Happy Tuesday everyone! As it is Tuesday, it is time for a Top Ten Tuesday update. Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s given topic is Titles with Animals In Them and/or Covers with Animals On Them

I know this is kinda a day late but I am still going to give it a go. I crashed in early yesterday and when I woke up, it was already 5 in the morning the following day. My recent Japan trip has certainly exhausted me. It was fun but it was also exasperating. Anyway, I find this week’s TTT topic interesting that’s why I am still doing it. Besides, it has been some time since I did a TTT update. Anyway, without more ado, here are some books with animals on the title or the cover that I enjoyed. Happy reading and happy Tuesday, rather Wednesday everyone!

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

To say the least, The Travelling Cat Chronicles is a moving story. Arikawa’s profound understanding of both human and animal emotions translated well into this riveting read. Its obscure immersion into the losses we incur as we grow up is negated by its mirthful celebration of life, memories, and growth. It is a great book for children and animal lovers alike but it is also a great one for those who are just seeking a heartwarming read. I am neither a child nor an animal lover but I immensely enjoyed it. I had the ending guessed midway through the novel but it didn’t prepare me for the well of emotions that the conclusion evoked.

The Thief and the Dogs by Naguib Mahfouz

The Thief and the Dogs was an interesting work of fiction. Mahfouz did an astounding job of exploring vengeance, its psychology, and how it adversely affects one’s vision. Hatred and revenge are abrasive emotions that impair our logic. Mahfouz reiterated the message that ultimately, vengeance is not ours. In this bleak story, Said Mahran’s fate serves as a caveat. The Thief and the Dogs is a slim novel and it joins the group of books I wished was more extensive. Nevertheless, it still provided me with glimpses of the beauty and the promises of the Nobel Laureate in Literature’s prose. His language and his storytelling are brimming with power that I need to explore more.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

With its lengthy and unusual title, it is hard to miss Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. It was actually a book I kept encountering on must-read lists but I was apprehensive about reading the book at first. I eventually was able to overcome this apprehension and thankfully so because the book swept me. On the surface, it seems like a very simple story of a teenage boy but as one digs deeper, it has deep and meaningful messages about seminal subjects such as social disabilities. This short but meaningful book is critically appraised. It is a deceptively easy read that packs a lot of punch.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Speaking of children’s to middle school literature, another renowned and critically appraised title is Clive Staples Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. A classic of literature, it has been adapted into a film. It is a promising story, at least from what I saw of the movie. A couple of years later, I would read the book and I was equally astounded. The world of Narnia was simply magnificent. C.S. Lewis’ worldbuilding was breathtaking; British writers certainly have a knack for worldbuilding. I loved the book. The Pevensies were an interesting bunch. Although it seems like a book written for children – it is – but it is also a story that adults can appreciate.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish is the fourth book in Douglas Adams’ widely acclaimed and globally recognized The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Although the book and the series it belonged to are part of a genre that I am not really a fan of, i.e. science fiction, I certainly had a grand time reading the adventures and misadventures of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, and Trillian (formerly known as Tricia McMillan). Each of the five books that comprise the series is entertaining in its own way but the humor the books contained belied the deeper message the series grappled with such as the meaning of life and existence and the relativity of time.

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht

It was back in 2015 that I read Téa Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife. In want of a new literary adventure, I borrowed the book from a friend. The Tiger’s Wife, I would later on learn, was the debut novel of the Serbian American writer. Sure enough, the book transported me to an unnamed country in the Balkan Peninsula (not a stretch of the imagination to think it is Yugoslavia where the writer was born) where I met a young woman named Natalia whose imagination was filled with myths conveyed by her grandfather. Among these myths was the story of the titular tiger’s wife. The book is a work of magical realism and was among the first ones of the genre that I read.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Of course, one can’t miss the timeless classic written by Harper Lee. To say that To Kill a Mockingbird is a masterpiece is an understatement. It is a synergy of a well-thought-of plot and themes, and well-developed characters. It is a timeless classic that shows the influence of one’s environment on one’s growth and development. It deserves all the accolades that it got, most especially that Pulitzer Prize nod. It is not your typical Southern novel and is a story that I recommend everyone to read. It is a work of fiction that you know will form part of the very fabric that makes you a reader.

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Just the name Haruki Murakami is enough to command one’s attention. I mean, who, in the reading world, has not come across the Japanese giant; Japan, I must say, has a rich tradition of producing phenomenal writers. Speaking of phenomenal, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle is among the masterpieces that comprise Murakami’s oeuvre. The book’s length was enough to daunt me. Moreover, it was among the first works of Murakami I read. I admit, I struggled mightily with the book but after the struggles, I found my footing in the book. It had the elements that make up a Murakami novel, such as cats, Jazz music, and a male character who was drifting through life. The book grappled with subjects such as desire and power dynamics. As always, it was a memorable read.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

When I picked up Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch from the bookstand during one of my random trips to the bookstore, I barely knew what the book was about. I also had no idea who Donna Tartt was. However, I was riveted by what was on the cover: it is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Back then, I had very little knowledge about the Pulitzer Prize but it sounded prestigious. Tedious and lengthy with the tendency to meander at times, The Goldfinch was no easy read. However, it was an ode to the beauty of language and storytelling that would lead me to devour Tartt’s two other novels, The Secret History and The Little Friend. The Goldfinch was certainly a memorable read.

Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yōko Tawada

Memoirs of a Polar Bear was my first novel by Japanese writer Yoko Tawada. It piqued my curiosity for I kept on encountering the book whenever I drop by the bookstore. Tawada being named as a possible winner of the 2018/2019 Nobel Prize in Literature finally convinced me to pick up her book. To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of Memoirs of a Polar Bear. It had promise. I liked the atmosphere and the nostalgia that Tawada crafted. I was also a fan of the book cover. The book cover, with its monochrome, is a subtle reference to the minimalist aesthetic the Japanese are known for. Overall, the book had bright spots but overall, its impact was ephemeral.