Books multiply like bunnies around the Bark editorial office, distracting us from our duties with their beautiful covers, interesting themes and flat-out wonderful writing. Here are some that made it onto our reading list in 2008, as well as a few we’re keeping an eye out for later this year.
FICTION & MEMOIR
Dog Years , by Mark Doty (Harper Perennial, $13.95). A prize-winning poet and memoirist, Doty explores the complicated landscape of love and loss.
Howl: A Collection of the Best Contemporary Dog Wit , assembled by the editors of The Bark (Three Rivers, $14.95). A lively compilation of humor and tail-wagging wit from some of the funniest, most sophisticated writers around.
Labrador Pact , by Matt Haig (Viking, $23.95). Mortality is left to the dogs in this bittersweet story of a canine who gives his all for his family.
The Lost Dog , by Michelle de Kretser (Little, Brown, $24.99). A man’s search for his dog in the Australian bush is the framework on which the author hangs a complex tale of relationships, aging and trust.
The New Yorkers , by Cathleen Schine (Picador, $14). Set in the microcosmic world of a New York neighborhood and its eccentric citizens; the dogs are the stars of this show.
Wolf Totem , by Jiang Rong (Penguin Press, $26.95). Winner of 2007 Man Asian Literary Prize, a fictional take on China’s marginalization and diminishment of Mongolian tribes and the sweeping landscape and animals they honor.
Dog Walker’s Startup Guide: Create Your Own Lucrative Dog Walking Business in 12 Easy Steps , by J.D. Antell (Novus Markets, $24.99). Combine business with pleasure—everything you need to know to replace your day job with one that’s much more fun.
Dogs at Work: A Practical Guide to Creating Dog-Friendly Workplaces , by Liz Palika and Jennifer Fearing (HSUS, $21.95). A how-to—and why-to—add dogs to the workplace; case studies lend support to their premises and step-by-step advice shows you how to make it happen in your office.
Positive Perspectives 2: Know Your Dog, Train Your Dog , by Pat Miller (Dogwise, $21.95). Miller gives us tools (and hope) in this comprehensive and well-organized primer on positive training, informed by her pragmatic and educated point of view.
Tales of Two Species: Essays on Loving and Living with Dogs , by Patricia B. McConnell, PhD (Dogwise, $12.95). An expert on the interior lives of dogs, McConnell covers all the bases in this new collection of her Bark columns.
Dogology: What Your Relationship with Your Dog Reveals about You , by Vicki Croke and Sarah Wilson (Rodale, $17.95). What’s your type? The authors dig into why people gravitate toward certain breeds, and explain what their choices reveal.
Old Dogs: Are the Best Dogs , by Gene Weingarten, photographs by Michael S. Williamson (Simon & Schuster, $19.95). A heartfelt and beautifully illustrated collection of venerable canines. In this collection of profiles and photographs, Weingarten and Williamson document the unique appeal of man’s best friend in his or her last, and best, years.
The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy—and Why They Matter , by Marc Bekoff, PhD (New World Library, $14.95). In this deeply researched book, Bekoff demonstrates both that animals do have emotions and that we dismiss them at our peril … and, as importantly, theirs.
For the Love of Animals: The Rise of the Animal Protection Movement , by Kathryn Shevelow (Henry Holt, $27.50). In 18th-century England, it really was “hell for horses,” and other animals as well. This accessible book lays out the history of the groups that formed to improve animals’ lot and highlights the people responsible for ushering us into the modern era of animal welfare.
Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America , by Nathan J. Winograd (Almaden Books. $16.95). A no-kill manifesto and a clarion call to the pet-loving community written by a man with broad and deep experience in the world of shelters and animal advocacy.
SOS Dog: The Purebred Dog Hobby Re-Examined , by Johan and Edith Gallant (Alpine, $19.95). Delves into the world of the purebred dog and where it’s going in terms of the health and best interests of dogs themselves. With a large percentage of all dog breeds plagued by genetic disabilities, the question is, can the damage already done be repaired?
We Give Our Hearts to Dogs to Tear , by Alston Chase (Transaction, $34.95). A rare and perceptive book about dogs, people and the land they inhabit; Chase takes on some of the big questions, including a complicated one: What kind of life do we owe our dogs?
What Philosophy Can Tell You about Your Dog , edited by Steven D. Hales (Open Court, $14.95). Essays by reflective humans who’ve pondered some of the puzzles of life with dogs. “Provocative, unusual, dog-friendly ideas disguised as philosophy,” according to Jeffrey Masson—we couldn’t agree more!
Just the Facts
Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine , by Marion Nestle (University of California Press, $18.95). Nestle, author of the best-selling What to Eat, tells us what’s in that bag and can, and what to watch out for; guaranteed to make you think, and perhaps even take action.
Speaking for Spot , by Nancy Kay, DVM (Trafalgar Square, $19.95). The ultimate insider’s view of the vet/client relationship, as well as direct, empathetic and absolutely invaluable advice on how to successfully advocate for your dog when illness strikes.
Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing, and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon , by Nick Trout, DVM (Broadway, $22.95). From the front lines of modern veterinary medicine, a thoughtful and informed view from a vet who combines old-fashioned instinct with cutting-edge technology.
The Healthy Dog Cookbook: 50 Nutritious and Delicious Recipes Your Dog Will Love , by Jonna Anne with Mary Straus, Canine Nutritionist, and Shawn Messonnier, DVM (TFH, $19.95). Fifty nutritious and delicious vet-reviewed recipes—from Pointer to Pom, menus for every size and type.
The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook , by Jessica Disbrow Talley and Erik Talley (Cider Mill Press, $14.95). Whip up something simple or something decadent—pup-worthy
BARK’S WATCH LIST—Coming in 2009
A Happy Ending for Rescued Dogs, by Michael Aufhauser (teNeues , $19.95) The chronicle of a successful, 20-year German rescue operation. JANUARY
Made for Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond, by Meg Daley Olmert (Da Capo, $26) Drawing on the fascinating work of scientists in a wide range of fields, this book explores the lays out both sides of our deep mutual connection. FEBRUARY
The Dog Rules, by Kyra Sundance (Fireside, $24.99) A practical guide to using simple behavior modifications techniques to set boundaries without compromising the relationship. Your dog will thank you! MARCH
One Nation Under Dog: Adventures in the New World of Prozac-Popping Puppies, Dog-Park Politics, and Organic Pet Food, by Michael Schaffer (Henry Holt, $24). A multidimensional look at the connections between how we treat our dogs and the evolution of our ideas about domesticity, consumerism, politics and family. MARCH
Adventures with Ari: A Puppy, a Leash, and Our Year in the Great Outdoors, by Kathryn Miles (Skyhorse Publishing, $24.95) Miles adopted a puppy and got, not only a companion, but an entirely new way of seeing nature when she joins the pup in her unleashed explorations. APRIL
Spott’s Canine Miscellaney, by Mike Darton (Abrams Images, $14.95) A witty grab-bag that includes canine epigraphs, origins of breed names, an international guide to the word “dog,” the world’s oldest dog, dogs who went down with the Titanic and way more. APRIL
DogJoy by The Bark Editors (Rodale, $14.95) Smiling dogs, smiling dogs, a whole book full of smiling dogs, selected by the editors of Bark, who’ve never met a smiler they didn’t like! OCTOBER
Photograph by Daniela Lopez & Ash Bulcroft