Reading for the Dog Days of Summer

good housekeeping

It’s hot. Hot hot hot everywhere. Too hot to do anything but sit by a pool with your favorite canine companion and read a book. Might as well read about a dog! or two!

Some of my favorite novels star dogs. And speaking of star dogs:

dog starsThe Dog Stars, by Peter Heller haunts me to this day. It’s not actually about a dog, but about a post-apocalyptic world where most everyone has died of an influenza.  It’s gorgeously written, stirring, and truly deeply madly sad.

daeandwrite featured The Dog Stars in September, 2014. Here’s the link for a menu and music and more information: https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/the-dog-stars-by-peter-heller/

The Tale of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski, is another absolutely heartbreakingly edgar sawtelle coverbeautiful book of prose. Edgar Sawtelle is a child born mute; Almondine is his constant companion, interpreter, guide. She’s the best friend everyone wants. I love this book, though it is again, very very sad.

In the dog days of August, 2015, daeandwrite featured The Tale of Edgar Sawtelle, with menu, music and a movie cast: https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/a-dogs-tail-the-story-of-edgar-sawtelle-by-david-wroblewski/

art of racing.jpgThe Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. Oh wow. The dog is the narrator. And what a narrative voice. Brilliant, this book is. Enzo, the dog, is coach, grief counselor, and above all, extra human.

Since March of 2014, when daeandwrite first posted a review of The Art of Racing in the Rain, noting that Patrick Dempsey had signed on to play the human race car driver in Enzo’s life, Disney has bought the rights to make the movie and Dempsey is no longer involved according to the Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/disney-picks-up-canine-best-858374. Here’s my original post, with menu and music choices for your book club: https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/vacation-my-dogs-life/

book_cover_website_photo_0

A Dog’s Purpose, by Bruce Cameron, is another weeper. They all are! Yikes and yet I love
them all! Again narrated from the dog’s point of view, A Dog’s Purpose features one special dog whose soul mate is his human. One of my book club’s favorite reads ever.

An update to my original post regarding the movie — it’s expected out in 2017 with Bradley Cooper voicing the dog and Lasse Hallstrom directing. Here’s the original post: https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/a-dogs-purpose-is-apparently-to-make-me-cry/

A few other ideas, books I haven’t reviewed but fit our theme:

Marley & Me, John Grogan (If there is anyone on planet Earth who hasn’t read it yet)

Cujo, Stephen King

The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Happy Reading & Stay Cool!  IMG_0115

 

 

 

A Dog’s Purpose (Is Apparently to Make Me Cry)

IMG_0041

My dogs, Eliza & Cleopatra

Bruce Cameron swears he wrote this novel because at the end, the dog doesn’t die.  BAH.  The dog dies three times!  And that’s not a spoiler.  It’s the premise of  A Dog’s Purpose, A Novel for Humans that Toby-Bailey-Ellie-Bear-Buddy is one dog who reincarnates to find his/her “real purpose” for being born over and over again.

A Dog’s Purpose is written in first-dog point of view, sharing important dogisms, theories and understandings.

“Dogs have important jobs, like barking when the doorbell rings, but cats have no function in a house whatsoever.” Bailey’s dim view of cats extends to horses and ducks.  But he likes other dogs.

    In the Yard I quickly adjusted to life in the pack, I learned to love Señora and Carlos and Bobby and just when my play with Coco was starting to assume a different, more complex character, we were taken to visit the nice lady in the cool room and the urgency I’d been feeling went completely away.

Bailey, the dog’s second incarnation, finds his true purpose when the little golden retriever escapes a bad situation and is rescued by Ethan’s mom.  When Bailey meets ten year old Ethan, doggy angels sing.  “I guess I had never bothered to consider that there might be such a thing as a boy, but now that I had found one, I thought it was just about the most wonderful concept in the world.”

Now, this book spent 52 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and brucecameron.com claims it has the highest reader-ranking of any “recent book on the New York Times best-seller list.”  Everyone from Temple Grandin to Alice Walker has endorsed it.  And it’s a great book.  But to claim that A Dog’s Purpose is not a sad book, is completely disingenuous.

IMG_1554My dog Abra

In the end, though, A Dog’s Purpose is like my relationships with dogs.  I love them beyond words.  And when they must go, I grieve them.  But the love exceeds the grief beyond measure.

MENU

 Deconstructed Bangers and Mash  This is one of my favorite Boxing Day recipes but it works for A Dog’s Purpose.  I buy the little smokies beef sausages and cook them in the oven at 350 until browned.  Then I find the smallest newimg_3774 potatoes I can and scrub them, roast them whole with sea salt, pepper and olive oil.  When both are cooked, stack a potato and a sausage on a toothpick.

You could serve hot dogs, but I don’t eat those so I wouldn’t serve them.

Keebler makes a dogbone shaped cracker for people called Scooby Doo! Baked Graham Cracker Snacks.  I would serve these with fruit (grapes and berries) and a yogurt and honey dipping sauce.  I make the sauce using a container of Greek yogurt, honey to taste and cinnamon.  It’s simple and tastes great and is healthy than sour cream and much better with fruit.

Puppy Chow:  My family’s favorite Christmas snack.  My mother makes several pounds of it in November.

  • 9 cups Rice Chex™, Corn Chex™ or Chocolate Chex™ cereal (or combination)
  • 1cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2cup peanut butter
  • 1/4cup butter or margarine
  • 1teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2cups powdered sugar
  • Place cereal Into large bowl, set aside.
  • In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
  • Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

MUSIC

Man of the Hour, Norah Jones (MY FAVORITE!)

Hound Dog, Elvis Presley

Walking the Dog, Rufus Thomas

My Dog and Me, John Hyatt

Black Dog, Led Zeppelin

Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey?, Harry Connick, Jr. (and many others)

My Buddy, Frank Sinatra’s version is nice

Beer for My Horses, Toby Keith

Your Song, Ellie Goulding

MOVIE CAST

Really, the dogs are the most important characters, except for Ethan.  Dreamworks has a movie in development.

Ethan:  Zach Efron or Chord Overstreet (From Glee)

Hannah:  Carrie Underwood or Hayden Panettiere

Happy Reading!

Link to the Book Trailer video:  https://www.youtube.com/embed/px_8id3qPeQ“>