Eight Great Books About Dogs


Eight Great Books About DogsHere it is, late August. Hazy hot and humid seesaws with crisp and cool, a sign that summer is tapping fall on the shoulder, the annual game of tag you’re it.

The dog days of summer, they are. Nightfall comes earlier now. The evening performance of the cicada orchestra is unfailingly on time. Local blueberries are no longer in season; once plump and juicy, they are now unpleasantly sour and soon will be gone until next year.

If it sounds like I’m in an end-of-summer funk, it’s true.

But dog days remind me of dogs, and that cheers me up. If you love dogs, and even if you think you don’t and might be persuaded to, here are some really good books about canines you might want to try.

Warning: weeping may happen.

The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein

In a flashback, Enzo the dog reflects upon the ten years of his life with Denny, a semi-professional race car driver, Denny’s wife Eve, and their baby daughter Zoe. Since Enzo believes he will come back in his next life at a human, he is a keen observer of the human condition. No lie, you will be a soggy mess at the end.

The Dogs of Babel, Carolyn Parkhurst

How many times I’ve wondered what my dog would say if it could talk. When Paul’s wife Lexy dies in an accident, Lorelei, a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog, is the only witness. Grief-stricken and haunted with questions, Paul attempts to teach Lorelei to talk so that she can communicate what happened. You will tear up for humans and dogs alike.

Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog, John Grogan

The subtitle clues you in about Marley, a big galumph of a dog whose antics and foibles take over the lives of John and Jenny. Equal parts humor and pathos, this book will delight anyone who has seen both the worst and the best in their dogs and loves them just the same. On a scale of 1 to 10 on the Cry-o-meter: off the scale.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, David Wroblewski

Hamlet is retold with tail-wagging canines as the characters. Edgar is the mute son of a family that breeds a special variety of dogs, Sawtelle dogs. Edgar has an uncanny sense of communication with these dogs and is able to get to the bottom of a murder mystery with their help. Have tissues at the ready.

A Dog’s Purpose, W. Bruce Cameron

Buddy the existential dog is the narrator in this novel as he tries to understand why he is here. Author Cameron totally gets the essence of dogs and Buddy’s voice is genuine. As if I haven’t showered my dogs with endless affection, now I religiously tack on a “good dog” several times a day. This book will soon be released by Dreamworks as a movie and I can not wait. Expect a cascade of tears.

A Dog’s Journey, W. Bruce Cameron

Thank God Cameron wrote a sequel, because I could not bear to think that Buddy’s story was over. More smiles and tears with this book, just as wonderful as the first. I kid you not, the sobs started in the first chapter.

Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself, Julie Barton

When her life came crashing down on her at age 22, Julie could not find a way out of her depression. Not therapy, not medication, not moving back into her parents’ home. But when she and the Golden Retriever puppy Bunker found each other, her world became brighter. Sniffles throughout for Julie and Bunker.

Good Dog. Stay., Anna Quindlen

A sweet, funny, poignant tribute to her big old Black Labrador Beau, this memoir can be read in a single, joyful sitting. Among the words of wisdom is this: “Occasionally someone will tell me that they won’t have pets because they are messy … the truth is that we were far messier without dogs than with them.” I love that. Tears and hiccups.

Have you read these? What other books about dogs have you read and loved?

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28 Thoughts on “Eight Great Books About Dogs

  1. Thanks for the wonderful reading list! These books sound so doggone cute!

  2. I LOVED The Story of Edgar Sawtelle! It stayed with me for weeks. What a terrific list.

  3. All great suggestions and ones I want Gary to read. Maybe he’ll say YES to getting a dog.

    Excellent choices, Helene.

    Oh, btw, I’m in a funk right alongside of you. I hate that it’s now getting closer to dark at 8pm instead of 9. Get my SAD light ready!

  4. I haven’t read any of these. Thanks for the recommendations.

  5. Oh My Goodness and I call myself a Cat person and I have read most of these books! There was a book, may have been a Young Adult, I read about the Lewis and Clark Expedition told from the New Foundland’s point of view. Of course I can’t recall the title but it was enjoyable.

  6. I love dog books! I’ve read all of these except the last two. Dog Medicine is sitting on my shelf, and I had no idea Anna Quindlen — one of my all-time favorites — wrote a book about her dog. I’ll have to go fetch that one!

  7. My husband loves these books! I will pass along your list and take full credit. Heeeee

  8. Janie Emaus on August 22, 2016 at 11:56 pm said:

    The only one I’ve read it Racing in the Rain. But I love dogs. As you know, our Ziva brought my husband back to me. Although recently, she’s been destroying everything in sight!

  9. I’m a cat person myself but nothing like a dog book for a feel-good read. Thanks for the suggestions – I’ll be keeping them in mind.

  10. Well my readinglist just got a bit longer. I do enjoy a good book and these sound fun.

    • hbludman on August 29, 2016 at 9:31 am said:

      My reading list will last me a lifetime! It just keeps growing and growing.

  11. I’ve only ever heard of Marley and Me. I will have to look into these others, I love animal books.

  12. I can’t take it if anything happens to the dog. Anything. I’ve become a wimp about stuff like that.

    • hbludman on August 29, 2016 at 9:34 am said:

      I know what you mean. I am the same way. But these books are worth the anguish.

  13. My family loves dogs (rescued 4 in the last several years) and I would love to read a few of these books. I might have to put a few of these on my Christmas list this year.

  14. Great choices. Earlier this summer my 9 year old son was reading a book about a dog called WOOF. I read it along with him, it was about a rescue dog who did some rescuing of his own!

  15. These are all new titles for me. I bet I would enjoy reading some of them before the summer is over. Thanks for the recommendations!

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