Like I said, I'm a big fan of books.
And although I have not yet ventured into the world of e-readers (you know, Kindle and the like), I have, over the past couple of years, gained a whole new appreciation for books on CD. And because I spend a fair amount of time on the highway, I've listened to a fair number of books on CD--my favorites generally being those that are actually read by the author and those that fall into the nonfiction and memoir categories.
Well, this past weekend, Tod and I were in the car on the way to an out-of-town wedding, and because I had become so enthralled with a particular book on CD, I made Tod listen to the last 30 minutes of it with me despite the fact that he'd missed the first five discs. Luckily, he enjoyed the bit he got to hear; thus, after finishing the book, we immediately embarked upon the author's next book, which I'm now about halfway through. You're dying to know more about these books, right? What are these books about? Well, if you read the title of this post then surely you know the answer to that question. Dogs.
Specifically, we were listening to, first, Jon Katz's A Good Dog and, then, his Dog Days. And listening to these books got me thinking--it got me thinking about books about dogs and, better yet, about my favorite books about dogs. (Thanks to all of the dogs in our lives, Tod and I have read a few books about dogs over the years. And yes, I've even read some training books, but that is definitely not to say that Zelda is particularly well-trained. Just ask Tod, or Tod's parents, or my parents, or, well, anyone who has had the pleasure of keeping her for more than 30 minutes. These days mischief is her middle name.) But back to the books. Here they are, in no particular order.
First, here are links to A Good Dog and Dog Days. And these are just a drop in the bucket as far as dog books written by Jon Katz go. Seriously, he must write a new one every year. But he's a wonderful writer, and I have loved
If you're new to the world of dog books, my first recommendation is without a doubt Merle's Door by Ted Kerasote. So informative. So sweet. This one will stick with you. Tod and I read this book two years ago and we still talk about Merle. A lot.
Now if you prefer fiction to facts, then I recommend The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. The dog is the narrator, but it's not hokey or schmaltzy in the least, and I think it would appeal equally to men and women, both young and old.
As far as fiction goes, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls is one of my very favorites. It's the first "chapter book" that I remember finishing and immediately beginning again. Seriously, I remember lying on a twin bed with a wicker headboard in a rented beach house, crying my eyes out when I finished the book, and then immediately turning back to page one to start all over again. I'm not sure if I've ever done that with another book since, actually. So I guess that's saying something.
Since we're on the subject of more juvenile books, here are two that you won't want to miss. First, Tarra and Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends by Carol Buckley. Umm, it's ridiculous how cute this story is. Seriously.
In fact, although you probably saw the video of this animal odd couple in an email forward a hundred years ago, it's so stinking cute that I'm just going to include it here.
The other really stinking cute children's book about dogs is Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine, and a Miracle. It's proof that friendship can cross war zones, continents, and even species.
Okay, since we're talking about dogs, whose lives are entirely too short, I think I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one more: Good Dog. Stay. by Anna Quindlen. This book is short; it's more of an essay really. But it's a moving eulogy to Quindlen's beloved black labrador, and I know a few people who have found it comforting after losing a beloved friend.
I'm sure I'll think of a thousand more great dog books after I publish this, but if you're a fan of the genre (assuming that it is, in fact, its own genre), will you please let me know in the comments what your favorite dog books are?