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Editor’s Picks: 25 Good Reads
From the classics to entertaining beach books

Now that summer and its long, warm days have arrived, we hope you find time to catch up on your reading. We would like to suggest our picks for a well-versed “dog culture” reading roster. These 25 books will enhance your understanding of your dog, along with entertaining and inspiring you. Enjoy!

Non-fiction/Memoir

Colter by Rick Bass A beautifully written elegy about “the best dog” ever, Bass captures the essence of this unforgettable dog’s intense drive.

Dog Walks Man, a collection of humorous and absorbing essays by John Zeaman, conveys how the routine act of dog-walking can connect us to the joys of the natural world.

Dog Years, by Mark Doty. A prize-winning poet and memoirist, Doty explores the complicated landscape of love and loss.

Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men by Donald McCaig. You don’t need to be a Border Collie admirer to be enthralled by McCaig’s storytelling of his journey to Scotland to explore what is behind the mystery of these hardworking dogs and their human handlers.

Let’s Take the Long Way Home, a memorable memoir by Gail Caldwell about her friendship with the late Caroline Knapp (Pack of Two); their dogs brought these two writers together, and a devoted friendship followed.

Pack of Two by Caroline Knapp. Written 15 years ago, this was one of the first, and still the best, explorations of the dog/human intricate bond in modern life.

Rex and the City, by Lee Harrington. A  “behaviorally-challenged” rescue dog might be more than a NYC couple can handle. But when it comes to exploring what it takes for “newbies” to learn about co-existing with a canine (and with each other), this is one of the funniest accounts of the journey.

Scent of the Missing by Susannah Charleson. A fascinating memoir of the adventures of a Search and Rescue pup and how both she and her human partner mastered the course together.

A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life by Steven Kotler is part Hunter Thompson part Carlos Castaneda but mostly so original that it’s difficult to peg. A fascinating examination of the “cult and culture” of dog rescue.

Dog Studies

Bones Would Rain from the Sky by Suzaznne Clothier. An analysis of the mind and motives of dogs, and a lesson in how to speak their language.

In Dog Sense, animal behaviorist John Bradshaw outlines what we can expect from our co-pilots as well as what they need to live harmoniously with us.

Dog’s Best Friend. Mark Derr writes about the “culture of the dog” like no one else. He goes well beyond the in’s and out’s of breeding and training examining all aspects about what makes our friendship with dogs tick.

The Hidden Life of Dogs: a book made famous for the number of miles that Elizabeth Marshall Thomas clocked while tracking a Husky on his daily forays in her anthropological quest to answer “What do dogs really want?”

Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz is a fascinating journey into the dog’s rich sensory world, providing valuable insights into what it’s like to be a dog.

Man Meets Dog was first published over fifty years ago, becoming a classic that every dog lover should read by the Nobel Prize-winner, Konrad Lorenz. 

Patricia McConnell, has written many books decoding the mysteries of canine behavior, including The Other End of the Leash, on why we behave as we do around our dogs and how it affects them, and, Tales of Two Species, a collection of her Bark columns.

Speaking for Spot, by Nancy Kay, DVM. Direct, empathetic and absolutely invaluable advice on how to successfully advocate for your dog.

Novels

Garth Stein’s novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain, is a beautifully crafted tale of the wonders and absurdities of human life as only a dog could describe them

My Dog Tulip by J.R. Ackerley This unforgettable memoir of a much-loved dog has no equal—be sure to read the edition with the insightful introduction by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.

The New Yorkers by Cathleen Schine. Set in the microcosmic world of a New York neighborhood—dogs are the stars of this show.

The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs by Nick Trout, DVM. A small-town vet comes to terms with his career change and the importance of friendship and community.

Timbuktu by Paul Auster. Mr. Bones, “a mutt of no particular worth or distinction,” narrates this unforgettable and poignant tale.

Dog-Flavored Mystery Series

David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter is a reluctant attorney whose real passions are dog rescue and his Golden Retriever, Tara. Unleashed is the most recent entry.

In Spencer Quinn’s “Chet and Bernie” mysteries, narrated by Chet the dog, comments on the way dogs see the world ring true (and will make you smile). The fifth book, A Fist Full of Collars, is his most recent.

Our long-time favorite, Susan Conant, released a new “Holly Winter” thank goodness; A Brute Strength is number 19 in the series featuring the Malamute-loving dog writer and, of course, her favorite dogs.

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Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and editor in chief. thebark.com

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