It’s that time of year again!
Time to curl up by a crackling fire. Pour yourself a warm cup of tea (or glass of wine). Pull a dog or cat onto your lap. And settle into a good book.
Ahhh, I love fall reading!
When I think of seasonal reading, summer is always for light and quick reads. Spring lends itself to romance and nature writing. Winter is for the heavy works that take a long time to sink into. Fall, though, fall is my favorite. Fall is for cozy. Fall is for warm, sentimental, heartwarming, snuggly reads under a worn quilt.
And what fits that bill better than dog books?
This year, I’m including one book in each major category so everyone should be able to find something they love–including cat lovers who get a bonus read rec at the very end.
Dog Book For Kids
Phoebe Cakes and Friends: An Alphabet Tail by Michelle K. Dumont
To choose a children’s book to feature this fall, I turned to my expert reviewer, Violet, aged 5. She signaled two thumbs up for Phoebe Cakes and said, “I loved how this book has a different type of dog on every page, and the flaps are fun. Plus it has the alphabet!”
And she’s right: Each page features a different dog and poses a question/joke with the answer under the flap. It’s a cute, engaging read, perfect for dog-loving kids, of course, but also kids who need to reinforce their ABC learning. Available on Amazon and Bookshop.org.
Dear Gretchen: Letters to My Dog by Heidi Parker Colonna
I’ll admit: I’m biased on this one. 🙂 Shortly after I finished the first draft of my own manuscript, I joined a revision workshop that broke participants into small groups. Wouldn’t you know… the stars aligned, and I ended up in a group with the most incredible women who love dogs as much as I do! After the workshop ended, we all agreed to keep working together and have done so for over a year. Isn’t it incredible how that happens? I love coincidences, especially when they lead me to someone like Heidi and her beautiful love letter to her dog, Gretchen.
If you have ever given your heart entirely to a dog–and who among this group hasn’t?–then this short but powerful memoir is for you. She touches on big issues: animal welfare and the burnout that comes with working for rescue, deep grief, family strife, and more, all thoughtfully and carefully told. Yes, you will cry, but you will also laugh and cheer. Available on Amazon.
Love, Clancy: diary of a good dog by W. Bruce Cameron
There are few–if any–novelists who capture dogs as well as W. Bruce Cameron.
I remember reading A Dog’s Purpose. I read it in 2010, and I still have a crystal-clear memory of the reading experience, it was that profound. The same thing happened with Love, Clancy.
While the novel includes a wide cast of characters with a wide range of personalities, the star is Clancy, a very good dog, who keeps a diary about love, friendship, and his worst enemy (the cat, of course!). There’s just something magical about the way Cameron captures dog personalities. Even though the premise is magical–a dog keeping a diary–it’s somehow incredibly believable. And touching. And laugh-out-loud funny. Available for pre-order on Amazon and Bookshop.org.
Mutts: A Celebration of Mystery Mixed Breeds by Olivia Grey Pritchard
I know, I know. This is a fall reading list. But hear me out! I’m doing you a big favor with this one because consider your Christmas shopping done. Seriously. Anyone on your list who loves dogs will absolutely adore this book and adore you for getting it for them. Ho, ho, ho! 🙂
We’ve all flipped through this a dozen times–at least–and show it to every visitor to our home! The photography seems simple: a dog against a white or black background. But each photograph does a miraculous job of capturing each of the dogs’ unique personalities. The captions add humor and interest, like this one of sweet Archie:
This is a must-have, joy-filled coffee table book for any dog lover. The index includes lots of additional info about each dog. (And if you do pick this up, please come back let me know if you’ve ever seen any face more full of love and soul than Butters on page 118…) Available on Amazon and Bookshop.org.
Honorable Mention: For the cats!
The Cat in the Christmas Tree: And Other True Stories of Feline Joy and Merry Mischief edited by Callie Smith Grant
I can’t leave out my feline friends, can I? Newt and Ripley definitely would not allow that!
Another one that I’m biased about because I contributed the titular essay about a time dear, sweet Ripley knocked our entire Christmas tree over onto an unsuspecting baby Violet. (No one was hurt!) The other essays are funny, sweet, joyful, and–yep–merry! Pick this one up if you want to feel warm and fuzzy inside. Available for pre-order (comes out on October 11) on Amazon and Bookshop.org.
What dog books (or cat books!) are you reading this fall?
Does your TBR stack grow every season like mine does? Or do you keep a carefully-managed reading list? Since I’ve read all of the above, now I’m going to have to start building out my winter/Christmas TBR! What should I add? Read anything good lately? If not, which one of these sounds like something you’ll pick up?
P.S. If you’re on my email list, keep an eye out for a book-related giveaway coming up very soon… 😉