Media File/Books: Dog-Day Reading

Books these days are going to the dogs. Man’s best friend has become a publishing dream, with titles dedicated to dynamic dogs frequently topping the bestseller list. Confession: As a dog owner and lover, I have a soft spot for a pooch-inspired story. Here are a few—some popular, some poignant—guaranteed to make you wanna hug a canine companion.

Good Dog. Stay.  
—Anna Quindlen

Give me a book about my favorite pet written by one of my favorite authors and I’m happy. In her usual insightful manner, Quindlen cuts to the emotional core of why we love our dogs. Writing about her beloved black Labrador, Beau, Quindlen shares the lessons she learned from her four-legged friend. Best line: “Human beings wind up having the relationship with dogs that they fool themselves they will have with other people.” Grab a box of tissues while reading.

A Three Dog Life
—Abigail Thomas

I read many memoirs, and this is one of the best. Thomas writes in an honest and heart-wrenching way of the fateful night her husband took their dog for a walk in Manhattan, which forever altered their lives together. Love, memories, and three dogs sustain Thomas through the tragic consequences of that evening. I won’t reveal anymore—you have to read the book. Keep that tissue box close by.

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

No, Mitch Albom didn’t write this, but he could have. Marley & Me has the same Tuesdays with Morrie kind of feel-good-but-tug-at-your-heartstrings narrative. This is the book that launched a thousand other books about dogs and their owners so something must have resonated with readers. I think it has a lot to do with a yellow Labrador named Marley. With a storyline that borders on syrupy sweet with some overused dog/human clichés, there are some touching scenes that only a dog lover will appreciate.

The Art of Raising a Puppy
—The Monks of New Skete

When we got our first dog, Maggie, Mike and I bought the book that friends recommended as the definitive guide on dog training. The monks of New Skete have been breeding and training dogs for several decades, and their wisdom shows in this book with its emphasis on understanding a dog’s instincts and needs. Maybe I need to dust it off for our current dog, Honey, who runs our household. I’m pretty sure the monks said we were supposed to be in control.

Dear Mrs. LaRue:
Letters from Obedience School
—Mark Teague

This may be a children’s book, but it is a Mangan family favorite, adults included. “Ike” the dog has been sent by his owner, Mrs. LaRue, to obedience school where he initiates a series of hilarious letters to his owner. He insists this situation occurred over an unfortunate “misunderstanding” between him and the neighbor’s cat. Ike begs Mrs. LaRue to take him home, and when she doesn’t, he takes matters into his own mischievous paws.

Style Editors Dean Blinkhorn and Amy Mangan and Creative Director Trevor Byrne have many opinions on music, books, and movies, respectively. This special rotating column highlights a different writer and a different topic each month. Agree? Disagree? Have something to add? Drop us a line at or and we’ll print the best responses in the next issue. Next up: Dean offers some back-to-school music musts.

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