I always find it difficult to find inspiring non-fiction. I’m so glad my mom is a voracious reader who likes non-fiction and has the same taste as me. She recently recommended some true stories about animals that I absolutely loved and hope you will as well.
I think my favorite is Following Atticus. This is a local story of Tom Ryan who wanted to climb all 48 4000 footers in New Hampshire in order to raise money for charity. Atticus is his pet dog and goes with him on his climbing adventures. Mr. Ryan weaves humorous details about Atticus’ personality (sitting like Buddha looking out at the view at the top) with his own reflections on life as they climb (his life as a journalist and being alone). I found myself wondering what would happen in their snowy climb. Would they be able to climb all of them twice in one season or would the weather prevent them? I learned a tremendous amount about winter hiking and fell in love all over again with the White Mountains, but this time for its winter beauty. It was my all time favorite non-fiction books I’ve read and found it truly inspirational. I still think about it years later. I would definitely read it again.
I remember my grandfather reading his books but I never understood why until recently. They’re wonderful! James Herriot writes about his experiences in England as a country vet in Every Living Thing. I love the humor in this book as well as the format. Each chapter is a story so I found I could read it when I didn’t have enough time and feel like I read a mini story. There are quite eccentric people in his stories like the vet that has a managerie of pets like badgers, and the local tailor that takes months to get work done and even then you have to continually nag him. I like reading about how he deals with difficult cases and gaining the trust of local farmers. I learned a lot about being a large animal vet and how the field has changed over the years. He’s written many books and this is one where the author is older and reflecting on his experience as an older vet. I like how he talks about meeting one of his colleagues years later and where he ended up. People love his books and I can see why. It made me remember the beautiful English countryside with its rolling hills. I definitely want to read more!
The World According to Bob is the story of a street musician and his amazing cat, Bob. Bob helped James Bowen out of a rough patch and kept him company while he sold the Big Issue and sang to help support himself. People gravitated to this friendly and docile cat who likes to sit on James’ shoulder and just chill (even while James’ rides a bike!) You can see Bob in action here. You’ll learn what it’s like from one person’s perspective to be a street musician, ask for help from strangers on a daily basis, and all of Bob’s quirks like giving high fives. James’ story of overcoming adversity with the help of his little friend is truly inspirational. I highly recommend this book!
What are your favorite animal non-fiction stories? Do you have a favorite inspirational non-fiction I should read next?