5 Adorably Weird Literary Animal Photos

While we at the Riot take some time off to rest and catch up on our reading, we’re re-running some of our favorite posts from the last several months. Enjoy our highlight reel, and we’ll be back with new stuff on Monday, January 5th.

This post originally ran December 9, 2014.

Books and animals go together like, um, like things that go together really well. As I’ve demonstrated before here at Book Riot, you can’t do better than to give your cat or dog a literary pet name. And other Rioters have shown again and again the sheer adorableness of animals reading books.

But there’s a certain kind of bookish animal photo that appeals to me, one that might be—dare I say it?—even cuter than your usual cat-reading-books snapshot, if only because it’s spectacularly weird. And that’s when animals and literary people and things (authors, illustrators, bookmobiles) intersect and interact unexpectedly, capturing a moment of literary-animal greatness. Some are posed and some are spontaneous, some seem (almost) normal and some defy explanation, some have unsurprising animals (like cats) and others have koalas. But they are all united by a weird, wonky awkwardness that makes them all extremely, entirely awesome.

Seriously. Check out some of my favorites:

5. Edward Gorey, with cats

Edward Gorey in a studio with cats

Edward Gorey in a studio filled with cats. From literaryanimals.com

Who knew that the master of the creepy illustration made all that creepy happen while surrounded by purring, fluffy cuteness?

4. Edith Wharton, with dogs

Edith Wharton with dogs on her shoulders

Edith Wharton, wearing dogs as shoulder pads–or something. From literaryanimals.com.

Shoulder dogs are very hot among the New York elite this year, didn’t you know?

3. Erskine Caldwell, with cow


Erskine Caldwell milking a cow

Erskine Caldwell milking a Russian peasant woman’s cow. Photo by Margaret Bourke-White.

Nothing to add, really. Just an author milking a cow.

2. Bookmobile, with dachshund

A man holding a dachshund in front of a bookmobile

Wilhelm Giessen standing in front of a bookmobile, with a dachshund. From a scrapbook in the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, photographed by the author.

“Amerika is a great place to visit,” Wilhelm assured the American photographer. “Even as a prisoner of war.”

1. Zane Grey, with koala

Zane Grey holding a small koala

Zane Grey, visiting Australia, holding a small koala. From Wikimedia Commons.

All authors should be photographed with a tiny koala on their shoulders. There should be a law. Let’s make it happen.

Bonus Literary Cuteness: Mark Twain’s Cats

Mark Twain's approximately three million cats in a wickedly-uncomfortable-looking wicker chair in 1887. Photo by Elisha M. VanAken.

Mark Twain’s approximately three million cats in a wickedly-uncomfortable-looking wicker chair in 1887. Photo by Elisha M. VanAken.


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