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One of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday is with a good book and a cat or two curled up with me. Reading is as essential to me as breathing, and I will be forever grateful to my parents for instilling a love of reading in me at a very young age. My reading covers a wide variety of genres, from non-fiction to cozy mysteries to romance novels, and of course, I read a lot of cat books.

The other day, I was cleaning out some bookshelves. One of the challenges for someone who reads as much as I do is getting rid of books. Even though I either pass them on to friends or donate them, it’s just so hard to say goodbye to a book. It’s one of the many reasons why I love my Kindle so much: I no longer have to make decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. During this cleaning project, I came across a few books that I will never ever let go of, because they’ve played such a major role in my life at one time or another. This got me thinking about books that change your life.

There are the obvious ones. Classics like The Road Less Traveled, The Celestine Prophecy, or The Artist’s Way. But it’s the unexpected ones that really sent me on a trip down memory lane, and I thought I’d share a couple with you today.


I read this little treasure of a book, which was published in 1953, as a young child. It was my first introduction to America, and is probably responsible for my dream of one day living in this country . At the time, there was no other book for girls in Germany that provided as much detail about life in the US as this one. And I can’t help but smile at the cover. Washington and a girl with her cats – providence? I moved to the Washington DC area in 1984.


I read Samantha Mooney’s classic book about the years she worked at the world famous Animal Medical Center in New York City for the first time in the early 1980’s, and I’ve read it at least a dozen times since then. I think it’s one of the most beautiful cat books ever written. I hold this book responsible for my career in veterinary medicine. A few years go, I was able to tour AMC, and it was as if the book had come to life for me.


I read this reflective autobiography by Norwegian actress and director Liv Ullman  in my early twenties. It was the first time I was exposed to a woman talking about finding herself as both an artist and a woman. My copy is dog-eared, with plenty of highlights and annotations. Reading this book, and especially my notes, from this present vantage point offers me a look back on the woman I was then, and makes me appreciate just how far I’ve come.

So now that I’ve shared some of my life changing books, tell me about some of yours!


Image ©Bernadette Kazmarski, used with permission

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16 Comments on Sunday Purrs: Books That Change Your Life

  1. What a wonderful post. I enjoy your selections and have added them to my tbr list. Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper and of course the James Herriot books touched me immensely I keep them in my bookcase to re read upon occasion. Born Free was one of the my favorite animal books which opened my world to animal rescue and the plight of big cats. Cleo the cat who saved a family is a wonderful cat book that Is about how a new animal can help us through grief. Thank you for your wonderful post. I feel the same about the Kindle living in a small space I am no longer able to collect or keep more then my 2 bookcases of special books. I recently donated 200 mystery books to charity . It was hard to let them go but necessary. The cat books are special and hold a place of honor in my bookcase and my heart.

  2. These cat books are in my library, and I re-read them often: The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat by Susan Fromberg Schaefer; A Cat Named Darwin, by William Jordan, and Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper, not to mention Dewey the library cat’s book too. Non-cat books that I cannot live without are Shoeless Joe Jackson by W. P. Kinsella, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and… every Sherlock Holmes story written by Arthur Conan Doyle. OH! And I almost forgot Arthur C. Clarke’s books 2001, 2010, 2056 and 3001, especially the first and last. Excellent stuff!

  3. Those sound like great books. I didn’t know you were from Germany either. Both sets of grandparents were German. Have no other family history. Wish I did.

  4. Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker and An Unknown Woman by Alice Koller were 2 important books for me. I still have not been to Nantucket, where the second book takes place, but I will hopefully one day.

    • I read this book as a young girl. My 1st cat at the time perfectly chewed a few spots on the cover. Then I lost it! 40 years later, I bought it again (sans teeth marks). A very good book! Highly recommend. And “Merle’s Door” is just as amazing, only in ‘dog-form’.

  5. Ingrid, I didn’t know you were from Germany! I’ve always wanted to visit Germany as some of my ancestors came from the country.

    I always enjoy reading your book reviews. I’ve added several of the books I’ve seen here to my reading list. Right now, I’m reading “Purr Therapy” and it is absolutely fantastic!

    • I’m from Stuttgart, in the Southern part of Germany. Do you know where your ancestors are from?

      And isn’t Purr Therapy wonderful? I’m so glad you’re enjoying my book reviews.

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