Americans have always loved their dogs—so much, that, dogs have played a starring role in American literature (think, Old Yeller, and Jack London’s Buck from The Call of the Wild). Besides these classics, there are a whole slew of great titles in contemporary fiction featuring dogs as main and secondary characters. Some, like Paul Auster’s Timbuktu, are even told from the dog’s perspective. So, if you love dogs and love fiction, the dog days of summer are the perfect time to indulge.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Enzo, a shepherd-terrier-poodle mix, tells the life story of his master Denny. This book will make you laugh and cry and is ultimately a tale of the things that make us human—love, tragedy, and redemption—all from a dog’s eye view.
Timbuktu by Paul Auster
In this fairytale novella, Mr. Bones, the flee-ridden canine protagonist, is horrified to learn that his master, Willy G. Christmas, a homeless poet, is dying. Mr. Bone’s attempts at survival and his coming to terms with his friend’s death, form the plot of this moving tale.
The Chet and Bernie series by Spencer Quinn
The books in this wryly humorous mystery series, featuring Chet, the canine narrator, and Bernie, the hardboiled private investigator, are an easy read and hilarious, especially for dog lovers.
Sight Hound by Pam Houston
Colorado playwright Rae, and her cancer-ridden dog Dante, teach each other about the bonds of love during Dante’s three year remission and a motley crew of characters narrates this wry but moving novel.
A Dog Lover’s Mystery series by Susan Conant
Susan Conant’s cozy mysteries feature dog trainer and magazine columnist Holly Winter and her two malamutes, Rowdy and Kimi, as they attempt to solve the latest crime.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
This modern take on Hamlet, set in Northern Wisconsin, tells the story of Edgar, a young mute boy, and the familial upheaval that occurs when Edgar’s father dies and his uncle returns to win the affections of his mother. After Edgar blames his uncle for his father’s death, he flees into the nearby wilderness with his three young dogs and has to decide between leaving home forever and facing the issues that await him back at the farm. At its very essence, this a captivating story of a boy and his dogs.
The Dogs of Babel by Carol Parkhurst
Linguistics professor Paul Iverson is devastated when his wife Lexy dies after falling from a tree. But was it an accident or something darker? Only the Rhodesian Ridgeback, Lorelei, witnessed the event and Paul must teach her to speak in order to learn the truth.