As we head into winter, you may be looking for some good books to read as you’re curled up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate.
Dog-loving people who also love books — you can rejoice. Here, in one convenient place, are the top 10 most popular dog books of the moment.
This list comes from current sales rankings provided by Amazon.com using the “new and popular” filter.
Many of these best-selling dog books also come in Kindle/e-book editions. (Free e-books do not appear on this list; I have also excluded works specifically targeted to young children.)
1. Dog Songs
By Mary Oliver. This book of poetry “transcends mere doggy-doggyness,” according to reader Bill Gallagher, who says the poet uses simple, pure language to capture “the nuanced and powerful relationship we have with dogs.” Within the covers of this book, you’ll find poems of love and laughter, heartbreak and grief, and of the joys of nature and connection. Beautiful. Learn more about Dog Songs (affiliate link).
2. Underwater Dogs
By Seth Casteel. A photographic collection of dogs caught in the act of swimming. The publisher says these photos document the “chaotic ballet of bared teeth and bubbles, paddling paws, fur and ears billowing in the currents.” It’s every bit as fun as it sounds, though of course it’s more eye candy than reading material.
By Carli Davidson. Like Underwater Dogs, this is a book filled with photographs of dogs caught in a single moment. But this time, instead of being photographed mid-swim, the featured canines are shown mid-shake. Eyes darting, ears flopping, drool flinging in slow motion.
4. Pure Joy: The Dogs We Love
By Danielle Steel. Yes, Danielle Steel. The current best-selling author alive wrote this memoir that is sort of her love letter to her family pets through the years. Includes many black-and-white photos. But should Steel stick to fiction? A veterinary assistant named Jamie says, “I was looking for lighthearted pet stories, and all I got was a rich lady patting herself on the back for giving people dogs as gifts and having several dogs at one time.” Jamie adds, “I am also not impressed that she purchased many of her dogs from breeders or pet shops.” Readers, you be the judge.
5. The Dogs of Christmas
By W. Bruce Cameron. Can a surprise litter of Christmas puppies really change one man’s life? This light holiday-themed book, from the author of A Dog’s Purpose (see #10), explores the concept of canine karma.
6. The Art of Racing in the Rain
By Garth Stein. This best-selling dog book has real staying power, given that it was first published in 2009. There’s a reason it’s so popular: It’s really good. The Art of Racing in the Rain is about Enzo, a Lab/terrier mix who goes from life on a farm near Seattle to riding shotgun with a race car driver. You will savor every moment.
7. I Could Chew on This: And Other Poems by Dogs
By Francesco Marciuliano, author of the New York Times best-seller I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats, of which this is a follow-up. You’ll discover funny first-person perspectives through such musings as “I Dropped a Ball,” “I Lose My Mind When You Leave the House” and “Can You Smell That?” Not at all sappy but rather witty and intelligent, this coffee table book will have dog lovers grinning from ear to ear.
8. 101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond With Your Dog
By Kyra Sundance and Calcy (yes, the dog gets writing credit). The self-proclaimed “largest trick book on the market” contains lots of color photos and easy step-by-step directions for every dog trick, at every skill level. You’ll wonder why every other dog trick book isn’t more like this one.
9. Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words
By John W Pilley Jr., Ph.D, and Hilary Hinzmann. The amazing Border Collie named Chaser knows more words than any other animal of any other species except humans. We’re talking words like “noisy” and “nosy.” But the training methods that taught Chaser this vocabulary are available to ANY dog. This engrossing memoir points us toward a new way of looking at our canine companions.
10. A Dog’s Purpose
By W. Bruce Cameron. This work of fiction is skillfully told from the perspective of a dog named Toby, who keeps dying and being reborn. This is not as annoying as it sounds. It’s a sentimental journey toward a life’s purpose and meaning.