Many writers have tempered the necessary solitude of their creative process by enjoying the company of canines. Emily Dickinson had Carlo, her faithful Newfoundland, Charles Dickens had spaniels, a Pomeranian, and St. Bernards, and I’m willing to bet that when President Obama drafts his important speeches, Bo the First Dog, a Portugese Water Dog, is waiting nearby, ready for a quick game of fetch. Likewise, many writers’ pets have made it into print (our Springer Spaniel SAM became “Blake” in the 2006 novel Pieces of Georgia.) and my good friend and poetry mentor, Eileen Spinelli, was inspired to write Do You Have a Dog? by Sam and other canines she knew and loved. In fact, many contemporary novels have dogs as their protagonists and/or narrators . . . and here are some of my favorites:
For young readers:
- Love that Dog, by Sharon Creech.
- Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls.
- Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate Di Camillo.
- The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski (a must-read; great literature, a profound and memorable book!)
- Unleashed: Poems by Writers’ Dogs. Edited by A. Hempel & Jim Shepard
- The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein
How about you? What’s your recommendation for a great dog book?