Who doesn’t love to lounge outside with their favorite pup during the summer months? How about catching up on some much missed reading?
Whether you’re at the beach, having a picnic in the park, or simply sitting on your front porch with your dog, there’s nothing better than getting pulled into a great summer read.
Here are some of our favorite books for dog lovers to delve into over the summer months.
1. Just Life: A Novel by Neil Abramson
It’s difficult to find books that deeply examine human bonds with animals, especially in times of crisis like a potential epidemic. If you’re looking for a summer suspense read, then this one’s for you.
Synopsis via Hachette Book Group:
“Veterinarian Samantha Lewis and her team are dedicated to providing a sanctuary for unwanted, abused, and abandoned dogs in New York City. But every day it gets harder to operate her no-kill shelter. Sam is already at her breaking point when she learns of an unidentified, dangerous virus spreading through their neighborhood. The medical community can only determine that animals are the carriers. Amid growing panic and a demand for immediate answers, suspicion abruptly falls on dogs as the source. Soon the governor is calling in the National Guard to enforce a quarantine–no dog may leave the area.”
2. Travels With Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck
Summer is synonymous with road trips. This classic book is an intimate self reflection of an American literary treasure’s life towards its end, and his French Poodle Charley is there every step of the way.
This summer read is great for those filled with wanderlust and a penchant for Kerouac.
Synposis via Penguin Random House:
“In September 1960, John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America. He felt that he might have lost touch with the country, with its speech, the smell of its grass and trees, its color and quality of light, the pulse of its people. To reassure himself, he set out on a voyage of rediscovery of the American identity, accompanied by a distinguished French poodle named Charley; and riding in a three-quarter-ton pickup truck named Rocinante.”
3. Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon by Bronwen Dickey
This is a must read for anyone who has ever used the hashtag #adoptdontshop. Pit Bull examines the history of the breed type and how it got such a dangerous reputation.
Synopsis via Penguin Random House:
“The hugely illuminating story of how a popular breed of dog became the most demonized and supposedly the most dangerous of dogs—and what role humans have played in the transformation.”
4. No Better Friend: One Man, One Dog, and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in WWII by Robert Weintraub
Do you consider yourself a history buff? This true emotional story of the bond between a World War II flight technician and Judy, a Pointer dog, will have you reaching for the tissues.
Synopsis via Hachette Book Group:
“Flight technician Frank Williams and Judy, a purebred pointer, met in the most unlikely of places: a World War II internment camp in the Pacific. Judy was a fiercely loyal dog, with a keen sense for who was friend and who was foe, and the pair’s relationship deepened throughout their captivity. When the prisoners suffered beatings, Judy would repeatedly risk her life to intervene. She survived bombings and other near-death experiences and became a beacon not only for Frank but for all the men, who saw in her survival a flicker of hope for their own.”
5. Life with Forty Dogs: Misadventures with Runts, Rejects, Retirees, and Rescues by Joseph Robertia
A book about mushing in Alaska may not seem up to temperature for the summer. However, this inspiring read will have you laughing, crying, and feeling for the Robertia family, who rescued and rehabilitated racing Huskies.
Synposis via the author Joseph Robertia:
“This book is an invitation to understand the essence of life with forty dogs in its entirety, and through that comprehension to truly appreciate what Joseph Robertia sees every day, and never takes for granted how special it is. His heartfelt goal is to share in words and photos the intrinsic nature and indispensable quality that determines each dog and defines their unique character and personality. Not everyone can sacrifice their spare time, salaries, and sanity to get to know so many characters―from the well-mannered to the wily―but Life with Forty Dogs will reveal the endless adventures and misadventures that come to those, like Robertia and his family, who have made a life-changing canine commitment.”
6. The Education of Will: A Mutual Memoir of a Woman and Her Dog by Patricia B. McConnell
McConnell is an animal behaviorist whose dark past is triggered by a dog named Will. If you are into deep, soul-searching reads, this one is for you.
Synopsis via Simon & Schuster:
“In this powerful, soul-searching memoir, beautifully written in the vein of A Pack of Two and Wild, animal behaviorist Dr. Patricia McConnell recounts for the first time the compelling story of her dark past, memories of which are triggered by a troubled dog named Will.
“World-renowned as a source of science and soul, Patricia McConnell combines brilliant insights into canine behavior—gained from her work with aggressive and fearful dogs—with heartwarming stories of her own dogs and their life on the farm. Now, she reveals that it wasn’t just the dogs who had serious problems. For decades Dr. McConnell secretly grappled with her own guilt and fear, which were rooted in the harrowing traumas of her youth.”
7. How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain by Gregory Berns
This one is for the thinkers, the behavior studiers, and overall science geeks. How Dogs Love Us can be intense at points, but is a very enlightening look into how our pups’ brains work.
Synopsis via Houghton Mifflin Harcourt:
“The powerful bond between humans and dogs is one that’s uniquely cherished. Loyal, obedient, and affectionate, they are truly ‘man’s best friend.’ But do dogs love us the way we love them? Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns had spent decades using MRI imaging technology to study how the human brain works, but a different question still nagged at him: What is my dog thinking?
“After his family adopted Callie, a shy, skinny terrier mix, Berns decided that there was only one way to answer that question—use an MRI machine to scan the dog’s brain.”
8. Doodle Dogs Coloring Book For Adults by Happy Coloring
OK, so maybe this isn’t a book that you technically read, but it is a great way to unwind and reflect during warm summer evenings.
Plus, all of the illustrations are stunningly intricate, so this coloring book may last you longer than some of your quicker summer reads.
9. The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel by Garth Stein
We all wish we knew what our dogs thought about our daily interactions with fellow humans. Stein’s comedic but insightful novel does just that.
Synposis via author Garth Stein:
“Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.”
10. Jack: A Book about a dog where the dog doesn’t die at the end by Ray Braswell
We’ve all read our fair share of heart-wrenching dog stories like Shiloh and Marley & Me. So why not opt for something on the opposite end of the spectrum?
Jack is a quick, fun read, perfect for a sunny day at the beach. This one is Kindle only, so be sure to have your tablet charged for this read.
Synopsis via author Ray Braswell:
“A dog (Jack) and his person (The Tall Guy) decide to write a book, mostly about the dog. But don’t worry, no dogs die at the end of THIS book! (Unlike some other books about yellow Labs)
“Aren’t you tired of reading books about vampires? Wouldn’t a book about a zombie puppy be more interesting? Yeah, I thought so too. I guess I’ll have to work on that for the next book. In the meantime, here’s a book about a dog named Jack.”
What’s on your summer reading list? Any books that are dog-centric? Let us know in the comments below!
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