Launching our first monthly book discussion! Please vote for the book that you would like to read during January 2017. A new thread will be opened for discussion the first week of February 2017, for everyone interested.
Brief descriptions are posted below, courtesy of goodreads.com.
Please cast your vote by 12/31/16
1. Merle's Door (Kerasote)
While on a camping trip, Ted Kerasote met a dog—a Labrador mix—who was living on his own in the wild. They became attached to each other, and Kerasote decided to name the dog Merle and bring him home. There, he realized that Merle’s native intelligence would be diminished by living exclusively in the human world. He put a dog door in his house so Merle could live both outside and in.A deeply touching portrait of a remarkable dog and his relationship with the author, Merle’s Door explores the issues that all animals and their human companions face as their lives intertwine, bringing to bear the latest research into animal consciousness and behavior as well as insights into the origins and evolution of the human-dog partnership. Merle showed Kerasote how dogs might live if they were allowed to make more of their own decisions, and Kerasote suggests how these lessons can be applied universally.
2. The Daily Coyote (Stockton)
When city girl Shreve Stockton set out to ride her Vespa from San Francisco to New York, she never imagined she would end up making a log cabin in Wyoming her home, falling in love with a trapper, and working as a ranch hand. She also could not have predicted adopting Charlie, an orphaned coyote pup. In a world where coyotes are hunted as killers, Stockton and Charlie have faced challenges-as well as joys-throughout their first year. Operating Instructions meets Marley and Me in this charming life-lesson book about life, love, and the bond between humans and nature.
3. The New Work of Dogs (Katz)
In an increasingly fragmented and disconnected society, dogs are often treated not as pets, but as family members and human surrogates. The New Work of Dogs profiles a dozen such relationships in a New Jersey town, like the story of Harry, a Welsh corgi who provides sustaining emotional strength for a woman battling terminal breast cancer; Cherokee, companion of a man who has few friends and doesn’t know how to talk to his family; the Divorced Dogs Club, whose funny, acerbic, and sometimes angry women turn to their dogs to help them rebuild their lives; and Betty Jean, the frantic founder of a tiny rescue group that has saved five hundred dogs from abuse or abandonment in recent years.
Drawn from hundreds of interviews and conversations with dog lovers and canine professionals, The New Work of Dogs combines compelling personal narratives with a penetrating look at human/animal attachment, and it presents a vivid portrait of a community—and, by extension, an entire nation—that is turning to its pets for emotional support and stability in a changing and uncertain world.
4. The Art of Racing in the Rain (Stein)
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.
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 life...as only a dog could tell it.
5. A Dog's Purpose (Cameron)
This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog's search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, this touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here?
Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey's search for his new life's meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8 year old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog. But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey's journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders, will he ever find his purpose?
Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh out loud funny, this book is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend. This story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.
6. Dogtripping (Rosenfelt)
When mystery writer David Rosenfelt and his family moved from California to Maine, he thought he had prepared for everything. They had mapped the route, brought three GPSs for backup, refrigerators full of food, and volunteers for help. But traveling in three RVs with twenty-five dogs turned out to be a bigger ordeal than he anticipated. Rosenfelt recounts the adventure with humor and warmth and tells how he and his wife became passionate foster parents for rescue dogs, culminating in the creation of the Tara Foundation.
7. Wesley the Owl (O'Brien)
On Valentine’s Day 1985, biologist Stacey O’Brien adopted Wesley, a baby barn owl with an injured wing who could not have survived in the wild. Over the next nineteen years, O’Brien studied Wesley’s strange habits with both a tender heart and a scientist’s eye—and provided a mice-only diet that required her to buy the rodents in bulk (28,000 over the owl’s lifetime). She watched him turn from a helpless fluff ball into an avid com*municator with whom she developed a language all their own. Eventually he became a gorgeous, gold-and-white macho adult with a heart-shaped face who preened in the mir*ror and objected to visits by any other males to “his” house. O’Brien also brings us inside Caltech’s prestigious research community, a kind of scientific Hogwarts where resident owls sometimes flew freely from office to office and eccentric, brilliant scientists were extraordinarily committed to studying and helping animals; all of them were changed by the animals they loved. As O’Brien gets close to Wesley, she makes astonishing discoveries about owl behavior, intelligence, and communication, coining the term “The Way of the Owl” to describe his noble behavior. When O’Brien develops her own life-threatening ill*ness, the biologist who saved the life of a helpless baby bird is herself rescued from death by the insistent love and courage of this wild animal.
8. Bark and Lunge (Neumeyer)
How do you make sure the dog you love never bites anyone (again)?
Kari and Rob are as devoted to their German shepherd puppy, Isis, as two dog parents can be. Kari’s the disciplinarian, struggling to follow every instruction to the letter. Rob’s the laid-back dad, more of a littermate, happy as long as he can practice jiu-jitsu with the dog.
As she grows, Isis’s behavior escalates from frustrating to dangerous when she bites someone. Kari and Rob learn that some of the old-fashioned advice they followed may have contributed to Isis’s aggression. Eventually, they’re shown a better way to calm an anxious and fearful dog.
"Prospective puppy/dog owners can save themselves a lot of heartbreak by reading Bark and Lunge, which tells the story of what can go wrong when a puppy is not properly socialized and when unsuspecting owners are bullied into using aversive training techniques." – Dr. Ian Dunbar, founder of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers
9. The Wolves of Time - Journeys to the Heartland (Horwood)
An age of heroes is dawning...The time has come for the wolves of Europe to take back their ancient Heartland. For centuries is has been corrupted and poisoned by the Mennen and by the evil Magyar wolf-pack. Only by reclaiming it can the true gods be reborn and the natural order restored.
All over Europe, wolves are beginning the quest in answer to a mystical summons. Together they become the Wolves of Time. Together they will herald a new age.
Journeys from the Heartlands is an anthropomorphic novel about the wolves of Europe who are fighting and struggling for survival against human violence and oppression. Horwood writes with a bloody realism, trying to be as realistic to wolf society as is possible in such a book, without turning them into wolf-shaped humans. Wolves follow their beliefs in ancient wolflore – the stories of Wulf and Wulfin who are their spiritual guides. Journeys to the Heartland is the first book that follows a number of wolves who are journeying to the Heartlands, to form a pack and take back the Heartlands from another fearsome pack, the Magyars.