Friday, July 13, 2007

Bow Wow Books!

As I have said before, I am not a professor of children’s or YA lit. Technology is my field. But I DO READ and like to sometimes blog about books on my mind. Coincidentally I just listened to two audio books that have appeal to dog lovers as well as book lovers. Anyone knows me know that I fall into both categories. So, kudos to award winning authors Mark Doty and Sylvia Patron! They richly deserve all the acclaim they have received. Both their books are about considerably more than dogs, but both have special appeal to people whose lives are enriched by canine loved ones.

First, Higher Power of Lucky…I am embarrassed to admit I just now finished this book. I had a copy, misplaced it, and then just recently found it again. That, coupled with the time to listen in my car, finally gave me the chance to hear the book. In fact, I heard Susan Patron’s Newbery Award acceptance speech in DC prior to hearing the book, and it made me want to partake all the more. There is so much going on in this book, with such a wonderfully appealing character and touching subject, but HMS Beagle is certainly an important character. And of course there is the matter of the OTHER dog who we know by his story only. It is a sad commentary on today’s climate that this book could be better known for one word (yes I will say it: SCROTUM) than for the important messages and delightful story it offers. By the way, did you know she is working on a sequel called Lincoln’s Knot? I will not wait so long to read it after publication. And where did I pick up this gem of information? From Wikipedia…yes I do use it! But, that is another entry topic…

The other book I listened to is so important to my reading history that I will buy a print copy. Dog Years, by Mark Doty, is much more than a story of two beloved dogs whose deaths left the author with feelings of great loss. Anybody who has lost someone special, human or pet, will identify with his emotions. But to truly appreciate the book I think you would have to be a dog lover. After reading, I am appreciating so much more the idea of what my own pet’s inner life might be, and realizing how lucky I am to have him as my companion. On another level, the book has helped me continue to adjust to the loss of my husband two years ago. I am not sure a young reader would be ready to read Doty’s musings unless he or she had suffered similar losses, but I do highly recommend this special book for anyone who has had to say good-bye to someone whose loss will forever be felt deeply. Incidentally, Mark Doty is known first and foremost as a poet. To read a poem that lets you glimpse his style and also get a feel for his love of dogs, go to this link:

I feel sure this poem was written about Beau, one of the two dogs described in his book. Further, if you choose to listen to the book, you will have an additional treat. It is beautifully read by the author himself, which greatly adds to its impact. For more, visit his personal website:

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