I have always considered myself to be the most avid of readers. Growing up my nose was constantly in a book, but until I adopted a dog of my own and later began to delve into the world of pet blogging I had never read many books about dogs.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my dog, but I had always been much more interested in reading fantasy books like Hardy Potter or action packed dystopian series like the Hunger Games. It wasn’t until I read A Dog’s Purpose by Bruce Cameron that I really became interested in reading fiction and non-fiction books whose main character was a canine.
So with a vacation coming up in July and a little more free time on my hands I have compiled a summer reading list for myself of my top five doggie reads that you might be interested in checking out as well.
1. The Genius of Dogs-Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods.
The Genius of Dogs is one of only two non-fiction books on my summer reading list this year. I first became interested in checking out this book when I took a class on dog cognition (appropriately titled Dognition) on the mobile app Coursera. By the way, if you’ve never heard of Coursera or if you have heard of it but you’ve never checked it out you SHOULD. It has all sorts of free courses you can take in just about anything-from creative writing to business to content marketing. Trust me when I say it’s an awesome app for anyone who loves to learn.
Anyways, back to the book. The Genius of Dogs was the “textbook” for the course and I had planned on getting it and never had. So here I am a whole year later finally purchasing it to read.
The Genius of Dogs is written by Vanessa Woods and Brian Hare, who is a dog researcher and evolutionary anthropologist. Brian also founded the Duke Canine Cognition Center. The book focuses on Brian’s theories of dog intelligence, evolution, and the special knack that dogs have for getting along with humans.
After taking Brian’s course on dog cognition, I can honestly say I can’t wait to delve even deeper into his fascinating theories and see what he has to say about dog intelligence.
Buy it here:
2. Two Good Dogs-Susan Wilson.
I came across the fictional novel Two Good Dogs after my younger sister read it and fell in love with it. I have been honestly dying to read it ever since.
As a lover and advocate for the bully breeds, I have a special place in my heart for any novel that chooses to have its canine characters represent the bully breeds as Susan Wilson does in Two Good Dogs.
The novel tells the story of a single mother named Skye Mitchell, whose dream is to own the LakeView Hotel and give her teenage daughter, Cody, a better life.
However, her young daughter manages to fall in with the wrong crowd in typical teenage fashion plunging her into a world of trouble.
A man named Adam, along with his pit bull, Chance, begin to regularly visit the hotel forming a friendship with Skye. Along the way, Adam also takes in another pit bull.
The story focuses on the hardships the three humans face and how the two dogs help them get through their difficulties. I’m excited to see how the plot of this story pans out in the end, how the dogs are involved in rescuing their humans, and if the author uses this story as a platform to advocate for the breed.
Buy it here:
3. A Dog’s Way Home-Bruce Cameron
Much like Two Good Dogs, I became interested in reading A Dog’s Way Home because the canine character in this story is a pit bull. I also wanted to check this one out because I was also a fan of Bruce’s Cameron’s novel A Dog’s Purpose.
A Dog’s Way Home is a story about a bond between a human named Lucas and his dog Bella. Despite their love and strong bond, Bella is taken away from Lucas by animal control because pit bulls are banned where he lives in Denver. As a result, Lucas has no choice but to send Bella to a foster home until he figures out what to do.
This aspect of A Dog’s Way Home really resonates with me and is one of the many reasons I am interested in reading the novel this summer. I am fortunate enough to live in an area where there is no breed specific legislation. In fact, I am proud to say that Pittsburgh is probably one of the best areas in the world to own a pit bull. However, I know that there are many pit bull and bully breed owners and lovers who are not as lucky as I am. For some people, there is a constant fear that they may lose their dogs. Even here in Pittsburgh, a great area for Pit bulls, it is nearly impossible to find an apartment to rent when you own a bully breed. Breed discrimination is real and I am glad to see that it is one of the topics explored in this novel.
In true pit bull fashion, Bella is not one to give in easily. She is none too happy with her separation from her favorite human. Instead of tucking in her tail and calling it quits, Bella travels 400 miles to be reunited with her person.
A Dog’s Way Home explores the love and loyalty that exists between humans and their pets. I am sure that it will be just as beautiful and heart warming (and heart wrenching at times) as Cameron’s other novel. I am so excited to read all about Bella and Lucas’s journey together!
Buy it here:
4. The Lost Dogs-Jim Gorant
A few years ago I saw the documentary, The Champions, which explored the stories of several of the Michael Vick fighting dogs. This documentary moved me to tears and I fell in love with the dogs whose lives they shared with the audience.
But as it was a movie, the directors were unable to give the audience insight into the tales of each and every dog who had suffered at the hands of Michael Vick. Reading The Lost Dogs will allow me to learn more about the stories of more of the dogs affected by this dog fighting ring and touch base again with my favorites from the documentary.
As someone who advocates for harsher penalties for dog fighters and animal cruelty violators, this book is especially important to me because it is a book all about dog fighting victims. To anyone who cares about the Michael Vick case, I suggest checking this one out.
Buy it here:
5. The Art of Racing in the Rain-Garth Stein
Disclaimer folks: I’ve heard this one is as amazing as it is heart wrenching and for that very reason I am most excited about reading The Art of Racing In The Rain.
This novel tells the story of a clever and quite philosophical dog named Enzo who believes that when dogs die they will eventually come back as human beings. Enzo’s owner is a man named Denny, who loves to race cars and who has also instilled a love of racing in Enzo.
The novel tells the story of their lives together as seen through the eyes of Enzo while he recalls his life with his master on the eve of his death.
This book will be a heart-wrencher for sure. I’ve already ordered my box of tissues.
Buy it here:
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I hope after reviewing my list of summer reading that it has inspired you to come up with your own list of books to read these warm months. Hopefully, one of my top five picks will grace your list as well. They are all amazing books and I truthfully can’t wait to have the chance to read them (I just hope my lovely readers feel the same).
What’s on your summer reading list? Leave a comment below! 😊