Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reading Lists - Dogs in fiction

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human only a dog could tell it.

Unsaid by Neil Abramson
Neil Abramson explores the beauty and redemptive power of human-animal relationships and the true meaning of communication in all of its diverse forms.  The narrator, Helena, was a veterinarian before her death. Now she is a silent observer of the life she left behind—her shattered attorney husband, David; her houseful of damaged but beloved animals; and her final project, Cindy, a chimpanzee trained to use sign language. When Cindy is scheduled for a research experiment that will undoubtedly take her life, an explosive courtroom drama unfolds.

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
Tracy Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective—a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. She makes a snap decision. Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems.  Meanwhile, Jackson Brodie, a detective, is embarking on a different sort of rescue—that of an abused dog. Dog in tow, Jackson is about to learn, along with Tracy, that no good deed goes unpunished.

I Thought You Were Dead by Peter Nelson
For Paul Gustavson, life is a succession of obstacles, a minefield of mistakes to stumble through.  Still, Paul has his friends at Bay State bar, a steady line of cocktails, and Stella. Stella is Paul’s dog. She listens with compassion to all his complaints about the injustices of life and gives him better counsel than any human could. Their relationship is at the heart of this poignantly funny and deeply moving story about a man trying to fix his past in order to save his future.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose remarkable gift for companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. Edgar seems poised to carry on his family's traditions, but when catastrophe strikes, he finds his once-peaceful home engulfed in turmoil.

Dog on It by Spencer Quinn
Chet might have flunked out of police school (“I’d been the best leaper in K-9 class, which had led to all the trouble in a way I couldn’t remember exactly, although blood was involved”), but he’s a detective through and through. In Dog On It, Chet and Bernie investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl who may or may not have been kidnapped, but who has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters.

Dog Tags by David Rosenfelt
A German Shepherd police dog witnesses a murder and if his owner—an Iraq war vet and former cop-turned-thief—is convicted of the crime, the dog could be put down. Few rival Andy Carpenter's affection for dogs, and he decides to represent the poor canine. As Andy struggles to convince a judge that this dog should be set free, he discovers that the dog and his owner have become involved unwittingly in a case of much greater proportions than the one they've been charged with. Andy will have to call upon the unique abilities of this ex-police dog to help solve the crime and prevent a catastrophic event from taking place.

Nose Down, Eyes Up by Merrill Markoe
At 47, Gil is the world’s oldest 22-year-old man, living in relative contentment with his four dogs, including the alpha, Jimmy. When he stumbles upon Jimmy delivering lectures on canine manipulative techniques to the rest of the dogs in the neighborhood, Gil’s not particularly surprised, and his eyes light up with dollar signs. But their money-making venture has barely begun when chatty canine Jimmy realizes the shocking truth: he’s adopted.

A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
Buddy is a good dog. After searching for his purpose through several eventful lives, Buddy is sure that he has found and fulfilled it. Yet as he watches curious baby Clarity get into dangerous mischief, he is certain that this little girl is very much in need of a dog of her own. When Buddy is reborn, he realizes that he has a new destiny. He's overjoyed when he is adopted by Clarity, now a vibrant but troubled teenager. When they are suddenly separated, Buddy despairs—who will take care of his girl?

Walking in Circles Before Lying Down by Merrill Markoe
Dawn’s only source of security and comfort, it seems, is Chuck, a pit-bull mix from the pound. So, when her boyfriend announces that he’s leaving her for another woman, a despairing Dawn turns to Chuck for solace. “I should have said something sooner,” Chuck confides, as he tries to console her. “Couldn’t you smell her on his pants?” Dawn is stunned. It’s one thing to talk to your pets, but what do you do when they start talking back? It’s not just Chuck, either; she can hear all dogs—and man’s best friend has a lot to say.

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