Men and their Dogs

Earlier this month Neil provided ten themes for August book groups and one of those themes was dog books. He mentioned one of my favorites, The Art of Racing in the Rain and I have more titles to add for those groups full of animal lovers.

It seems a man and his dog have been showing up in quite a few titles this year, likely spurred on by Garth Stein’s charmer, The Art of Racing in the Rain, featuring Enzo. Enzo has a passion for automobile racing, the National Geographic channel, opposable thumbs and his owner, Denny. He is Denny’s sole comfort during a bitter custody battle. Groups will enjoy discussing the themes of friendship and redemption in this delightful novel.

Bailey discovers A Dog’s Purpose in W. Bruce Cameron’s debut novel. Like a cat, Bailey seems to have multiple lives. His first couple are lived fully, but not well, and it isn’t until dogspurposeBailey finds his true owner, Ethan, that he starts to learn the meaning of his own life. Readers will look at their pets with new eyes and wonder what lessons they should be learning from their furry family members.

Loyalty and family are what Chance comes to represent for Adam, a self-absorbed businessman who with one rash act, throws away a rich, but empty, life in One Good Dog. It takes a former fighting pit bull to show Adam how to atone for his mistakes and missteps and readers will have fun discussing the alternating points of view in the chapters and how animals can soothe a troubled soul.

Lest one think only male dogs can offer insight into the human condition, meet Stella, Paul’s aging Lab-shepherd mix and her distaste for Paul’s taste for seedy watering holes. Paul shares all his insecurities, secrets, and screw-ups with Stella who loves him unconditionally in I Thought You Were Dead. This book relies more on Paul and his life and less on Stella and her perspective to tell the story of one man’s attempts to put his life back together with the love of a good dog.

All the titles listed are quickly paced with likable characters, especially the canine ones. Remind your readers before they open the covers that “all dogs go to heaven.” Some more than once.

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About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

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