Gifts for book hounds

Shopping for a dog-centric bookworm? Check out our list of must-reads, featuring the best recent titles and a handful of soon-to-be canine classics, if they aren’t already.

Dog Days: Dispatches from Bedlam Farm
By Jon Katz (Villard, 2007)
Exceptionally witty and truly original, Katz is a writer’s writer who just happens to love dogs (lucky us). Mutt-lit doesn’t get any better than this.

A Dog’s Life
By Peter Mayle (Penguin Books, 1996)
The wit of PeterMayle, the setting of Provence, and the adventures of a trouble-prone but very lovable mutt named Boy. What better send up for a Sunday afternoon on the couch?

Also recommended:

The New Work of Dogs (Random House, 2004),A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life (Random House, reprint 2007), and anything else written by Jon Katz.

Good Dog. Stay.
By Anna Quindlen (Random House, 2007)
A long love letter or a short memoir:Quindlen fans will not be disappointed by this funny, touching tribute to her dog Beau.

The Hidden Life of Dogs
By Elizabeth Marshall Thomas(Phoenix, 2003)
Her methods may be unconventional, but Thomas’s observations on canine culture remain humorous, insightful, and thought provoking.

Howl: A Collection of the Best Contemporary Dog Wit
By the editors of Bark Magazine(Crown Publishers, 2007)
Wit, wisdom, and wisecracks on every aspect of the human-canine bond. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry — yes, they’re better than cats. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.) Also recommended: Dog is My Copilot: Great Writers on the World’s Oldest Friendship (Crown Publishers, 2003)

Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
ByJohn Grogan (HarperCollins, 2005)
The blockbuster of all dog books, with 2.5 million copies sold—so far. Could one reason it’s so popular be because it makes you feel better about your own dog?

Merle’s Door: Lessons From a Freethinking Dog
By Ted Kerasote (Harcourt, 2007)
Dogs are smarter than we think, and deserve more independence than we give them — or so Kerasote concludes after bringing home a stray named Merle. Whether you agree or not, there’s no denying that this was one beautiful friendship.

The Other End of the Leash
By Patricia McConnell (BallantineBooks, 2003)
One of the best books to explain why dogs act the way they do and how to communicate with them better, written with humor and good sense.

Pack of Two
By Carolyn Knapp (Delta, 1999)
For anyone who’s ever wondered if the depth of their love for their dog is,well…weird, you have company. And this girl can write.

Walking in Circles before Lying Down: A Novel
By Merrill Markoe (Villard, 2006)
Markoe’s humorous look at love, family, dogs, and dysfunction makes a great read for anyone, but the canine enthusiast will find it especially appealing.