down. The quirky writing is definitely strong enough to carry itself, but Moers includes several black-and-white illustrations that enhance the whimsy. With so many little side trips in Bluebear’s narrative, the story might frustrate those who prefer straight-line plots. But this is the kind of tale that readers have to just sit back and enjoy, wherever it takes them. The ending does tie the loose threads together. A wild, fun-filled ride.


Animal Farm by George Orwell

Everybody knows Animal Farm, so I don’t need to say a thing.


Other than that I try to stay away from animals as much as possible. The only exception might be Issa’s haiku which deal with animals a lot. One of my favourites is this one:

the lover cats
bluntly go
their separate ways

When I read that one for the first time it was in German, and translations of haiku vary a lot. Even different translators of the same language come up with totally different stuff, translators from different languages even more so. When I looked for the English translation at first I didn’t even recognize the haiku as the one I was looking for, :-). But I think it is the right one.


The German meaning would be something along the lines of “Cats in love, go home, looking smug”. Different, huh? It doesn’t even convey the same atmosphere, but I still like it.

As to films: The film that I’m going to watch voluntarily that has an animal as a main character has yet to be made. Wait a minute, not true, I did watch “Babe” and found it dead cute.

So as an inspirational photo it’s appropriate to post one of a pig, a cute one at that.


Photo by gravito at Stock Exchange, edited with a couple of actions from Photolicious.

Here you’ll find more Weekly Geeks participants.

8 Comments Write a comment

  1. I loved Babe, too! Even though I can’t stand other movies with talking animals. And I haven’t even read Animal Farm, well, because of the animals. Lol. I do love animals, but not in books. Not really sure why that is. The only one I remember reading and having loved was Life of Pi. And picture books, which don’t count, I guess, as animals are a given in children’s books.


  2. Hah. I’m totally with you. If I were a character in a romance, I would totally be a villain, which everyone would know the instant a dog appeared, because I would try to discreetly nudge it away instead of good-naturedly ruffling its fur and babbling nonsense at it.

    Also because my internal monologue would be referring to “it,” rather than him or her or coootsey-woootsey-widdle-baby-boo.

    Nicola O.’s latest blog post..“Pay Attention, Class!”


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