summer reading

My apologies for lack of posting the past couple of days. It’s just that I’ve been out of town and therefore not volunteering at the shelter at the moment. You can still find more dogs on this site if you’re interested in adopting a dog– there are plenty of them available for adoption. I’ll be back to my regular postings about APS dogs next week.

In the meantime, I’m going to review a few of my favorite dog-related books in case anyone is interested in doing in a little summer reading.

For the fiction lover:
The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein
This novel is a wonderful story told from the viewpoint of a dog named Enzo — it chronicles his life from a puppy to aging canine that he is now, and his time with his family. It has everything– cute funny stories, heartbreak, clever insights, moments of warmth, and anyone who loves dogs will completely understand Enzo’s viewpoints and his wishes.

For the nonfiction lovers:
Dogs I Have Met: And the People They Found, by Ken Foster
This is a collection of well-written essays/stories about dogs and people who rescue them. The not always sentimental, but honest and often confident, stories are beautiful, moving, and will resonate with anyone who has worked with shelter/abandoned dogs, and are a continuation from his previous book, The Dogs who Found Me. Ken Foster also heads The Sula Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to responsible ownership of pit bulls.

For the potential dog trainer:
How To Speak Dog, by Stanley Coren
If you spend a lot of time observing your dog and trying to figure out what it is that your dog is trying to tell you, Cohen’s book might be for you. As with all dog training books, I generally read them with a grain of salt (remember, each dog is unique and not every training method might work), but Coren’s explanations are consistent and clear (for example, when a dog is fearful, its tail is under its legs, or when a dog is happy, the tail is wagging). I found his cataloging of behavior, from barks and woofs, to ear/tail positions particularly fascinating.

Any other dog-related books I should know about? On my ever-expanding list is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Dog Years, and Merle’s Door.

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One Response to summer reading

  1. Eleanor says:

    I wonder if you might be interested in another original work of fiction, also narrated by a sentient labrador. (This labrador, Randolph, has rather high-brow tastes, preferring Dante to television.)

    A DOG AMONG DIPLOMATS (April 2008) is the second book in a quirky mystery series by J.F. Englert. The first book, A DOG ABOUT TOWN was published in May 2007, and the third book, A DOG AT SEA, is scheduled for publication in April/May of 2009.

    I’m helping author J.F. Englert reach out to bloggers, and I’d be happy to send you review copies of either or both books if you’re interested!

    An overview of the books and excerpts from reviews already in are below.


    BULL MOOSE DOG RUN MYSTERY SERIES – A Dog About Town, A Dog Among Diplomats

    In writing this fanciful mystery series, Englert adopts the daring and original conceit of employing a first-person narration by a labrador-cum-detective, Randolph. The first book in the series, A Dog About Town, was recognized with the 2007 fiction award from The Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA).

    Unbeknownst to his owners, Randolph (a black lab) is both sentient and literate–even well-read, spending much of the time that he has to himself at their Upper West Side apartment immersed in books. A year before the first novel opens, Randolph’s mistress Imogen disappears without a trace, leaving behind a broken-hearted and mystified boyfriend and dog.

    In A DOG ABOUT TOWN, the object of Randolph’s ability to read and to reason turns from private past time to undercover detective work as he gently prods his less-enlightened owner, Harry, toward the answers behind a suspicious death–which also holds clues to Imogen’s disappearance. Combining his powers of reasoning with his superior sense of smell (100,000 more powerful than that of humans), he is able to literally sniff out the trail, as well as the guilty parties.

    In A DOG AMONG DIPLOMATS, Randolph dedicates himself to a second murder case—this time one with ties to the U.N. and in which Imogen is implicated as a possible suspect.

    Advance praise for A DOG AMONG DIPLOMATS
    Englert’s droll mix of mystery, philosophical musing about man and beast, political doings at the U.N. and the mysteries of love make this an elegant, funny and inspiring romp in the park. – Publishers Weekly

    LibraryThing members on A DOG AMONG DIPLOMATS
    “This book reminded me of two things, both very disconnected: the old-time movie serials where the heroine is always left in utmost peril until the next sequence and P.G. Wodehouse.”

    “the writing is sharp and witty”

    “I couldn’t help but fall in love with Randolph.”

    “a marvelous study of character, especially the dog’s, and has some of the funniest writing I’ve ever read in the genre.”

    “Like Wodehouse, [Englert] often throws off phrases that you want to reread just for the sheer pleasure of it.”

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