Fall reading is, in my opinion, the best reading.
While summer gets all the hype (I mean, sure, reading at the beach is lovely), with fall reading you get a crackling fire, a steaming mug of tea, warm blankets, fuzzy socks, and a pile of pets who want nothing more than to snuggle as you turn page after page of a good book.
Throw in some cold, rainy, gray weather, and it’s a recipe for perfection. Where else do you need to be other than fireside with your animals and a book? Answer: Nowhere.
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What am I reading this fall?
I have four books to recommend from the stacks I’ve recently read, plus a few more to share from my TBR.
A quick note: I get sent a lot of books. It’s the biggest perk of writing about animals because I love to read. I’ve read every dog book and most cat books that have come out in the past decade. That said, I will never, ever, ever write a bad review. If I think a book is bad, I simply won’t post about it. Everyone’s tastes are wildly different, and something that isn’t my cup of tea might be yours and vice versa.
So, these are four I’ve recently read out of a field of about a dozen. I chose these because there’s something for everyone, but I’ll be sharing a few more selections soon on Instagram.
Without further ado, the 4 dog books I recommend this fall
For the Dog Obsessed: Dog Lessons by Hersch Wilson
Dog lovers, this one’s for you. Part narrative, part meditation, Dog Lessons delivers heartfelt stories that illustrate how much we can learn from dogs–as long as we’re open to learning. I love the philosophical examination of life with dogs mixed with the day-to-day realities, like the messes they can make in our lives–literally and metaphorically. Anyone who has ever loved a dog will find themselves nodding, laughing, and crying in recognition.
Hint, hint: Even though these are my fall recommendations, this would make a wonderful holiday gift for the dog lovers in your life.
For the Young Reader: Canis Magicus by Heidi Colonna
Is there a more perfect book title? I honestly don’t think there is! Aimed at readers around age 9, this adventure story is about a young girl finding her voice and learning how to use it for the things that matter. It weaves her personal / familial narrative together with special dogs she meets along the way. The dogs, from the blurb: “There’s sweet Greta, and a strange, bushy-tailed dog she comes to know as Al. Al is from a long line of wild dogs with many miles under their paws. The boy in front of her in class talks about hunting them. And that’s not something to stay quiet about.”
Heidi was in my writing group, and she’s so full of love and passion for dogs. It’s a heartfelt story from a truly genuine place. While it’s a novel for young readers, any dog lover will appreciate the love and magic of this story.
For the Mystery Lover: Playing Dead by Peggy Rothschild
First, a confession: When I cracked open this novel, I didn’t realize it was the second in a series. It can totally stand alone, as I discovered, though some of the references might’ve been clearer had I read the first.
Second, it’s a super fast read. The plot moves quickly. The dog characters add a lot of depth to the story. The mystery isn’t immediately apparent. If you like cozy mysteries or novels with dogs as central figures, this one’s for you. I am going to add the first book in the series, A Deadly Bone to Pick, to my TBR so I can fill some of the gaps but, again, I think you could enjoy this book as thoroughly as I did without having read the first. Or just add both to cart and have two fun mysteries to enjoy this fall!
For the Problem Solver: Positive Training for Aggressive and Reactive Dogs by Annie Phenix
If you love an aggressive or reactive or fearful dog, this book will change your life. It’s chock full of tips, tricks, and strategies that utilize modern techniques–nothing punitive or painful to be found here!
Friends, I’m not exaggerating when I say that if this book existed when we first adopted Lucas, it would’ve shaved years off of our training. It definitely would’ve prevented a lot of crying that happened throughout the process. If you are working with an aggressive or reactive dog, this book will give you the hope and the tools to keep moving forward.
What I’m reading next
Here are my next two pet-specific reads:
A re-read of Dog Songs by Mary Oliver. It’s such a lovely, beautiful, touching collection of her poems about dogs. I read it years ago. I recently finished her collection, Devotions, and feel inspired to pick this up again.
Decoding Your Cat: The ultimate experts explain common cat behaviors and reveal how to prevent or change unwanted ones by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, I read Decoding Your Dog years ago and enjoyed every single chapter. I can’t wait to dig into this one about our feline friends.
BTW, you can get two free books with an Audible Plus subscription, so you could snag a couple of these for free if audio is your thing. I was never really an audio book person until I started listening in the car. Now, I’m hooked!