Cats and dogs and elephants and lions and tigers…okay, the last two haven’t figured into bestselling novels or non-fiction yet, but maybe that’s just a matter of time, if one continues the trend line pinpointed in Dwight Garner‘s piece in the New York Times’ Week in Review section, which he claims he wouldn’t have written if he’d not found out about Sara Gruen‘s $5 million deal for THE APE HOUSE in last week’s article by Motoko Rich (even though it’s been common knowledge for, I dunno, months?)
Anyway, Garner wants to know why the American reading public is so animal-crazy. “Americans have become existentially lonely,” said Jon Katz, author of DOG DAYS. “We’re disconnected from nature and from the animal parts of ourselves. We’re living in cities and we’re generally frustrated by our work and dissatisfied with politics, technology and religion, all of which have mostly failed to uplift us as promised. So we’ve been turning to animals for companionship and love and emotional support.” Of course, some of those offerings – coughcoughJONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULLcoughcough – might not be the best examples of what Katz is talking about, but as Garth Stein‘s book deal illustrates, animals are still very, very hot in publishing.